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HALES, Stephen (1677–1761)

Statical Essays. Vols. I-II. I: Statical Essays: Containing Vegetable Staticks; Or, An Account of some Statical Experiments on the Sap in Vegetables. Being An Essay towards a Natural History of Vegetation, of Use to those who are curious in the Culture and Improvement of Gardening, &c. Also, a Specimen of an Attempt to Analyse the Air, by a great Variety of Chymio-Statical Experiments ... The Second Edition, with Amendments. II: Statical Essays: Containing Hæmastaticks; or, An Account of some Hydraulick and Hydrostatical Experiments made on the Blood and Blood-Vessels of Animals. Also an Account of Some Experiments on Stones in the Kidneys and Bladder; with an Enquiry into the Nature of those Anomalous Concretions. To which is added an Appendix, containing Observations and Experiments relating to several Subjects in the first Volume ... With an Index to both Volumes.
London, W. Innys and R. Manby, 1731–1733.

Two epochal works on Plant Nutrition and Experimental Physiology. First edition of Volume Two: Haemastaticks (1733) and Second edition of Volume One: Vegetable Staticks (1731). The Haemastaticks is often found with the second edition of Vegetable Staticks. The title Statical Essays does not appear in the first edition of Vegetable Staticks, but was first applied to the whole work in this second edition. In Haemastaticks, so important to therapeutics ever since, is recorded Hales’s invention of the manometer, with which he was the first to measure blood-pressure. A glass tube inserted directly into the femoral artery of a horse permitted him to measure directly the height of the column of blood (arterial pressure). Hales’s work marked the greatest advance in the physiology of the circulation between Harvey and the introduction of the mercury manometer and other instruments for the measurement of blood pressure now in universal use. He was also the first physiologist to suggest that electricity plays a role in neuromuscular phenomena. In Vegetable Staticks (1st ed. 1727) Hales studied plant nutrition, the movement of water in plants and establishing that plants lose water constantly via transpiration through the leaves. His quantative measurements enabled him to show that the rate of transpiration varied with temperature, and noting that leaf suction is the main force by which water is raised through a plant. He was the first to realize that carbon dioxide was supplied to plants by the air and formed a vital part of the plant’s food supply.

Collation: Pp. (6), viii, (4), 376, with 19 engraved plates; vol. II: pp xxii, (26), 361, (1) errata, (22) index.

Binding: Two volumes. Contemporary calf, skilfully rebacked (John Smart). Slight difference in height.

Provenance: Vol. II with signature ("C. T. Hackman?") dated 1838 on front free end paper and a stamp inside front cover "W. R. Chamberlain, Great Hidden, Hungerford".

References: Garrison-Morton 765; Horblit, One Hundred Books Famous in Science, 45a and b; Grolier, One Hundred Books Famous in Medicine, 41; Printing and the Mind of Man, 189 a & b; Dibner, Heralds of Science 26; Osler 1081; Norman 970: Fulton, History of Physiology, pp 56, 7774; Willius & Keys, Cardiac Classics, pp 131-155; Henrey, British Botanical and Horticultural Literature before 1800, 777-778.; Heirs of Hippocrates 784; Sparrow, Milestones of Science, 91; Hunt, II, 362; Norman Sale at Christie’s New York (1998). Waller 11527.

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