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JOBLOT, Louis (1647–1723)

Descriptions et usages de plusieurs nouveaux microscopes, tant simples que composez; Avec de nouvelles observations faites sur une multitude innombrable d’insectes, & d’autres animaux de diverses especes, qui naissant dans des liqueurs préparées, & dans celles qui ne le sont point.
Paris, Jacques Collombat, 1718.

First edition of the first separate treatise written on protozoology and the animalcules of infusions. This work is in two parts, the first dealing with the construction of the microscopes made by the author himself. It is illustrated with 22 well-engraved plates showing the construction of the microscopes. The experiments of the second part rank almost equal in importance with Redi’s Esperienze intorno alla generazione degl’insetti (1668). The engraved charming head-piece for the second part depicts a microscopist holding an instrument up to the light. He is seated at his desk in his laboratory/library surrounded by optical instruments. “Joblot described certain experiments bearing on spontaneous generation, a doctrine which he says is inconceivable and contrary to all reason and religion. Joblot was apparently the first to carry out experiments on heated infusions to see whether they were capable of producing animalcules” (Bullock). “Joblot’s observations mainly concern Protozoa and were made between 1710 and 1716. Leeuwenhoek had observed the Protozoa previously, but Joblot’s is the earliest treatise on them. He described and illustrated a large number of new types and, according to Cole, was the first to observe the contractile vacuolo, while Oudemans states that he was the first to picture the larva of a hydrachnid and the nymph of Unionicola ypsilophorus, a parasite of the pond mussel” (DSB). The publication of Descriptions et usages de plusieurs nouveaux microscopes established Joblot as the first French microscopist. He became professor of mathematics at the École Nationale des Beaux-Arts in May 1669, a position he held until April 1721. Joblot probably was inspired to begin research for this work in the summer of 1678, when Huygens and Hartsoeker visited Paris from the Netherlands with microscopes which they demonstrated in the capital.

Collation: Pp (12), 78. With 22 engraved plates of microscopes numbered 1-22: (Seconde Partie): pp 96, (6). With 12 engraved plates numbered 1-12. Woodcut title-vignette, headpieces and initials. One engraved head-piece for the second part depicting a scientist in his laboratory. Page 1 in Part One is fully engraved with armorial head-piece with crown and fleur-de-lis, optical instruments, and historiated initial.

Binding: Contemporary calf, richly gilt spine with five raised bands, marbled endpapers.

References: DSB, VIII, pp 110-12; Bulloch, History of Bacteriology, 30, 70-71; Moe, Mikroskopets historie, pp 33-35; Clay & Court. The History of the Microscope, pp 57-59; Cole, Short History of Protozoology, pp 15, 39-40; Lechevalier & Solotorsky, Three Centuries of Microbiology, pp 386-87; Nissen ZBI, 2113; C. Dobell 'A Protozoological Bicentenary, Antony van Leeuwenhoek (1632–1723) and Louis Joblot (1645–1723) in Parasitology, 15 (1923), pp 308-19; L.L. Woodruff 'Louis Joblot and the Protozoa’ in Scientific Monthly, 44 (1937), pp 41-47; Waller 10856. Waller 10856.

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