LA MÉTHERIE, [Jean Claude] de.

Essai Analytique sur l’Air pur, et les différentes Espèces d’Air.

A Paris: Rue et Hotel Serpente, .1785

8vo, 3 leaves, pp. 474, (2) approbation. Several gatherings printed on pale blue paper, cancel leaves C2 and P2 bound after Gg3 (the original leaves are uncancelled and still in place). Contemporary sheep-backed boards, spine ruled in gilt and with brown morocco label. Small wormhole in upper joint and some small wormholes in margins of last few leaves and endpapers, otherwise a very good copy. Old library stamp and prize inscription to one Cassé with his signature and a Revolutionary date on front endpapers.

FIRST EDITION. La Métherie (1743–1817), an inveterate opponent of Lavoisier’s theories, was chief editor of the famous Journal de Physique from 1785 until the year of his death. He wrote a number of important works on mineralogy and was a friend to many of the leading scientists of his time, especially Cuvier. In this work, La Métherie stated that “all combustibles (including perhaps diamond) contain inflammable air, which he identified with phlogiston and thought it is contained in metals… He called oxygen ‘pure air’ and nitrogen (phlogisticated air) ‘impure air’. Pure air consists of vesicles inflated by the principle of heat. Nitrous air (nitrous oxide) is a compound of nitric acid and inflammable air or phlogiston. Fixed air, which he called ‘acid air’, can be converted into phlogisticated air or into pure air” (Partington, III, pp. 494–495). Cole 742: “The book is a survey of existing information concerning various kinds of airs and the experiments and discoveries of Lavoisier, Priestley, Scheele and others.” DSB, VII, pp. 602–604. Duveen p. 335. Neville II, pp. 5–6.


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