JF Ptak Science Books
This is the bible of the Reeves Instrument Company's great REAC--the Reeves Electronic Analog Computer. It is a handbook of maintenance instructions and operations, published in 1951, and is chock-a-block with what seems to be any techspecs and data that you'd need to operate the machine. It is two inches thick and has multiple fold-out schematics.
The following appeared in The American Mathematical Monthly, vol 60, #4, "The NOTS REAC", pp 237-243.
Rare. Not foulnd in WorldCat/OCLC. $1250
That is the non-question1 that can be easily answered by anyone in the U.K.(and Belgium, and France, and the Netherlands) from 1940-1945. That question was asked by Wernher von Braun of himself, semi-third person, wondering aloud to his interviewer about what he saw was the unintentional use of his A-4 rocket--renamed the V-2, or Vergeltungswaffe 2, Retaliation weapon 2, or Vengeance Weapon 2--in the rocket attack upon Britain (and to a lesser extent Belgium and then to a lesser extent as well on France and the Netherlands). He writes that the A-4 was intended for interplanetary flight--and at some distant point that was true, but not so much in the early 1940's, when the intention regarding the use of the rocket mattered most. Perhaps von Braun was hanging on to a distant memory, back to the early days when he dreamed along with Hermann Oberth and others about leaving the Earth.
"The A-4's subsequent career is no mystery" says von Braun, without irony and in high reportage.
Indeed not. The V-2 was huge compared to its older and slower brother, the V-1--it was 45' tall and weighed 28,000 pounds, delivering a 2,000lb Amatol warhead. The odiously-sound-of-death V-1 came in slowly, slow enough to be outrun by a Spitfire--the V-2 came in with a different awful sound, the crack and boom of the sound barrier as it braced for a Mach 2+ impact (which would cause the detonation of the weapon). 6,000 of these weapons were made (beginning in September 1943) and more than 5,000 were launched.
These weapons killed some 9,000 Earthlings, so the weapons didn't really get very close to another planet. Nor, really, was it ever intended to during the war. Von Braun et al used it very effectively as a bargaining too with Hitler to gain more money for the program--not for interplanetary exploration, but to kill as many people as possible. I don't know what von Braun was complaining about here in this brief semi-memoir about his A-4 becoming the V-2--it certainly could have come as a surprise.
And that 9,000 killed figure is misleading--it is actually more like 21,000. That figure would include the 12,000 human slaves from the Mittelbau-Dora concentration camp who were killed or worked to death while building the rockets. So in a weird and horrible twist of sick ironies, the weapon actually consumed more lives than it caused in its use for death. How von Braun didn't know about the thousands of slave laborers at work on his non-Moon rocket is simply impossible to comprehend.
Von Braun was single-minded and determined--lives consumed and lost, plus an enormous amount of money (his project costing more than the Manhattan Project) and energy. The return on this particular investment was exceptionally poor in the long run--close to the point of the whole affair being created by the Allies to crush the Nazi economy.
1. The question is part of a sub-head in the von Braun interview that appeared in the Journal of the British Interplanetary Society, volume 15, no. 3, May-June 1956, pp 125-145, "Reminiscences of German Rocketry".
This is the horrible sound of the V-1:
Hage, George H. Apollo 11 Mission Director's Briefing for News Media, June 16, 1969, Washington D.C.
Washington DC: NASA, 1969. 77pp, 11x8 inches. This is a mimeographed, stapled report of Mission Director's George Hage's 16 July 1969 press conference on the upcoming lunar flight (landing Armstrong and Aldrin on the Moon 20 July with Collins in orbit). SOLD
JF Ptak Science Books
"A Real Telegraph", in Nature, 6 February 1879. Offered in the original printed wrappers with the scarce advertisement wrappers. This is a quick report on the invention, occupying one scant paragraph of text but accompanied by a full-page illustration of a sample of the telegraphic writing. $95
For some reason this short article--found in Nature for 6 February 1879--was titled "A Real Telegraph". "Real" telegraphs were in existence for quite some time, more than 30 years at this point. What the author meant in this case was that rather than have a key operator tap out the message in Morse Code, the sender would be writing out the message in long hand, and the receiver would gather up the message so that it appeared in recognizable letters and words rather than dots and dashes. The inventor's name was E.A. Cowper, and he brought to the telegraphic art something as "startlingly" as the "marvels" of the telephone, which had been invented just three years earlier.
The author describes the appearance of the script on the receiving end seeming as though to have been guide by a "spirit hand", such as the highly unexpected result even to the trained scientific reporter.
A somewhat longer article appeared in the New York Times a few weeks later, the full text of which is here.
According to William Maver jr. American telegraphy and encyclopedia of the telegraph: systems, apparatus ... By William Maver (jr.) this was the first successful attempt at producing susch a machine.
Journal of the British Interplanetary Society, March, 1951. Individual issue in the original wrappers. Nice copy. Includes the von Braun article (described following) and GVE Thompson "The Lunar Base". Issue contains 46-pages. Very good copy. $85
I was prepared to just list this for sale in the books for sale section of this blog and be done with it--until I semi-realized that this famous (or at least significant) report is not to be found available online. Von Braun is far from being of interest to me--I don't need to know his part of the space program from 1946-1977, though I am interested in his what he was doing from 1936-1945 when he was trying to kill London.
Again, I'm no expert on this man, but reading between the lines of his politically whitewashed account of German/Nazi flying bomb program makes me wonder about his enforced/codified forgetfulness and suggestive memory.
The paper in hand is his "Survey of Development of Liquid Rockets in Germany and their Future Prospects", a six-page effort that appeared in the Journal of the British Interplanetary Society on March, 1951. It is a reprint of a reprint of a report that he wrote for his Anglo-American interrogators in the summer of 1945, when he and the Allies were scurrying around and trying to figure out what to make of the post-war world with all of this valuable German technology-ops.
In any event, von Braun wrote out this history and prognositcation (as there is a big chunk of the paper devoted to future space travel and such) for them in 1945 which then found itself in print by at least 1946. There are many glosses. For example, his use of the A.-prefix determiantion throughout the course of the document to refer to the V-weapons though it is noted in the first sentence of the report (and no doubt by an editor), that the A.4 "is known to the public as the V.2". (Perhaps that has the scent of freshness to it, to rid the report of a small part of its scrubiness...or not.)
He writes occasionally in the third person, and also makes the case that the development of the rocket complex at Penenemunde was for research in high-flight/super-fast travel, when the place had always been intended for military applications. He does mention that the A.4 had severe problems with the guidance system, but that was acceptible since they were given large-target areas to bomb--such as "London".
It is an itneresting read for what it says about the future of vast fast travel, as well as for what it does not say about defeat and responsibility and the use of slave labor and bombing large civilian areas.
JF Ptak Science Books
A collection of seven early papers on the telephone, 1876/1878.
Munro, J. "On the Telephone, an Instrument for Transmitting Musical Notes by Means of Electricity".London, Nature: May 11, 1876. Pp 30-32, with 3 woodcut diagrams in the text. Offered with the original printed wrappers, removed from a larger volume. Addressed the Elisha Gray machine. (Lockyer, J. Norman) "Telephones and Other Applications of Electricity". London, Nature, August 24, 1876. Pp 353-355 of the weekly issue. Offered in the original printed wrappers, removed from a larger bound volume. Nice codition. Lockyer, the editor of Nature, forsees the possibilty (as with the earlier work by Munro, above) of having a dance party and being entertained remotely by a paid musciain, somewhere, the music transmitted via telephone. He steps firmly into 2013 when he slyly laments that the children of 1876 may better understand the apparatus than the adults, ending his review saying "Perhaps our children may find the thing simple enough".
(Lockyer, J. Norman) "Telephones and Other Applications of Electricity". London, Nature, August 24, 1876. Pp 353-355 of the weekly issue. Offered in the original printed wrappers, removed from a larger bound volume. Nice codition.
Lockyer, the editor of Nature, forsees the possibilty (as with the earlier work by Munro, above) of having a dance party and being entertained remotely by a paid musciain, somewhere, the music transmitted via telephone. He steps firmly into 2013 when he slyly laments that the children of 1876 may better understand the apparatus than the adults, ending his review saying "Perhaps our children may find the thing simple enough".
Bell, Alexander Graham. "The Telephone". London: Nature, November 15, 1877 8vo. Original printed wrappers. Very good condition.
This is an early appearance of the Bell telephone in Nature magazine, occupying pp
48-49 (in the issue of pp 41-56), in three densely packed columns of about 1500
words. This issue is removed from a larger, bound collection, but includes its
original printed wrappers front cover and ads. The article describes Bell's
October 31 1877 lecture before the British Society of Telegraph Engineers.
Page, F.J.M.. "Demonstrations of Currents Originated by the Voice in Bell's Telephone".
1st edition. Nature, Feb 7, 1878, vol 17 #432 8vo. Original printed wrappers. Very good
condition. Page's article occupies pp 283-4 of this issue of 277-296pp. Also
included in a three page continuation of J. Clerk Maxwell's review of a work (by
his frined) P.G. Tait. Offered with the original front wrapper and 5pp ads;
removed from larger bound collection.
Romanis, James M.. "New Form of Telphone". 1st edition. Nature, Jan 10, 1878, vol 17 #428 8vo. Original
printed wrappers. Very good condition. Two-column (and illustrated) article
(pp. 200-201) in this weekly issue of pp 197-216. Includes article on Jules
Verne plus contributions by George Romanes and William Crookes. Offered with the
original front wrapper and 5pp ads; removed from larger bound collection.
JF Ptak Science Books
Edison's name was not a popular item in the average American home before his invention of the phonograph. It was actually some months later, after the initial announcement in 1877, that Edison became justifiably famous. It is difficult today to place the amazement and astonishment that greeted the invention--there was nothing like it, before, ever--except for writing, of course, and then the recording telegraph. It was a sensational piece of power, being able to record and save sound--and then play it back again. It was the first time in human history that the auditory sense world could be audibly preserved.
This is a two-page report on Edison's visit to the offices of Nature and his very successful demonstration of his new phonograph machine (the patent for which is applied for December 27, 1877). The editors record their favorable impressions of the machine and describe it in some detail--there is even a small woodcut illustration of the device. In all the article occupies pages 190-191 of the weekly issue. It is removed from a larger bound voliume but does come with the uncommon front wrapper and rear ads. Uncommon.
Alfred Marshall Mayer (1836-1897) was an American physicst and astronomer who at the time of publication was professor of physics at Stevens Institute of Technology (New Jersey), and concentrated during this part of the decade was on acoustics, and so was well-qualified to comment on the Edison invention. Mayer's article stated that "Mr. Thomas A. Edison has recently invented an instrument which is undoubtedly the acoustic marvel of the century" and proceeded to discuss the composition of the machine. Occupies pages 469-471 with three drawings in text--quite a long contribution by Nature standards. This seems to be the second earliest statement on the phonograph in Nature preceded only by Edison's paper four months earlier--which seems to me to be a long period of silence on such an important invention. Offered with the original front wrapper and five pages of ads; removed from larger bound collection.
JF Ptak Science Books
Manuscript lectures delivered by B. Howard Rand (1827-1883) at the Franklin Institute, 1851-1853. During this time Rand [B(enjamin) Howard Rand, 1 Oct 1827 (Philadelphia) -14 Feb 1883] was a professor of chemistry at the Franklin Institute (1850-1853).
Rand evidently achieved some stature as he was the first subject chosen by Thomas Eakins for what would be his famous series of porrtraits of Philadelphia physicians1.(In April 2007, the portrait of Rand was purchased by Alice L. Walton for an estimated US$20 million to be housed at the Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art2.
"Rand was a popular teacher because he emphasized the applied rather than the theoretic applications of chemistry in the practice of medicine. He also had a lasting influence on the medical students because of his lectures on the social and professional responsibilities that the students would assume when they became physicians."--Stefan Schatzkil, "Portrait of Benjamin Howard Rand", Journal of Roentgenology, July 2010, volume 195/2.
10x8.5 inches, approximately 245 pages, running approximately 45,000 words. Includes lectures on "Improved Heating and Ventilation" (48 pages), "Geology" (44 pages); "On the Action of Running Water", (15 pages); "Warming", 40 pages); "Ventilation" (48 pages); "Physical Manual", (50 pages). All are bound together, written on different stock, written seemingly by slightly varying hands from time to time, and brought together in a leather-backed paper covered board volume. The pages are roughly cut, and the handwriting fast and untidy. The leather binding with marbled boards are quite worn, with the covers detached, though the rest of the book is intact and pretty sturdy. The text problems are limited to the first written page, which is missing the bottom of the page, roughly torn.
Provenance: given by Dr. W.H. Greene to the Franlkin Institute Library (Philadelphia), 1895, where it stayed until 1986 when the library was generally disbanded. Dr. W.H. Greene was the translator of Elements of Modern Chemistry, Philadelphia, 1880; referenced in Henry Carrington Bolton's A Select Bibliography of Chemistry, 1492-18923.
Rand's previous appointments:
It is an interesting collection of thinking on different subjects, and a peep into the life of the Franklin Institute and scientific dialog in Philadelphia in the mid-19th century.
1. "The career of Thomas C. Eakins (1844–1916) has been explored in earlier articles in this series. There are several possible explanations why Eakins chose Rand for the first of the many portraits of Philadelphia physicians that he would complete during the following 30 years. The two probably became first acquainted while Eakins was a student at Philadelphia's Central High School, where Rand, also an alumnus of Central High, taught from 1859 to 1864, together with other responsibilities noted previously. Rand and Eakins shared a mutual interest and participation in the sport of rowing, the subject of some of Eakins' early and most renowned paintings. Rand was, for a time, president of the Philadelphia Undine Barge Club, where Eakins may have been a member. However, most interestingly, both men's fathers were well-known writing masters in Philadelphia."--Stefan Schatzkil, "Portrait of Benjamin Howard Rand", Journal of Roentgenology, July 2010, volume 195/2.
2. "Eakins' portrait of Rand is significant as the first in his series of portraits of physicians and scientists. Eakins portrayed the popular Dr. Benjamin H. Rand—a Jefferson Medical College professor with whom Eakins studied anatomy—lost in concentration at his desk, which is shown cluttered both with objects of science and academia and those of domestic life. Surrounded by the accoutrements of every aspect of life, Rand is poised between the world of intellectual endeavor and the comforts of home. The portrait was a great success for Eakins, earning a place at the Philadelphia Centennial's (1876) international art exhibition, where it won critical acclaim as one of the best paintings in the exhibition."--Art Daily
JF Ptak Science Books ref Post 1845
The Scientific American, 1876. We offer the entire volume, sumptuously illsutrated with all manner of technical objects, in two parts (bound in one volume), 414+414pp each. Very fresh copy, bound in black l;ibrary cloth. Very good copy. $950
Besides it being the Centennial year, 1876 saw a number of major games in the history of human thinking. Sometimes the announcements or earliest public appearances of these breakthroughs didn't get all that much attention. As one of the major means of transferring technical and applied science info to teh general public, it is interesting to see how Scientific American reacted to such innovations. For the thick, heavy volume for 1876, amid
patent announcements and articles on telegraphic fire alarms, electro-harmonic multiplex telegraphs, recording telegraphs, electro-magnetic telegraph railroad car signals, signal box telegraphs, underground telegraphs, telegraph keys and armature, acoustic telegraphs and the l;ike (though there weren't that many reported, not really, just on the order of dozens), we find one of the most important of them all, patent # 174,465, by Alexander Graham Bell, appearing 8 April 1876. It would be a rude resumption of being here in the future of this event to call the coverage short-sighted
In an earlier article in the 4 March 1876 issue of SA, there appeared "The Invention of the Telephone", by P.H. Vander Weyde, in which there is yet any mention of Mr. Bell. There is an illustration of one of his precursors in the field, the Reuss telephone, with ample description. (This was actually Philipp Reiss, and his telephone really wouldn't work to transmit the human voice, though did so work for music to some degree.) Bell's patent would be at the Patent Office in March, and would appear as a one-line notice (among a hundred others), the patent stating it was "the method of, and apparatus for, transmitting vocal or other sounds telegraphically ... by causing electrical undulations, similar in form to the vibrations of the air accompanying the said vocal or other sound". (The first image above is a detail; the second image a longer version, which is really only less than half of what the real-life version looks like in the tall listing.)
Weeks later, Elisha Gray's (on 13 May) telegraphic telephone patent (175071) appears in the Scientific American, and later, on 9 September, on page 163, there is the article "The Human Voice Transmitted by Telegraph", on the successful transmission by Graham Bell.
Admittedly there were a number of developments in the production of the speaking telephone at this time, though in general there seems to have been no great attention paid them in the pages of the Scientific American than pipe cutting machine improvements or improved gravel separators. Obviously the great impact of the invention was yet to be appreciated, even in any sort of fictional way.
The original volume of these reports is available for purchase via our blog bookstore, here.