Hard Cover. Paris: Durand, 1752. First Edition. Near Fine.
Translated by Thomas-François Dalibard. First French edition. Contemporary red morocco, titles and floral design in gilt to spine, boards triple ruled in gilt, all edges gilt, red marbled endpapers. Very good with spotting to boards, some toning to spine, shallow nick to head of spine at front hinge and some wear along outer spine hinges, minor glue repair to outer hinge at foot of spine, faded former owner inscription to verso of front endpaper. Overall, an attractive and well-preserved copy. Expériences et Observations sur l'Électricité is the French edition of Benjamin Franklin's seminal collection of letters and essays regarding electricity. The letters were written by Franklin to Peter Collinson, a prominent member of the scientific community in eighteenth century London and a Fellow of the Royal Society. The work is widely considered to be America's most significant scientific book of the eighteenth century and earned Franklin the prestigious Copley Medal. Five English editions of the book were released between 1751 and 1764. The first of these was released in pamphlet form, and in three distinct parts (1751, 1753, and 1754). This French edition was published in 1752 and is a translation of part I of the first English edition. The book was translated by the French physicist Thomas-François Dalibard, who also contributed a forward and a brief history of studies in electricity. While translating the work, Dalibard was particularly intrigued by Franklin's proposed experiment involving an iron rod attracting lightning bolts. Dalibard successfully carried out the experiment in May of 1752, a month before Franklin performed the same experiment with his legendary kite and key. Due to the success of this book, Franklin was elected to the French Academy of Science in 1772.