Chemische Abhandlung von der Luft und dem Feuer. Nebst einem Vorbericht von Torbern Bergman.
Uppsala, printed by Johan Edman for Magnus Swederus, and Siegfried Lebrecht Crusius, Leipzig, 1777.
Bound together with Torbern Bergman, Afhandling om Bitter, Selzer, Spa och Pyrmontervattens . . . 1776.
First edition of one of the most famous and important books in the history of chemistry and one of the great Swedish contributions to scientific world literature. Scheele’s most important discovery was oxygen, and his priority is established by his laboratory notes and letters. The manuscript of “Luft und Feuer” was sent to the publisher, Swederus in Uppsala, on December 22, 1775, but the printing of the book was delayed for nearly two years, partly because Torbern Bergman did not deliver his promised preface until July 1, 1777. The book was published the following month. Joseph Priestley was long credited with the discovery of oxygen, as he was the first to publish his discovery, but Scheele’s discovery of oxygen was made at least two years before Joseph Priestley’s. Scheele blamed Swederus for the delay in the publication of the book. In letters to Gahn and Bergman he said in 1776: “It will be said I have drawn from their papers and only altered them somewhat. For all this I have Swederus to thank.” It has been said that at the time it was published, there was no chemistry book in existence containing a greater number of new and important facts. Scheele demonstrated by numerous simple but brilliant experiments that air was composed of two different gases, 'fire air’ (oxygen), indispensable to combustion and breathing, and 'foul air’ (nitrogen). The book also contains the first systematic experiment on radiant heat and announces the photo-sensitive nature of silver chloride. He established that violet light has a stronger blackening effect on silver chloride than the rest of the spectrum – a discovery which led to the invention of photography.
Collation: Pp [ii] title with engraved vignette of a chemical laboratory (same as in Scheffer’s Chemiske Föreläsningar, printed by Edman in 1775), verso blank, [iv] Vorrede,  Vorbericht, 155, adverts. One folding engraved plate. Copy without the rarely seen inserted half-title leaf, which was inserted later and gives the name of the printer, Johan Edman, who is not mentioned otherwise in the book. The preliminary fold, the Vorrede, was imposed and printed as K4-K5. Crusius in Leipzig shared the edition with Swederus in Uppsala.
Binding: Contemporary grey boards with hand written title on spine.