HAÜY, l’Abbé [René Just].
Exposition Raisonnée de la Théorie de L’Électricité et du Magnetisme, d’après les principes de M. Æpinus.
Paris: Chez la Veuve Desaint,… .1787
8vo, pp. xxvii, (v), 238, 4 folding plates. Original wrappers, new paper spine with printed paper label, uncut. Dampstain on last eight leaves of the prelims, and minor dampstain in upper corner of final few leaves and plates. Signature in upper corner of title of an officer in the French corps of engineers.
FIRST EDITION. Franz Aepinus published in 1758 “one of the most original and important books in the history of electricity. It is the first reasoned, fruitful exposition of electrical phenomena based on action-at-a-distance” (DSB). It is extremely rare (and always has been — Beccaria had not seen a copy by 1772), and difficult to read, but “most of its content became easily available in 1780 [i.e. 1787] in the excellent nonmathematical epitome composed by R.J. Haüy, who managed to preserve the spirit and clarity of the original” (DSB). Haüy also described pyro-electricity, and incorporated the recent results of Coulomb, including his torsion balance to establish the laws of electric and magnetic attraction. Wheeler Gift 541. Mottelay pp. 286–287. Ekelöf 581. Neville I, p. 602. Sinkankas 2808.