(London: William Godbid, 1674). 168 x 108 mm. (6 5/8 x 4 1/2"). 4 p.l. (title page a cancel), 71,  (blank) pp.,  leaf (title), 25,  (blank) pp.,  leaf (title), 13,  (blank) pp., 5 p.l., 94 pp., 3 p.l., [bifolium with title page and A2 from "Of the cause of attraction by suction" in a different setting loosely inserted], 67,  (blank) pp.,  leaf (blank), 1 p.l. (title), 17,  (blank) pp. Six parts in one volume. FIRST EDITION.
Contemporary sprinkled calf, raised bands, red morocco label. Front pastedown with armorial bookplate of Fiennes Sanderson Miller, front free endpaper with ink inscription of Sandn. Miller and armorial bookplate of Albert L. Mond; verso of title page with armorial bookplate of Ambrose Holbech of Mollington in the County of Warwick, 1702; rear pastedown with bookplate of the Fox Pointe Collection. Fulton 119; Wing B-4054; ESTC R17545. Short crack to tail of front joint (nothing loose), tiny tear to head of spine, joints and extremities a little rubbed, but the binding solid and not displeasing. Rear flyleaf detached, edges of inserted bifolium a little frayed, additional trivial defects, otherwise fine internally--clean, fresh, and surprisingly bright.
This volume contains six tracts relating to Boyle's experiments on the nature of air and atmosphere, the most important of which establishes a theory of oxidation for the first time. "I have often suspected," Boyle tells us, that "there may be in the Air some yet more latent Qualities or Powers" and that the air we breathe "is not, as many imagine, a Simple and Elementary body, but a confused Aggregate of Effluviums." In this connection, he describes the rust that occurs on certain metals when exposed to air and the fact that a flame under glass will quickly extinguish itself. The active ingredient that both causes rust and feeds fire, which Boyle describes as "some odd substance, either of a Solar, or Astral, or some other exotic, nature" is, of course, oxygen. This hypothesis came a full century before the official discovery of the element by Scheele and Priestly in 1774, with Lavoisier correctly describing the process of combustion soon thereafter. Boyle's "Tracts" also contain, in the words of Fulton, "many other prescient passages," with observations on the nature of suction, experiments concerning the preservation of organic matter in sealed containers, and a particularly long dialogue directed at his adversary Thomas Hobbes concerning the problem of vacuums. (ST15641)
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PJP Catalog: 76.125