1699 FIRST EDITION OF GUILLAUME AMONTONS’S TWO PAPERS ESTABLISHING THE CONCEPT OF FRICTION AS WELL AS THE LAW OF PROPORTIONALITY, the idea that frictional force is proportional to normal forces. Submitted to the Academy on 20 June and 19 December of the same year, respectively, the titles translate as “Method of substituting the force of fire for horse and man power to move machines” and “On the resistance caused in machines, by the friction of their component parts as well as by stiffness of the cords used there, and the way to calculate the one and the other”. Amontons's work is the first to explain the concept of friction and to explain the observed but heretofore not understood frictional loss of energy in machines.
Amontons articulates two original laws in these papers: (1) The force of friction is directly proportional to the applied load, known as Amontons’s First Law; (2) The force of friction is independent of the apparent area of contact, known as Amontons’s Second Law.
“The second law, that friction is independent of the size of the bodies, was viewed by the French Royal Academy of Sciences with astonishment and skepticism. They instructed their senior academician De la Hire to repeat Amontons’s experiments and check their validity. This he did and confirmed Amontons’s conclusions [and[ the laws remain today” (Munden). The laws were again verified in 1781 by Charles Augustin de Coulomb. Work by Bowden and Tabor in 1954 greatly explained the laws and added further creedence. Item #608
CONDITION & DETAILS: In: Histoire de L’Academie Royale des Sciences. Année MDCXCIX (1699). Amsterdam: Chez Gerard Kuyper MDCCVI (1706). Ex-libris bearing only a small paper bookplate on the front pastedown reading Bibliothèque des Élèves; no other markings inside or out. 16 engraved copperplates (including frontispiece); many in-text illustrations; 4to (10 x 8 inches; 250 x 200mm). Bound in full calf. 5 raised bands at the spine; gilt-lettered, red morocco spine label. Minor scuffing and rubbing at the edges. Tightly and very solidly bound. Clean and bright throughout. Near fine condition.