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1734 Allexandre - Traité général des horloges

rstl99

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Oct 31, 2015
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I was fortunate to acquire recently (thanks to abebooks) a fine copy of Traité général des horloges (general treatise of clocks) by Dominican priest Jacques Allexandre, printed in Paris in 1734.

The book has been digitized online, and was reprinted in facsimile a few decades ago, but it's nice to have the original book in my hands, flip through its pages and foldout diagrams.

It's a fine book and is historically important. He described sun dials, water clocks, and toothed wheel clocks and watches. Perhaps its most notable and important feature is a 105 page bibliography, annotated and featuring lengthy excerpts and observations on some of the more important books listed. Baillie called it "an admirable bibliography" and I agree with him.

What makes the book even more valuable to me, is that it came from the library of (particle) physicist and Nobel Prize winner Murray Gell-Mann, who passed away last year at 89. The book was sold by a used bookstore in Santa Fe, where Gell-Mann lived the last years of his life. By all accounts, he was a true polymath, interested in all kinds of disciplines and subjects (including antique horology).

--Robert

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