Alembic Blog

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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Our First Book Fair

This summer we're excited to be exhibiting at our first rare book show, the Bloomsbury Bookfair on Sunday, July 10
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Two Georgian Era Magnifying Lenses

New in the shop today are two pretty, Georgian Era magnifying lenses, a jeweller's loupe in lignum vitae and an entomologist's lens in tortoiseshell.

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"Surely You're Joking Mr. Feynman!" The Birth of a Classic.

New in stock this week is a superb first edition of one of the most popular scientific memoirs of the 20th century, Surely You're Joking Mr. Feynman!. It was this volume of humorous short stories, depicting Feynman as an outsider and prankster, that cemented his popularity. But it's a book that almost wasn't written, and the story of its publication is as fascinating as the ones within its covers.

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One Hundred Photographs from Life: R. B. Lodge & Early Wildlife Photography

Just in time for spring, we've listed these two charming books of early wildlife photography, one by the pioneering bird photographer R. B. Lodge, who took the first photo of a wild bird, a lapwing on its nest, in 1895.

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Los Alamos to Princeton: Top Secret Manhattan Project Lectures

This book is rather unassuming - it bears the ownership signature of a Princeton student and looks like it could be any mid-century educational text in an inexpensive brown binder. But in fact, this is a rare and highly classified set of lectures printed for high-level employees of Los Alamos during the Manhattan Project. How it came to be in the possession of a Princeton student a year before its contents were declassified is a fascinating story.

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What's an Alembic? Alchemy, the History of Science, & Our Logo

One of the most exciting parts of starting a business is choosing your name, and as a science specialist I wanted one that would be evocative of the history of science, as well as broader concepts of discovery and knowledge. For a long time I’ve been interested in alchemy and its evolving place in the history of science, so an alchemical symbol seemed apt. And what better than the apparatus at the centre of so much alchemical, medical, and scientific work - the alembic?

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Original Photos of the Pacific Theatre during the Second World War, including Nagasaki

Our most recent acquisition is an evocative collection of photographs documenting life in the Pacific fleet at the end of the Second World War, including the ruins of Nagasaki less than two months after the detonation of the atomic bomb.

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February 16, 2016

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Fly Like a Bird: Carl Friederich Meerwein's Die Kunst zu Fliegen nach Art der Vögel

Our most recent acquisition is Die Kunst zu Fliegen nach Art der Vögel, a wonderful early book on mechanical flight by Carl Friederich Meerwein (1737-1810), architect and engineer to the Prince of Baden and an early aeronautical theorist and experimenter.

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How to Start Collecting Rare Books

As a rare book seller I regularly meet people who love old books but aren't sure that book collecting is the right hobby for them. Popular culture creates the idea that it's for older, wealthy men who attend glitzy auctions and have beautiful libraries. But in reality, book collecting is a very accessible hobby, and you don’t need to become an overnight expert or spend vast sums to build a meaningful library. To get you started, this article provides guidance for those new to rare books, with links and suggestions for additional resources.

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