Berlin: Druck und Verlag von G. Reimer. 1st Edition. Two volumes (1845 & 1847) FIRST EDITION OF HELMHOLTZ’S FIRST STATEMENT OF HIS ‘CONSERVATION OF FORCE,’ predating by two years his famous 1847 work "Uber die Erhaltung der Kraft" (Garber, The Language of Physics, 293). We offer just the 1847, published in 1850 paper separately. In the first paper offered here, an 1845 review paper on theories of physiological heat, Helmholtz notes that “‘if we substitute the motion theory of heat for the material theory of heat, we see heat as originating from mechanical force.’ From this it followed that chemical electrical, and mechanical force were equivalent, and [he] cited some of the experimental evidence he would use in his 1847 paper to demonstrate this” (Garber). Helmholtz would later note that these 1845 findings – his first statements on the subject – really belonged in his 1847 work.
The second paper offered here is Helmholtz's own summary of his famous 1847 paper.
“Throughout the 1840s Helmholtz educated himself in higher mathematics, initially to understand how to use mathematics in physiology… The closeness of his work in physiology and physics is illustrated in his work on conservation of force. The principle itself was actually stated in a review paper [this paper] on animal heat in 1845. After surveying work done by Davy and Lavoisier on the issue, he examined Leibig’s paper on the origins of animal heat” (Koenigsberger, Hermann von Helmholtz, 34). “The presupposition of vitalism, that there is an inexhaustible “vital force” that powers living bodies, had led some investigators to posit that there is an inexhaustible force, whether mechanical or not, that can power a machine indefinitely: a perpetual motion machine” (Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy).
“Stating that it was of interest to physics in general as much as physiology, Helmholtz asserted that the principle of the constancy of force-equivalence was already used as the foundation of mathematical theories. As examples he [here] cites Carnot’s and Clapyeron’s determination of the work contained in a given quantity of heat and Neumann’s theory of currents induced by moving magnets. Helmholtz took his principle of ‘conservation of force’ as empirically grounded and ‘theoretically stated and well known’.
“The material theory of heat was doomed” (Garber). Helmholtz “states without hesitation that the material theory of heat is no longer tenable, and that a kinetic theory must be substituted for it, since heat originates in mechanical forces, either directly by friction or indirectly from an electrical current produced by the motion of magnets. This conception of heat as a motion involves the conclusion that mechanical, electrical and chemical forces must always be the definite equivalent of one and the same energy, whatever the mode by which one force is transformed into another” (Koenigsberger). Item #644
CONDITION & DETAILS: In: Die Fortschritte der Physik im Jahre 1845 pp. 346–355, 1847) and Die Fortschritte der Physik im Jahre 1847 pp. 232–245, 1850). Berlin: Druck und Verlag von G. Reimer. 8vo. (8.75 x 5.5; 219 x 138mm). Two full, complete volumes. Bound in contemporary green cloth boards with paper, hand-lettered library sticker at the spine and prior owner’s name on the front free endpaper. Tightly and solidly bound. Minor age spotting to the preliminaries, otherwise clean.