A KEY WORK IN CHEMISTRY, 1803
BERTHOLLET, Claude Louis. Essai de Statique Chimique. Paris: Firmin Didot, 1803. Two volumes. Octavo, contemporary full brown mottled calf, red morocco spine labels, marbled endpapers and edges. Housed in custom cloth chemises and half red morocco slipcases. $1500.
First edition of Berthollet’s important work on chemical composition.
Berthollet was one of the key members of the “chemical revolution” that took place at the same time as the American and French revolutions. “His most important work was that on chemical reactions and chemical composition… In his Essai de Statique Chimique (1803) he argued that the forces of chemical affinity, like those of gravitation, must be proportional to the masses of the reacting substances. While this does resemble a modern view, Berthollet developed it to conclusions which came in conflict with the available evidence… Berthollet maintained that the composition of a compound varies with the proportions of the reactants from which it is formed and the physical conditions of the reaction” (Williams, 54). In this work, Berthollet demonstrates the reversibility of chemical reactions and the idea of chemical equilibrium, which is the “statique” of the title.
Only scattered light foxing. Joints cracked but strong, calf lightly rubbed. A very good copy.