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With 60 Plates in Early Color

MAYER, [Johann] Tobias. Mathematische Atlas in welchern auf 60 Tabellen alle Theile der Mathematic vorgestellet; und nicht allein upt zu bequemer Wiederholung, sondern auch den Anfern besonders zur Aufmunterung durch deutliche Beschreibung und Figuren entworfen werden. Augsburg, Joh(ann) Andreas Pfeffel, 1745.

Oblong folio [50 x 34.75 cm], engraved title signed I.G. Pinz after I.W. Baumgartner, 60 numbered plates, all but a handful in contemporary outline or full-color, 8 numbered plates containing Supplement zu dem Mathematischen Atlante. Bound in contemporary calf, covers much abraded, with spine re-backed; some toning, minor soiling, and light foxing in blank margin of engraved title and scattered leaves; a few leaves dusty or discolored; but generally a large clean copy, with many plates in handsome contemporary color.


Rare first and sole edition of this encyclopedic illustrated survey applying the latest mathematical methods to theoretical as well as practical sciences (e.g. geography), by the 22 year old cartographer Mayer. The work was published shortly before the author joined the Homann Cartographic Bureau, where he served as one of the principal technical experts for five years. The Mathematische Atlas is not only of interest for explicating some of the mathematical methods underlying the 30 odd maps he would draw for Homann's Atlas novus, but of more general interest for 18th century German encyclopedism. It is also of interest for its unusual format: the work attempts to capture a significant development in mathematics (eg the logarithm) in a single large plate, with explanatory material printed to either side.

"The influence of Wolff's compendium (e.g. Christian Wolff's Anfangs-GrĂ¼nde aller mathematischen Wissenschaften,, 1710) is again apparent in the arrangement and content of Mayer's Mathematischer Atlas of 1745; the sixty plates of the latter work duplicates Wolff's choice of subjects-arithmetic, geometry, trigonometry, and analysis, as applied to mechanics, optics, astronomy, geography, chronology, gnomonics, pyrotechnics, and military and civil architecture. This atlas... provides a good index to the extent of his scientific and technical knowledge at that period." - Forbes in DSB IX.233.

Copies frequently seem to lack the supplement (Deutsches Museum, Crawford Collection) as well as a single leaf author's preface. The present copy contains the supplement, but not author's preface. It is uncertain whether either is actually required; the Harvard copy, also in a contemporary binding, lacks the preface as well.

* Bibliothek des Deutschen Museums, Katalog der Druckschriften bis 1750, Libri Rari (1977) p. 186 (lacking supplement); Roller Goodman II.177; Royal Observatory of Edinburgh, Catalog of the Crawford Collection (1890) p. 301 (also lacking supplement); not in Berlin Katalog; E.G. Forbes in DSB IX.232-35; Poggendorff II.91.

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