A mathematical and philosophical dictionary: containing an explanation of the terms, and an account of the several subjects, comprized under the heads of mathematics, astronomy, and philosophy, both natural and experimental…
ondon: Printed by J. Davis, for J. Johnson…and G.G. and J. Robinson…1796
2 volumes, 4to, pp. viii, 650; 2 leaves, pp. 756, and 37 engraved plates. Half-titles. Contemporary marbled calf, spine gilt in compartments, green morocco labels (joints cracked but perfectly firm). Armorial bookplates of William Brodie.
FIRST EDITION of the most comprehensive scientific encyclopaedia in English to date, and the only large one since Harris’s Lexicon Technicum (1704–1710) almost a century earlier. “The dictionary reveals a deep and extensive knowledge of British and continental works and is still used by historians as a valuable source. The British reader was provided with bibliographical and biographical information on continental mathematicians such as D’Alembert, Euler, and Lagrange. The entries on engineering are particularly valuable, while mechanics, optics, and astronomy are less complete, especially from the point of view of mathematical treatment…” (ODNB). It also includes the first publication of Thomas Pellett’s 1727 catalogue of Newton’s papers. Roberts & Trent, Bibliotheca mechanica, pp. 169–170.