Inventum novum ex percussione thoracis humani ut signo abstrusos interni pectoris morbos detegendi.
Vindobonae [Vienna]: Typis Joannis Thomae Trattner…1761
8vo, pp. 95, (1) errata. Some occasional light browning and foxing (as usual with this book), but a very good copy. Contemporary vellum over boards (lower portion of spine neatly repaired at an early date). Bookplates of Piergiorgio Borio.
FIRST EDITION of the first book to suggest percussion of the chest as a diagnostic measure, “one of the greatest of all medical classics” (Heirs of Hippocrates). “With the introduction of percussion of the chest, which offered a new and dependable method of diagnosing diseases of the heart and lungs in living persons, Leopold Auenbrugger made the first advance in physical diagnosis since the age of Hippocrates. The son of an innkeeper, Auenbrugger had learned as a boy how to establish thelevel of wine in a cask by thumping the barrel… Applying the same technique to the human chest, he noticed that different sounds—tympanic, dull, or obscure, were produced when there was underlying disease of the heart or lungs in the interior of the chest. He verified his diagnoses byb experiments on cadavers and by postmortems” (Grolier One Hundred). At first Auenbrugger's discovery attracted little attention, but he lived to see Corvisart's classic translation of the book in 1808, after which the value of percussion was universally recognised. G&M 2672. Lilly, Notable Medical Books, p. 127. Grolier, One hundred books famous in medicine, 45. Parkinson, Breakthroughs, 1761. Willius & Keys, Cardiac classics, 191–213. This copy is of the second issue, with the errata on the final page. Norman Catalogue 81 (first issue).
Unsure of some of these terms? Click here to download a copy of Carter & Barker, ABC for Book Collectors (2006), which has full explanations.