HALES, Rev. Stephen.

Statica de’ Vegetabili, ed analisi dell’ aria. Tradotta dall’ Inglese con varie annotazioni.

Napoli [Naples]: Nella Stamperia di Giuseppe Raimondi, .1756

8vo, pp. (viii), 368, 20 engraved plates by G. Aloja. Contemporary Italian mottled sheep, spine gilt in compartments, red morocco label. A few small wormholes in spines and short wormtracks on endpapers, some foxing, generally a very good copy.

FIRST EDITION IN ITALIAN of Hales’ founding work on plant physiology. He studied the movement of sap in plants, and discovered what is now known as root pressure. He studied the amounts of water that plants used, and the influence of light and air on them. In that respect he discovered that plants take carbon dioxide from the air as an essential nutrient. “His work was so great an advance that it stands alone in its time, and deserves close attention” (Morton, History of Botanical Science, pp. 246–254). In the long chapter on the analysis of the air, Hales also recounts his experiments with a closed-circuit rebreathing apparatus, with which he tried with various filters to remove the “noxious vapours” (i.e. carbon dioxide) from the air. This work led to his invention of artificial ventilation, and facilitated the work and discoveries of Black, Lavoisier, and Priestley. The dedication is signed by the translator, Maria Angela Ardinghelli, who also translated Hales’s Haemataticks into Italian. See Printing and the Mind of Man 189(a); Dibner 26; Horblit 45a; and Parkinson, Breakthroughs, 1727. Foster, Lectures on the history of physiology, pp. 231–232. Neville I, p. 580–581.


In stock

Unsure of some of these terms? Click here to download a copy of Carter & Barker, ABC for Book Collectors (2006), which has full explanations.