London: Printed for R. Hunter, 1823.
1st Edition. Hardcover. 8vo - over 7¾ - 9¾" tall. Very Good. Item #003323
8vo (227 x 140 mm). , 83 ,  pp., 8 plates (7 engraved, 1 folding, 1 bound as frontispiece), all but one engraved by Lowry after Francis Ronalds, errata leaf at the end. Near contemporary grey drab boards, pages uncut (light soiling and browning, upper inner hinge partly split). Title and a few text leaves lightly browned with minor offsetting from plates, occasional light spotting. Provenance: Peter and Margarete Braune. ----
Wheeler-Gift 803, Mottelay, p.438; Bakken, p. 292. RARE FIRST EDITION OF A MILESTONE IN THE HISTORY OF COMMUNICATIONS. Francis Ronalds was the inventor of the electric telegraph. In 1816 he laid down eight miles of wire in the garden of his house in Upper Mall, Hammersmith (subsequently known as Kelsmcott House, and occupied by William Morris), to produce the first working telegraph and this is the first published account of his invention. The author, commenting on the experiments with electrical transmissions which are described in the book, states: "The result seemed to be, that that most extraordinary fluid or agency, electricity, may actually be employed for a more practically useful purpose than the gratification of the philosopher's inquisitive research, the schoolboy's idle amusement, or the physician's tool; that it may be compelled to travel as many hundred miles beneath our feet as the subterranean ghost which nightly haunts our metropolis, our provincial towns, and even our high roads; and that in such an enlightened country and obscure climate as this its travels would be productive of, at the least, as much public and private benefit. Why has no serious trial yet been made of the qualifications of so diligent a courier? And if he should be proved competent to the task, why should not our kings hold council at Brighton with their ministers in London? Why should not our government govern at Portsmouth almost as promptly as in Downing Street? Why should our defaulters escape by default of our foggy climate? And since our piteous inamorati are not all Alphei, why should they add to the torments, of absence those dilatory tormentors, pens, ink, paper and posts? Let us have electrical conversazione offices, communicating with each other all over the kingdom, if we can ..." (pp.2-3). - Visit our website to see more images!
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