Paris, Louis Sevestre, 1700.
12mo [157 x 90 mm] of (11) ll., 69 pp., (3) pp. Bound in contemporary mottled brown calf, spine ribbed and decorated with gilt fleurons, mottled edges. Spine ends slightly rubbed. Brown morocco case. Contemporary binding.
First edition of the utmost rarity of this work dedicated to photometry.
Martin, Catalogue de la bibliothèque de feu M. Burette, 5546; Monge, Dictionnaire de physique, IV, p. 293.
It’s in the 17th century that European scientists make the biggest discoveries in the study of light.
Photometry that appears during this time doesn’t have any measure instruments; it will establish its bases by comparing light sources.
Then, “it’s struck by the invention of the barometer, the thermometer and the hygrometer” that F. Marie asked himself if, by imitating them, it wouldn’t possible to find a means of measuring light”. (J-E. Morère, p. 339, La photométrie : les sources de l’Essai d’Optique sur la gradation de la lumière de Pierre Bouguer, 1729.)
This is how he created the “lucimeter”.
“In 1700 a Capuchin Jean François-Marie gave several ways of creating devices he calls lucimeters or photometers. This will lead to the construction of a usable device only much later”. Daumas, Les instruments scientifiques, 82.
“The first one who got the idea of measuring the light is a Capuchin, F. François Marie, who published in 1700 a small treatise entitled: “Nouvelle découverte sur la lumière […]”. This good religious man who only speaks, moreover, very modestly about his ideas, gives in this work, called ‘Lucimeter’, two means of measuring the light, one with the interposition of a number of plane and transparent glasses, suited to intercept finally all the light; the other one, by using a quantity of water in order to produce the same effect; or even means of repeated reflections on polished surfaces, in enough quantity to weaken the light with known gradations.”
J. E. Montucla, Histoire des mathématiques, III, p. 538.
Fine and precious copy preserved in its elegant contemporary binding.
Provenance: Macclesfield South Library 184.B.14, 3 first ll. blind-stamped with the arms of the Count of Macclesfield.
No other copy of this rare first edition has appeared on the international public market since 1940.