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Crush-paper copy of book of his correspondence from Sept. 1862 to July 1865 (c. 600 letters)
1862-1865, Colmar 1862 - Unique Manuscript Archive of his Scientific Thought Hirn, Gustave Adolfe (1815-90). Album containing crush-paper copies of ca. 600 A.Ls.s. and Ls.s. written between 13 Sept. 1862 and 9 July 1865. [Colmar, 1862-65]. 280 x 222 mm. Original cloth, suede backstrip with cloth label, paper label on front cover, worn at edges, corners & spine. One or two small tears, otherwise very good internally.Hirn, a civil engineer, was one of the first to investigate the phenomena of the steam engine, and he made several fundamental contributions to mechanics and thermodynamics, including his Exposition analytique et experimentale de la theorie mecanique de la chaleur (1862), one of the first systematic treatises on thermodynamics. The album we are offering contains crush-paper copies of ca. 600 letters that Hirn wrote between 1862 and 1865, shortly after the publication of his Exposition analytique (the crush-paper method of letter duplication involved pressing a freshly written letter against special absorbent paper; only one such copy could be made, so that our album is unique). The album almost certainly represents the most complete manuscript archive of Hirn's scientific thought and activity during this time, since the original letters duplicated here were sent to a number of different recipients, and many have probably not survived. Among the letters are several written to Francois Napoleon Marie Moigno (1804-84), the eminent Jesuit mathematician and physicist; one of most interesting of these is Hirn's letter to Moigno of 16 February 1864, containing a long and detailed discussion, intended for publication, of the thermodynamic principles of Rudolf Clausius (1822-88). Clausius's name appears numerous times in Hirn's correspondence, along with those of physicist Leon Foucault (1819-68) and chemist Henri Estienne St. Claire Deville (1818-81). Another letter, of 13 December 1862, is to Charles X. Thomas, inventor of the first commercially successful calculator; Hirn thanked Thomas (also a native of Colmar) for the receipt of his 16-digit Thomas Arithmometer, which Hirn used daily in his "laborious calculations in physics and mechanics." Hirn was impressed enough with the Thomas de Colmar Arithmometer that he published a paper on it the following year ("Notice sur l'utilite de l'arithmometre et de l'hydrostat," Annales du genie civil, 2nd part, 2 [1863]: 113-17; 152-64), which included "an exposition of advanced techniques which extended the arithmometer's reach beyond the apparent restrictions of the four basic arithmetical rules" (Johnston).Other letters in the album relate to Hirn's interests in climatology and meteorology, or to his business activities as director of the mechanical department of the mill he managed jointly with his brother-it was his connection with this mill that first led Hirn to investigate the mechanics of heat. Time has permitted us to make only a cursory examination of this unique album; a thorough study will surely reveal other letters of equal or greater interest. Wheeler Gift for Moigno. Aspray et al., Computing before Computers, p. 50 (Thomas). Johnston, "Making the Arithmometer Count" (internet reference). [Attributes: Hard Cover]
      [Bookseller: Jeremy Norman's historyofscience]
Last Found On: 2015-04-11           Check availability:      AbeBooks    

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