London: for Sam. Smith and Benj. Walford, printers to the Royal Society, 1704.
1st Edition. Hardcover. 4to - over 9¾ - 12" tall. Near Fine. Item #003251
4to (244 x 191 mm). 181 leaves,  1-144, 1-137  138  139-211  pp. Signatures: (pi)2, A-S4, Aa-Bb4 Dd-Zz4, Aaa-Ddd4, Eee2 + single leaf inserted before Tt2 being the divisional title to Enumeratio linearum tertii ordinis. Title printed in red and black, 19 folding engraved plates. Contemporary polished panelled calf, expertly rebacked with the original backstrip and red morocco gilt-lettered label laid down, red-sprinkled edges, corners strengthened, slight wear to extremities. Text crisp and clean throughout, faint dampstain spots to a few upper blank margins near gutter, upper margin of 6 plates closely trimmed, partly affecting heading of plate Curvarum Tab. II. Provenance: Harrison D. Horblit (his bookplate to first flyleaf); Thomas Vroom (pictotrial bookplate to front pastedown). A wide margined and internally exceptionally crisp copy. ----
Babson/Macomber 132; Wallis 174; Sparrow, Milestones of Science 150; Dibner, Heralds of Science 148; Horblit 79b; PMM / Printing and the Mind of Man 172; Norman 1588. FIRST EDITION, FIRST ISSUE of Newton's important optical discoveries in collected form. "Newton's Opticks did for light what his Principia had done for gravitation, namely, placed it on a scientific basis" (E.W. Brown, quoted in Babson). "Opticks is also distinguished in two other ways: the first edition contained Newton's first mathematical papers in print [...] and in the later editions it was embellished with a set of 'Queries' long supposed to represent Newton's opinions on the chief mysteries of Nature". (PMM 172). Opticks includes explanations of the rainbow, "Newton's rings," the color circle, the spectrum of sunlight, and the invention of the reflecting telescope. "This work includes assertions of the priority of Newton over Leibniz in the discovery of the calculus, explanations of optical phenomena such as the rainbow, 'Newton rings', the double refraction of Icelandic spar, and important 'Queries' as to the nature of matter" (Horblit). Opticks itself was written in the 1670s. Newton showed the manuscript to microscope pioneer and fellow Royal Society member Robert Hooke, whose criticisms were so withering that Newton elected to stall publication until after Hooke's demise. Unusually for one of Newton's works, "Opticks" was first published in English, the Latin version following in 1706. This copy was consigned to Christie's by the Widow of Harrison D. Horblit, Mermin Horblit (1910-2009) and sold in New York on April 22, 1994 (USD 16,100). - Visit our website to see more images!
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