San Francisco: Norman Publishing, 1993. 2nd Printing. Hardcover. Duodecimo size, 773 pp. Near fine. Item #CNFBV119
The firm of Benjamin Pike (1777-1863) was founded in 1806 and operated in New York for 110 years "under various ownerships and names". They were known as a "pre-eminent makers" of eyeglasses and, when early microscopes came into use, they began importing such from Europe until in the latter half of the nineteenth century, they began manufacturing their own (n.b., quotes and information from an article on the web site of The Microscopist, written by Brian Stevenson, last updated August, 2019).
This work by his son, Benjamin Pike, Jr., who joined the firm in 1831, with two other brothers joining shortly thereafter. Benjamin Jr. withdrew from the family firm and established his own business around 1843. The two firms "offered similar wares to their customers...[a]s an innovator, however, Benjamin, Jr. seems to have had the edge." At several fairs and exhibitions Benjamin, Jr. won prize after prize for various instruments and apparatuses (n.b., quotes and information from the Introduction).
According to Deborah Jean Warner (of the Smithsonian Institution), in the Introduction she wrote for this 1993 facsimile publication, "Benjamin Pike, Jr.'s greatest innovation was his 'Illustrated Descriptive Catalogue of Optical, Mathematical, and Philosophical Instruments,', issued in 1848...[m]ore than a catalog, it was a veritable textbook describing a great range of instruments, explaining how they were to be used, and embellished with more than 750 clear and accurate drawings" (p. xi of the Introduction).
This facsimile is based upon the second edition, published in 1856, which added a 47-page supplement in the first volume descsribing various new instruments, and ten additional pages in the second volume which described globes and sets of school apparatus. A fascinating glimpse into the world when scientific instruments were just coming into wide usage, along with the prices one had to pay to obtain them.
___DESCRIPTION: Originally published in 1856 in two volumes, this facmile printing incorporates them into one volume, along with the scholarly introduction mentioned above. Bound in full black cloth over boards, gilt lettering and decorations stamped on the spine, light green endpapers; duodecimo size (7.5" by 5"), pagination: [i-vi] vii-xvii (this containing the facsimile preliminary information, including the title page, plus the Introduction), [i-v] vi-xi, 12-389 (which concludes the first volume), [1-5] 6-288 (which concludes the text of the second volume),  2-78 (separately paginated price list), [1, printer's statement for facsimile].
___CONDITION: Near fine, with clean boards, straight corners without rubbing, a strong, square text block with solid hinges, the interior is clean and bright, and entirely free of prior owner markings; light bumping to the head and tail of the spine, a fleck or two of soil to the top edge of the text block, and a prior bookseller label on the front free endpaper.
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