[Japan]: ca. 1898-1912.
Copper mining at Ashio in Tochigi Prefecture began about 1600 and production continued until 1973; in the late 19th century, it produced 39 percent of Japan’s copper output. At the end of that century, it was decided to build a railway connecting the mine to major rail lines to facilitate transportation of the outbound copper ore and inbound supplies (horses had carried or pulled everything before). The engineering problems were considerable: the line runs along the Watarase River through a deep valley subject to frequent flooding. The railway was finished in 1911-12.
The collection contains a series of letters containing reports on design and construction, printed documents regarding the stock company formed to finance the building of the railway (“Ashio Tetsudo Kabushikigaisha”), reports from engineers regarding preparations, further reports regarding expected capacity needs for the railroad line, six photographs of the construction, and a very fine and large (1820 x 760 mm.) manuscript diagram on four joined sheets of tissue paper showing the route through the valley and elevations. This large diagram has been heightened in color (green, blue, red, and brown).
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[Japan]: ca. 1898-1912.
2 p.l., viii, 236 pp. 8vo, attractive antique calf, double gilt fillet round sides, flat spine gilt, uncut. Paris: veuve Tilliard et Fils, 1805.
The rare sale catalogue of the library, rich in oriental books and manuscripts, of Anquetil-Duperron (1731-1805), French orientalist and brother of the historian Pierre Anquetil. Abraham Hyacinthe had a fascinating early life: while unsuccessfully studying for the priesthood in Paris and Utrecht, he developed a passion for Hebrew, Arabic, Persian and other languages of the East. He travelled to India as a private soldier in 1754 in order to search for the works of Zoroaster. Granted free passage...
1 p.l., xxiv, 74 pp. 8vo, self-wrappers, stitched as issued (stitching loose), leaves uncut. Paris: Regnault-Lalande, 1811.
The rare catalogue of this joint sale of the collections of Ozanne (1728-1811) and Coïny (1761-1809), which took place 2-11 December 1811. The former, a distinguished marine artist and engineer, collaborated with Duhamel du Monceau on several illustrated works and taught naval architecture and navigation to the sons of the royal family. Le Tellier de Courtanvaux used one of Ozanne’s ships as a platform to test Pierre Le Roy’s marine chronometer.
A student of Suvée and J.P. Lebas, Coïny exhibited at the Salon from 1802 to 1806 and specialized in engravings of the saints and mythological or historical subjects. He also executed well-known vignettes for the works of La Fontaine, Léonard, and Racine. The pieces from his collection are noted with a “†”.
21 fine folding engraved plates. 1 p.l., 8, 312 pp. Large 4to, cont. marbled semi-stiff boards. Brescia: P. Vescovi, 1782.
First edition and quite scarce. Count Bettoni (1735-86), spent most of his life developing improved agricultural techniques and applying mechanical inventions to agriculture. This book is devoted to methods of river control to prevent flooding and erosion. The author recommends securing river banks by planting trees, grasses, and other kinds of vegetation (with many of the plates depicting numerous methods of planting in different situations). There is an interesting description (pp. 277-308) of a machine invented by Giuseppe Avanzini to measure fluid resistance with...
11 folding engraved plates & numerous tables in the text. xxxii, 542,  pp. Large 4to (250 x 215 mm.), cont. red sheep maroquiné, flat spine gilt, covers framed with gilt Greek keys, gilt round sides, a.e.g. Stuttgart: Cotta, 1820.
The important German translation of the third and final edition of Carnot’s chief work, in a most attractive binding. Written at the request of Napoleon and published for the first time in 1810 (third ed.: 1812), it concerns the coordination and logistics necessary for a successful defense of fortified positions. The plates are highly detailed with elevations and cross-sections demonstrating his theories of fortification, which...
Woodcut printer’s vignette on title, two engraved head-pieces, one folding engraved plate with two images (sometimes divided making two plates), & numerous engravings in the text. 4 p.l., 198,  pp. 12mo, cont. red polished morocco, triple gilt fillet round sides, gilt fleurons in each corner, spine nicely gilt, arms in gilt of Sébastian Le Prestre, Seigneur de Vauban on each cover (Olivier, pl. 343), a.e.g. Paris: the Widow of J.B. Coignard & the Son of Coignard, 1693.
Second edition (1st ed.: 1689), revised, with considerable additions. This is one of the best contemporary explications of Vauban’s “first system” of fortification...
Two double-page plates & 80 engravings in the text. 8 p.l., 196,  pp. Folio, orig. carta rustica (covers a little soiled & spotted, first few leaves a little dampstained in outer lower corner). Rome: G.F. Buagni, 1696.
First edition and a fine fresh copy of this finely illustrated work on baroque hydraulics. Fontana (1638-1714), was the most important Roman architect of his generation.
This book “emerges from an actual design problem. The practical source for this theoretical work was the project for the raising of the water level of Lake Bracciano, necessary since the second fountain in Saint Peter’s square, built by Bernini under...
Photographic album, stamped on upper cover “Kembs,” containing 40 fine black & white photographs, each measuring 163 x 218 mm. & each mounted on thick board, all with printed explanatory descriptions above & below. Oblong small folio (250 x 335 mm.), orig. half-cloth & marbled boards, sewn. Photographs dated between April 1929 and October 1933.
The construction of the “Grand Canal d’Alsace,” which channeled the hitherto unnavigable Upper Rhine River, was one of the most important civil engineering projects in France of the last century. About 50 kilometers long and running between Kembs (just below Basel) and Vogelgrun, it permits the navigation of ships and barges between Basel (a city which...
Many fine full-page woodcuts. 56; 51; 42 folding leaves. Three vols. Large 4to (337 x 260 mm.), orig. yellow wrappers, orig. block-printed title labels on upper covers (labels a bit frayed), new stitching (a little loose). [China]: from title-page in trans.: “woodblocks owned by Yi xue xuan, 1801.”
An important and uncommon large-format edition of the “first of all Chinese encyclopaedias, containing so much botanical and zoological terminology.”–Needham, Science and Civilisation in China, Vol. 6, Part 1: Botany, p. 191. This edition of the Er Ya contains the enlargements and commentary of Guo Pu (276-324), considered “the greatest commentator of the Erh Ya” (Needham, p. 188).
Guo, Chinese historian, poet, and writer, is best known as one of China’s foremost commentators of ancient texts and was a notable natural historian. Considered the most learned man of his age, he was also the first to define feng shui. Today, his edition of the Er Ya is considered to be authoritative and definitive, and without his glosses and commentaries, large portions of this text would be unintelligible.
Two handsome albums with 21 finely-drawn technical illustrations employing black ink and wash water colors. Almost all of the illustrations are signed “Karl Hübler” and dated by him from 1890-93. Some are also signed by “Engessen” and “Sayer,” who were perhaps the design engineers.
Laid-in are ten further fine folding original pen-&-ink drawings with wash water coloring concerning different water and bridge engineering projects in Bavaria as well as a printed contract for engineering projects for the state from about 1900.
One large folding engraved plate. 1 p.l., 44 pp. Large 4to, cont. half-sheep & marbled boards (minor foxing). Paris: de l’Imprimerie Nationale, 1793.
First edition. “This Mémoire on his monumental concept of masonry bridges with spans of 200 to 500 feet is the rarest of all Perronet’s works. Inspired by some of the great spans of the past (Verona 150ft or Pontypridd 178ft) he asks why, ‘dans un siècle ou les sciences & les arts ont fait de si grands progrès, ne pourroit-on pas se flatter d’en établir solidement qui ayent encore plus d’ouverture?’…
“Perronet is fascinated by the challenge of building such huge spans, particularly that of 500ft, and three main problems are considered. The first of these is the choice of stone and here he draws on his considerable knowledge, derived from experiments carried out on the strength of stone from quarries all over France, as well as citing his experience during the construction of the Neuilly bridge. The other two problems concern the design of centring for such a gigantic arch and the method of dismantling it after the keystone has been put in place. Here, too, he brings his unparalleled experience to bear in his design but cites the theoretical works of Parent, Buffon, Musschenbroek and Couplet to prove its feasibility…
4 p.l., 392 pp. 8vo, orig. grey boards. Ingolstadt: J.W. Krüll, 1793.
First edition of an extremely rare book. This is a complete introduction to the industry of mining. There are long sections on the structure of the earth and patterns of ore deposits, mineralogy, methods of tunnelling and extraction of ores, smelting, and industrial relations.
Fine copy from the Wittelsbach library of the dukes and kings of Bavaria. Scarce. Laid-in is a one-page A.L.s dated 1 September 1793 from Schrank to the Duke of Bavaria presenting this copy.
Finely engraved vignette on titles, each different, 48 engraved plates of maps, plans, & charts (six heightened in color) on 40 folding sheets, & one folding printed table. Six vols. Large 4to, cont. speckled boards (several with minor rubbing), red vellum lettering pieces on spines. Freiberg: Barthel, 1775-76-78-81-84-86.
First edition of this outstanding history of the German campaigns during the Seven Years’ War, describing the strategies employed during the conflict. Tielke (1731-87), wrote a series of works on military history and science based on his extensive theoretical knowledge, as well as first-hand combat experience — he was wounded at the...
Large (445 x 330 mm.) folding hand-colored engraved plan (lacking the second engraved plate). Text within ruled borders.  leaves (lacking the first leaf, a blank; small blank portion of title torn away from lower inner margin). Small 4to, 18th-cent. calf (joints cracked but strong), spine gilt, red morocco lettering piece on spine. London: G. Eld, 1610.
First edition of the first English work on agricultural irrigation and an important early work in the literature of utopias. This is a very rare book, with or without the two plates. Our copy has the important and large folding engraved plan depicting Vaughan’s idealized community, colored...
Engraved allegorical frontispiece by Giuseppe Daniotto and seven fine & large folding plates by Daniotto. xxxii, 90,  pp. Large 4to, cont. marbled boards. [Venice]: Sons of A. Pinelli, 1789.
First edition of this notable engineering work which describes the raising of the sunken man-of-war Fenice in the Spignon channel, just inside the Porto di Malamocco, and the central access to the Venice lagoon. The ship sank in April of 1783 and rendered the channel so narrow that it caused great difficulties for large ships to pass. Work began in 1785 to remove the ship and was complete early in the following year.
The very fine plates, here in rich and dark impressions, depict the raising and clearance of the ship, employing a combination of hydraulics and an elaborate system of pulleys. This was a remarkable engineering feat. It required innovative methods that became standard practice in subsequent marine salvage operations.