Essais politiques, economiques et philosophiques. Traduits de l’Anglais par L[e] M[arquis] D[e] C[ourtivron]. Benjamin Thompson Rumford, Count.

Essais politiques, economiques et philosophiques. Traduits de l’Anglais par L[e] M[arquis] D[e] C[ourtivron].

Geneve: G.J. Manget, An VII [1799]. First edition in French, containing Rumford’s first nine essays, which record his experiences in the field of public welfare and the amelioration of the condition of the poor. The first volume discusses his philanthropic work, including the propagation of the potato, the making of dough (tagliatelle), the suppression of begging, and the organization of “houses of industry” for the poor. Volume II is concerned principally with his scientific work and his researches on the calorimeter. These volumes were originally published in English in 1796 and 1797. A third volume appeared in 1802. The French translation eventually extended to six volumes, though it may have incorporated other Rumford works, as well. In North America, only Harvard has all six volumes. Eight engraved folding plates. Engraved portrait of Rumford pasted in before preface of Volume I, with the ink annotation, “né en 1792.”. Heads of both title-pages with small portions removed, expert unobtrusive repairs. Minor dustsoiling, and occasional light foxing. A very good, clean copy, remarkable in its original condition. Original blue wrappers, uncut. Contemporary manuscript labels on spines. Two volumes, octavo. 461, [1]; xii, 525 pp. Item #14472

The translator is Tanneguy de Courtivron, according to Bibliothèque Nationale cataloguing. Though Count Rumford (1753-1814) is best known for his achievements in technology and social reform during his career as administrator for the elector of Bavaria, his name will forever be associated with soup! Faced with the problem of feeding his labor force, (He swept Munich clear of beggars and set them to work in military houses and fed the Bavarian army.), he studied the science of nutrition. He experimented with many cheap foodstuffs for feeding the poor, introduced the potato into Central Europe, and advocated soup as a staple diet. To increase the efficiency of cooking services, he invented the concept of enclosing fire in an insulated box, designed what is now known as the kitchen range. His inventions and improvements quickly spread throughout Europe as governments attempted to reduce poverty and mendicancy. Many major cities set up Rumford soup kitchens.

Price: $1,500.00

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