PRONY, Gaspar C.F.M.R. de.

Nouvelle Architecture Hydraulique, contenant l’art d’élever l’eau au moyen de différentes machines, de construire dans ce fluide, de le diriger, et généralement de l’appliquer, de diverses manières, aux besoins de la société.

A Paris: Chez Firmin Didot, 1790 (–1796).

2 volumes, 4to, pp. xii, 621, (3), 72, and 15 folding engraved plates; 1 leaf, pp. 38, 203, (1), and 38 large folding engraved plates. Half-title in volume 1. Modern marbled boards using old materials (a few small nicks in ends of spines), red morocco labels on spines, uncut, a fine and large copy.

FIRST EDITION. “Prony’s Nouvelle Architecture Hydraulique is the first French work to deal with the Watt engine of which it contains the earliest published illustration. The work as a whole is concerned with the raising of water but was written in two parts divided in date owing to the French Revolution. The first part is largely devoted to the principles of statics, dynamics, and hydrodynamics but its final section and the whole of the second part show the practical application of these theories, in particular to the steam engine… “Quite apart from its role in the development of engineering education in France, the book is of significance for what it reveals on the spread and influence of the Watt engine, more so as Prony received so much of his information first hand from those involved” (from a longer description by Julia Elton, Catalogue 9, describing this copy). The magnificent, large and detailed engraved plates include, among many others, an illustration of the first of Watt’s engines to be erected in France, known as the Chaillot engine, and of the first steam engine built entirely in France, by the Périer brothers.


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