Engraved allegorical frontis. by Augustin Saint-Aubin. xxxii, 299,  pp. 8vo, orig. wrappers, uncut. Paris: Didot & Knapen, 1773.
First edition, and a lovely copy in original state, of an uncommon book; this is one of Romé’s first publications. It is a description “of the metallic ores of his own mineral cabinet, in which he discussed the origin, metamorphosis, and paragenesis of each.”–D.S.B., XI, p. 521. Earlier, he had catalogued the mineralogical curiosities in the cabinet of Pedro Francisco Davila and for several years found steady employment by preparing at least fourteen other mineralogical catalogues. In all the descriptions in the present work, Romé stresses the importance of crystalline form and that this form is the chief characteristic by which minerals may be classified.
Romé (1736-90), by formulating the law of constancy of interfacial angles, established crystallography as the basis of mineralogy.
The attractive frontispiece, drawn by Saint-Aubin, depicts two putti, one examining ores under a microscope and the other stoking a furnace. Preserved in a box.
❧ Yves Laissus, “Les Cabinets d’Histoire Naturelle” in René Taton, ed., Enseignement et diffusion des sciences en France au dix-huitième siècle, p. 669–“un véritable manuel de minéralogie.” Schuh, Mineralogy & Crystallography: A Biobibliography, 1469 to 1920, 4154–“Very scarce. In this collection catalog, the famous French crystallographer fully describes about 750 metallic minerals from his own cabinet. Included are specimens consisting of pure metals as well as natural alloys and combinations with sulfur. Basic division is based upon the principle metals and semi-metals contained in the described specimens and include gold, silver, copper, iron, tin, lead, mercury, antimony, zinc, bismuth, cobalt, arsenic and sulfur. Under each of these headings, the specimens are divided based upon their form and chemical composition. For each item described, notes on the origin, associated minerals, locality, size and the estimated weight of contained precious metals is presented. The catalog is well referenced, and if a particular specimen was given to Romé, the supplier’s name is included in the description.”.
Item ID: 4877