Alembic Blog

Victorian Advertising Paradise - A Chromolithographic Pharmacy Catalogue

Imagine walking into a drug store and seeing these exuberant, enticing labels all around you. They're part of what's probably the most colourful item in our stock at the moment: a chromolithographic pharmacy catalogue dating from the 1890s.

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Join Us at the ABA Rare Book Fair London

ABA Rare Book Fair London Ticket

This month we're proud to be exhibiting at the ABA Rare Book Fair London, previously the Olympia Book Fair. 

Now celebrating its 61st year, and being held for the first time in central London's beautiful Battersea Park, this major three-day event is one of the largest and most prestigious antiquarian book fairs in the world, showcasing rare, unique and unusual items from more than 170 leading UK and international dealers. This year the fair will be specially opened by beloved broadcaster and bibliophile Sir David Attenborough at a public ceremony on Thursday at noon. And there will be a number of other special events, including demonstrations and workshops on hand-press printing and bookbinding, and guided tours and talks introducing various aspects of rare books and book collecting.

The graphic above is a ticket that admits two, and can be shown on your phone or printed out. We look forward to seeing you there!

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Atomic Reactors Serve Peace: A Soviet-Era Czech Guide to Nuclear Power

For many people nuclear energy conjures horrific images - barrels of radioactive waste that can't be safely stored, or the hulking sarcophagus of Chernobyl. But during the 1950s nuclear power had very different connotations. For the men and women who lived through the Second World War, the atomic bombing of Japan, and the rise of the Cold War, nuclear energy for civilian use represented the hope for a better future, one that would be powered by almost unlimited supplies of clean, inexpensive power. It would be "Atoms for Peace" instead of war, as President Dwight D. Eisenhower put it in a speech to the UN in 1953.

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Free Tickets to the Olympia Book Fair

Olympia Book Fair Tickets

We're very pleased to announce that we're exhibiting for the first time at one of the world's great book fairs, the ABA London International Antiquarian Book Fair at Olympia, June 1st-3rd, on stand F07. This is the perfect opportunity to have a look at our stock in person. If there's something you like on our website just let us know and we'll be happy to bring it along. The graphic above is a ticket for free entry - just show it on your phone at the door or print it out. 

Olympia is one of the largest and longest-running rare book shows in the world, and all 150+ exhibitors are fully-vetted members of the ABA and ILAB. There will be an incredible variety of books, maps, prints, ephemera, art, and manuscripts for sale, and it's an excellent opportunity for new collectors to meet dealers and learn about books. There is also an excellent line-up of guided tours and hands-on workshops. We hope to see you there!

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An Exciting Announcement - We Are Now ABA Members

I'm very proud to announce that I have been elected an associate member of the Antiquarian Booksellers' Association.

The ABA is the senior trade body for dealers in rare books in the British Isles, and is the oldest organisation of its kind in the world. Members are elected solely on the basis of proven experience, expertise and integrity, and we observe the highest professional and ethical standards.

The ABA also organises book fairs, and now that I'm a member I will be exhibiting at Olympia and Chelsea, two of the most important rare book shows in Britain.

But more than just a trade body, the ABA and its sister organisations around the world are also like a family. It's been nearly three years since I set out on my own as a bookseller, and over that time my colleagues have been incredibly generous with support and advice. I wouldn't be where I am today without their encouragement, and I hope that over the coming years I can give back to this wonderful community.

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Carriages Without Horses Shall Go: One of the First Books About Cars

There's no question that automobiles were one of the most transformative technologies of the 20th century, and the rise of autonomous vehicles will continue that tradition of innovation. But in the 1890s cars were little more than a novelty, and few were prescient enough to predict the automotive revolution. One who did was the British engineer Alfred Robert Sennett, whose book "Carriages Without Horses Shall Go" was one of the first books on automobiles. 

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Victorian Women & STEM Education: A Prize Book Awarded by the Edinburgh Ladies' Educational Association

Tomorrow is Ada Lovelace Day, when we celebrate women in the sciences, so over the next few days I'll be highlighting recent acquisitions that show the long history of women's engagement with STEM subjects. The first is a copy of John Herschel's Outlines of Astronomy that's directly connected to the Victorian movement for women's higher education.

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Victorian Machines & Manufacturing: The Boy's Book of Industrial Information

New in the shop is The Boy's Book of Industrial Information, a delightful illustrated children's book on Victorian technology.
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Doodling in Your Math Book: An 18th-Century Arithmetic Manuscript

One of our recent acquisitions is a delightful 18th-century math workbook that shows how little things have changed as far as doodling during your lessons goes.

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A Brand New Book Fair: INK London

We're very pleased to announce that we will be exhibiting at London's newest book fair, INK London, this October!
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