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Printing and the Mind of Man

Table of Contents


NEWTON, Isaac. Opticks: or, a Treatise of the Reflexions, Refractions, Inflexions and Colours of Light. Also Two Treatises of the Species and Magnitude of Curvilinear Figures. London, Sam. Smith and Benj. Walford, Printers to the Royal Society, 1704.

4to. [24.2 x 18.8 cm], (2) ff., 144 pp., 211 pp, (1) pp., with 19 folding engraved plates. Bound in contemporary English paneled calf. Minor rubbing to binding. Only very minor marginal traces of use. Very genuine. Excellent.


First edition, first issue of this landmark in science by Sir Isaac Newton (1642-1727), here in a remarkably well preserved, unrestored example.

“The work summarized Newton’s discoveries and theories concerning light and color: the spectrum of the sunlight, the degrees of refraction associated with different colors, the color circle (the first in the history of color theory), the invention of the reflecting telescope, the first workable theory of the rainbow, and experiments on what would later be called ‘interference effects’ in conjunction with Newton’s rings . . . The first edition of the Opticks ends with two mathematical treatises in Latin, written to establish his priority over Leibnitz in the invention of the calculus”(Norman 1588).

* Babson 132; Dibner 148; Horblit 79b; PMM 172; Norman 1588; Wallis 174

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