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Académie Royale des Sciences], [Paris 1761 - Swedenborg on Manufacturing Iron, and Women and Children Making Paper. 413 x 286 mm (16 1/4 x 11 1/4"). 2 p.l., 196 pp.; 41 pp. (without section title); 1 p.l., iv, 150 pp. Three works bound in one volume. FIRST EDITIONS. ESPECIALLY ATTRACTIVE CONTEMPORARY MARBLED CALF, raised bands, spine heavily gilt in compartments with unusual centerpiece composed of shell forms and drawer handles, and with intricate volute cornerpieces, red morocco label, blue paste paper endpapers. WITH 26 OFTEN VERY PLEASING ENGRAVED TECHNOLOGICAL PLATES: nine in the first work, three in the second, and 14 in the last, one of these double-page. Brunet II, 618-19. Corners a little mashed, small chip to tail of spine at front joint, but IN VERY FINE CONDITION, the binding lustrous and otherwise with no significant wear, the margins especially ample, and the plates and text unusually fresh, clean, and bright. This is part of the "Description des Arts et Métiers," a series of 75 treatises published in more than 100 parts that, together, formed the outstanding 18th century work on handicrafts. Issued over a period of almost three decades, these works contain often splendid engravings of the industrial contexts of artisans making paper, candles, hats, playing cards, iron, sugar, wool, and many other products. Published at roughly the same time as Diderot's great "L'Encyclopédie," these volumes are larger than those making up that better-known publication, and the cuts here are even more striking that those in the Diderot, which includes some plagiarized illustrations taken from the present series. This ambitious undertaking, sponsored by the Académie Royale des Sciences of Paris, "constituted an effort to present a scientific picture of all the industrial processes employed in France in the 18th century. Since no corresponding survey was carried through in any other country at so early a date and since this one in France anticipated but briefly the industrial changes commonly associated with the phrase, 'the industrial revolution,' these volumes are worthy of particular notice. In a sense, they portray the maxima of skills attained at the end of a social period, the age of the handicraftsman." (Cole and Watts) Work on "Arts et Métiers" was begun under the auspices of scientist René Antoine Ferchault de Réaumur (1683-1757) and was brought to publication under the editorship of the multitalented French physician, botanist, and naval engineer Henri-Louis Duhamel du Monceau (1700-82), who also contributed a number of articles. The first work is a continuation of the explication of ironworking begun in a previous volume. This fourth section contains Emanuel Swedenborg's treatise on iron, covering forges, furnaces, and mines, translated from the Latin by M. Bouchu. Better remembered today for his religious visions and writings on spiritual matters, this is an unexpected context for Swedenborg (1688-1772), but he was the Assessor of the Royal College of Mines in Sweden, where the mining of copper and iron ore was a major part of the economy. The second work in this volume discusses the making of candles out of tallow, from the rendering of the animal fats to the dipping of the "chandeliers," as these candles were called (to distinguish them from wax candles, called "bougies"). One of the most eagerly sought after works from the "Arts et Métiers" series, the final work here details the complicated process of making paper, which demanded much in the way of labor, equipment, and facilities, including a water mill. It is one of the crafts where female (and child) workers are shown to be a significant part of the labor force. [Attributes: Hard Cover]
      [Bookseller: Phillip J. Pirages Rare Books (ABAA)]
Last Found On: 2013-12-03           Check availability:      AbeBooks    


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