A PRACTICAL TREATISE UPON DENTITION; OR, THE BREEDING OF TEETH IN CHILDREN.
(London: Printed for the author, 1742). 205 x 130 mm. (8 x 5"). xxiv, 285,  pp.,  leaves (index). FIRST EDITION.
Contemporary sprinkled calf, covers with double gilt-ruled borders, raised bands flanked by gilt rules (neatly rebacked preserving original backstrip, one corner restored). Front flyleaf with ink inscription of Wm. Barber dated 1790. Weinberger, "Introduction to the History of Dentistry," p. 330; Garrison-Morton 3672; Wellcome II, 320; ESTC T63467. Joints lightly rubbed, corners a little bumped and worn, but the binding solid and perfectly satisfactory; a handful of creased corners and a couple of trivial blemishes, but the contents in very fine condition, the paper clean and bright, and obviously read very little.
This is a fresh, appealing copy of the first modern book on teething and the second book on dentistry in English. Weinberger says that "as far as English dental literature is concerned, it began with Joseph Hurlock in 1742. Hurlock was a strong advocate of lancing the gums of infants to permit teeth to erupt more readily and thus prevent convulsions. His treatise was a plea for parents and nurses to allow him to carry out this procedure." The book documents symptoms of dentition difficulties, and reports on cases in which our author lanced the gums of children whose health problems he attributed to teething trouble--not always with happy outcomes. The book does contain advice that was more beneficial. Weinberger notes, "Hurlock apparently was a keen observer of dental conditions then found in children, noticing that the havoc wrought by caries in the deciduous teeth was undoubtedly due to diet, and recommended that such youngsters be sent to the country where fresh air and better food could be obtained." Little is known of the author, who has no other works recorded in libraries or bibliographies. It has been suggested that he was related to the Joseph Hurlock (1715-93) who was a director of the East India Company. We are fortunate that Mr. Hurlock did not stint when it came to the quality of paper on which his treatise was printed; the text here has come down to us crisp and bright as a result. (ST16000)