Item #1286 Meteorological Observations and Essays. JOHN DALTON.
Meteorological Observations and Essays
Meteorological Observations and Essays

Meteorological Observations and Essays

FIRST EDITION, FIRST ISSUE IN ORIGINAL BOARDS of Dalton’s first book; one of the foundational works in meteorology.

“In 1793 Dalton moved to Manchester to teach mathematics at a dissenting academy, the New College. He took with him the proof sheets of his first book, a collection of essays on meteorologic topics based on his own observations together with those of his friends John Gough and Peter Crosthwaite. This work, Meteorological Observations and Essays, was published in 1793. It created little stir at first but contained original ideas that, together with Dalton’s more developed articles, marked the transition of meteorology from a topic of general folklore to a serious scientific pursuit” (Britannica).

His book “contained not only a record of his unremitting observations but also inferences of the causes of the meteorological phenomena so exposed. These reflections, which inevitably concerned the relation between air, water, and water vapour, played an important part in the evolution of his future theories...

“The book began with a description of the instruments needed for observation. There followed a series of typical observations and essays on their interpretation. Then a more interesting section on the aurora showed Dalton's breadth of experience with many instruments, even including work with a new design of theodolite. The final section interpreted the findings of the earlier sections, offering theories and speculations, including one of great ingenuity—proposing that the aurora is of electrical or magnetic origin” (Dictionary of National Biography).

First issue: with date (1793) on title page and price of four shillings. London: W. Richardson, J. Phillips, W. Pennington, 1793. Octavo, original boards sympathetically rebacked with paper spine; pages uncut. Complete with subscribers list. Some light occasional browning, small taped closed tear in margin of one leaf (p.73). A rare survival in original boards.

Price: $4,500 .

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