DESAGULIERS, J.T. (1683-1744)
A Course of Experimental Philosophy
Quarto, 2 vols. (9 1/4 x 7 3/8 inches). Volume 1: London: Printed for W. Innys, T. Longman and T. Shewell, and C. Hitch ... and M. Senex ... 1744. xii, , 466, pp. Subscribers' list and errata leaf after preface. Index and advertisement leaf at the end. 32 folding engraved plates. Volume 2: London: W. Innys ... M. Senex ... and T. Longman ... 1744. viii, 568, pp. Index and advertisement leaf at the end. 46 folding engraved plates.
20th-century half calf, cloth boards, spine in five compartments with raised bands, lettered in gilt in the second, third, and fourth, blue endpapers.
The second edition, corrected, of vol. 1 and first edition of vol. 2.
John Theophilus Desaguliers was a British scientist who popularized Isaac Newton's theories and their practical application. Around 1713, when Newton invited him to London to be an experimental assistant, he began working as a lecturer, and over the course of his life, he gave over 140 courses composed of thousands of lectures on experimental philosophy, mechanics, astronomy, and other scientific fields. Soon after his move to London, Desaguliers joined the Royal Society as a Fellow and was a three-time winner of the Copley medal. He became a close friend of Isaac Newton, who he made the godparent of his third son, as well as Samuel Clarke and Stephen Gray. Desaguliers is also known as a main figure in the beginnings of Freemasonry, joining a lodge in London possibly around 1717. "The two-volume set promotes the Newtonian tradition and quotes experiments that confirmed Newton's queries, especially from the Opticks. Desaguliers also describes a number of electrical experiments and contributes to the popularization of the study of electricity. Each volume contains six lectures, richly illustrated by experiments and annotated. The second volume deals mostly with applied science and engineering" (Norman).
Norman, Bibliotheca Mechanica, p. 91; DSB IV, pp. 43-45; Wellcome II, p. 451 (vol. 2 only); Poggendorff, pp. 553-55.