Paris: Durand, 1756. 2nd Edition. Two volume set of the 1756 FRENCH TRANSLATION OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN’S SEMINAL 1751 “Experiments and Observations on Electricity made at Philadelphia in America,” “the most important scientific book of eighteenth-century America" (Printing in the Mind of Man 199). This 1756 translation, the second, is “a revised and enlarged edition” of the first French translation, that having appeared in 1752 (Cohen, Benjamin Franklin, 139). French was the first language into which Franklin’s work, one of the most notable books on science of that age or of any other, was translated. Because of this, Franklin’s fame was well and deeply established by the time, twenty-five years later, he would be welcomed as ambassador of the newfangled world across the ocean.
In this set, Franklin details his experiments and theories. He famously “flew a kite in a thunderstorm and attached a key to its string. From this he collected electric charges in a Leiden jar and showed that atmospheric and frictional or machine-made electricity are the same” (Dibner, Heralds of Science, 57). In addition to directly presenting, as said, his “experiments and observations,” much of the set is comprised of a renowned and an extensive series of letters to Peter Collinson of the Royal Society of London. It is in these letters that Franklin best detailed his research and its results. Item #1546
CONDITION & DETAILS: Two volume set. Complete. Two folding plates. 12mo. , 28, xc, , 245, , (folding plate) + , 349,  pp., (folding plate). Solidly bound in contemporary French mottled calf, lightly scuffed and rubbed at the edges; small chip missing at the foot of Volume 1 (see photo). The spine is gilt tooled, the leather labels gilt-lettered. Red edges, marbled endpapers. Both volumes are very clean internally. A nice set. Provenance. While the light stamp on each title page initially appears institutional, it is not. It reads: “F.R. C.C. Hansen, Professor Dr. Med, Kjobehhavn [Copenhagen].” It is the “ownership stamp” of C.C. Hansen, father of Georg Emil Hansen, “one of Denmark’s pioneering photographers in the second half of the 19th century” (Wikipedia). George Emil studied photography, but learned the art of daguerreotypes from his father (ibid).