On the Electricity Excited by the Mere Contact of Conducting Substances of Different Kinds.

London, W. Bulmer & Co. for Peter Elmsley, 1800.

4to. In recent marbled paper wrappers. Extracted from "Philosophical Transactions", volume 90, part II. Including title-page of volume. Leaves reinforced in margin. Light offsetting from folding plate as usual. Plate trimmed with loss of right margin. (4), 403-431 pp. + folded plate.

First edition of "the first announcement of the voltaic 'pile,' or electric battery" (Grolier/Horblit). It was a breakthrough in physics, and led to the development of electrotechnology and is today regarded as being one of the major milestones in the history of science.
"The voltaic pile revolutionized the theory and practice of electricity, so that within one hundred years of Volta's invention, more progress was made than in the two thousand four hundred years between the tentative experience of Thales and the publication of Volta's letter addressed to Sir Joseph Banks, President of the Royal Society ... The indispensability and ubiquity of electricity, in one form or another, in western civilization today emphasize sharply the fact that before 1800 human environment and existence were closer to life in ancient Egypt than to our own. Volta's invention is one of the earliest and most important causes of the change" (PMM).

"The paper, in French, was sent by Volta to his friend Cavallo in London for communication to the Royal Society. In it Volta describes the pile of alternating dissimilar metals (silver and zinc) which, when moist, generated a flow of constant-current electricity. With this new force water was decomposed, metal was electro-deposited, the electro-magnet was created and the electrical age was begun."(Dibner Heralds of Science, no. 60).

Horblit 37b
Norman 2164
PMM 255
Sparrow 168
Dibner 60
Barchas 2092

Order-nr.: 57068

DKK 50.000,00