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The Edinburgh Encyclopaedia. Vol. 1-18

by Brewster, D.

  • Hardback £3,600.00
  • Used Book Availability : In stock
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  • Catalogue No : 31955
  • Published : 1830
  • Cover : Hardback
  • Publisher : William Blackwood
  • Published In : Edinburgh
  • Illustrations : 11 maps (2 double-page), 536 (of 539) plates


'Conducted by David Brewster ... with the assistance of Gentlemen eminent in Science and Literature, in Eighteen Volumes'. 'Third edition' to head of page 1. The plates have been bound together in two final volumes.

Edited by the scientist Sir David Brewster (1781-1868) and first published 1808-1830 by William Blackwood. The work was originally intended to be published in 12 volumes, however the preface states as 'The early numbers of it went through various editions' it was decided to extend the work to eighteen volumes'. Taking 20 years to complete and with over than one hundred and fifty contributors this was a major bibliographic undertaking. Brewster blamed some of the delay in publication on 'the indolence, the ill health, and the deaths of Contributors'.

Arranged alphabetically and wide ranging in subject the work is illustrated with over 500 copperplates. The Encyclopaedia is notable for its many scientific articles by leading authors of the day. Brewster wrote many of the articles himself, other notable contributors include: Charles Babbage (1791-1871) on Notation and Porism; Thomas Carlyle (1795-1881) on Nelson, Mungo Park and William Pitt; Robert Grant (1793-1874) on Zoophytes and Zoophytology; William Leach (1791-1836) contributed an article on Entomology which included the first bibliography on the topic; Robert Stevenson (1772-1850) on the Bell Rock Light House, Edystone Rock, Light Houses, Railway and Roads; Thomas Telford (1757 – 1834) on Architecture, Bridge, Civil Architecture and Inland Navigation; James Watt (1736-1819) on the Steam Drying Machine.


18 vols (bound in 20: 18 text volumes and 2 plate volumes). There are 536 engraved plates of the 539 called for in the plate lists: Vol. 1: 1-267 (including 2 bis plates, 3 folding or double-page); Vol. 2: 268-532 (including 5 bis plates, 4 folding or double-page, one with overlay; 5 of the plates include 2 numbered plates on a single leaf). Apparantly lacking are plates 417, 490 & 518. 4to, uniform cont. half calf, raised bands, gt. dec. to bands, black leather title-pieces, marbled boards (rubbed/scuffed). Occasional light foxing and offsetting; blank corner torn from one plate. From an institutional library, with small ink stamps to title-pages only. Vg set.

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