Prodromo ouero saggio di alcune inuentioni premesso all'arte maestra... Per mostrare li piu reconditi principij della naturale filosofia, etc.Brescia, per li Rizzardi,
LANA Francesco S.J (1670)
20 engraved plates with figures numbered I-LXX
Folio (314 x 204mm.) , 252pp. Contemporary mottled calf over pasteboard, spine wrongly titled (expert repair at edges).
First edition of this important book which contains, "the earliest concept of flight based on aerostatic priciples" (Dibner) and a superb plate illustrating Lana's design for an aerial ship.
Dibner continues, "Lana calculated that if the air were exhausted from a large sphere of thin copper, its weight would be less than the surrounding air and it would be buoyed up; four such spheres could raise a vessel which could be manoeuvered by sail. This fitted into the scientific thought of the period following the air pump". M. Hope Nicolson writes of Lana's little canoe 'although his ship never flew, it is no exaggeration to say that in the idea Lana had in mind lay the principle of the later balloon in which man was to conquer the air … whatever may be the importance of Lana's Prodromo in the history of science, Lana's influence upon literature is indisputable'.
Lana's work was translated by Robert Hooke in 1690 and was argued over by scientists such as Sturm and Leibnitz for over a century. Other chapters treat the author's method of weighing air, balloons, a newly invented thermometer, the hygrometer, telescope, microscope, timepieces and painting. Lana (1631-87), an Italian Jesuit and associate of Kircher, was professor of physics and mathematics at Brescia.
Provenance: possibly belonged to the mathematician John Collins (1625-83), fellow of the Royal Society from 1667; Macclesfield South Library 165.E.20.
First three leaves neatly restored at fore-edges, fly-leaves defective at fore-edges, otherwise a very clean, crisp copy.
Dibner Heralds of Science, 176. Wheeler Gift Cat. 166. Riccardi ii, 12; Norman 1272. M. Hope Nicholson Voyages to the Moon, 1960, p 168
Stock Code: 216424