Parkinson, James

The Chemical Pocket-Book or Memoranda Chemica

  • Second edition of this chemical handbook designed in part for students and amateur chemists. A fresh and wide-margined copy.

    The text provides an introduction to chemistry and its tools and vocabulary, and describes the appearance, uses, chemical affinities and reactions of a large number of substances including minerals, salts, elements, and substances produced by plants and animals. The elegantly engraved frontispiece depicts "The Economical Laboratory of Guyton", which features an alembic suspended over an oil burner, and also includes a chart of chemical symbols. Published at a time when chemistry was still in the process of becoming a modern and professionalised science, this volume provides an excellent overview of the basic chemical knowledge of the period.

    The author, surgeon James Parkinson (1755-1824), is best remembered for having identified the "Shaking Palsy" as a specific degenerative disease of the nervous system. He also studied fossils and geology, arguing in Organic Remains of a Former World (published in three volumes between 1804 and 1811) that fossils were the remains of living things that had been destroyed and then deposited in new locations by the flood, as well as that the Earth was in a constant state of transformation. Of particular interest in this edition of the Chemical Pocket-Book is the ad at the rear in which Parkinson, "being engaged in researches respecting Extraneous Fossils", asks that members of the public contact him with information about any fossils they may have found. "Instructive specimens are frequently lost, from their nature not being sufficiently known by those who first discover them. Devonshire, Derbyshire, Wiltshire, and indeed many parts of England, afford the fossilised remains of animals and vegetables; for these he will return his grateful acknowledgments, and every proper compensation".

  • ...Arranged with Tables of Attractions, &c. Calculated as well for the occasional reference of the professional student with a general knowledge of chemistry. Second Edition, with the latest discoveries. London: C. Whittingham, 1801. Octavo (168 x 105 mm). Bound to style in a 20th-century approximation of contemporary boards, new endpapers. Single leaf of ads at rear. Boards a little rubbed and dulled, spine toned, some spotting to the frontispiece but overall contents clean, fresh, and wide-margined. A very good copy.




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