Joslin Hall Rare Books

Curious, Unusual, Interesting & Occasionally Useful Books of the 16th-20th Centuries exploring the skills, trades, lives and ways of other times...

 Wednesday, December 13, 2017

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Charleton, Arthur G.
Tin: Describing the Chief Methods of Mining, Dressing & Smelting it Abroad. With Notes upon Arsenic, Bismuth and Wolfram.

London E. & F.N. Spon: 1884.

A scholarly study of European methods of mining, dressing and smelting tin, chiefly in Bohemia and Saxony. Charleton was a member of the American Institute of Mining Engineers. This copy bears the ownership signature of Manuel Antonio Gomes 'Himalaya' [1868-1933(?)]. "Father Himalaya" is considered to be the father of solar energy in Portugal, and a visionary pioneer in the field of renewable energy. After taking Holy Orders in the Society of Jesus he studied natural sciences, physics, chemistry, mathematics and astronomy, and traveled to France where he studied with the noted chemist Marcelin Berthelot. In 1899 he was granted a patent by the French government for a device to produce heat by focusing the sun's rays in 1900 he constructed a test device in the Pyrenees and attained a temperature of 1100 degrees centigrade. In 1902 an experiment in Lisbon attained 2000 degrees, and he made a final, startling demonstration of the power of such a device at the St. Louis Exposition in Missouri 1904. There he constructed his "Pireliofero", a 3-story high parabolic mirror mounted on a monstrous iron framework which focused sunlight on an oven mounted at the top of the structure. The oven reached a temperature of 3500 degrees, melting a test chunk of basalt, and Father Himalaya won a Grand Prize for his efforts. He promoted other forms of renewable energy as well, including tidal energy and hydroelectric power, wind power, and geothermal power. Alas, there was plenty of cheap coal and oil available, and his work was generally ignored and forgotten. Father Himalaya retired to become chaplain at Viana Castle, a charity home, where he died at the age of 65. His work has excited interest in Europe in recent years, and his ideas have only lately attained a measure of the respect which eluded them in his lifetime.

Hardcover. 6"x9", 83 pages with 2 b/w plates and several text illustrations, plus 17 folding plates of plans and elevations. Light wear, a little rubbing to the tips, etc., text a bit browned, endpaper slightly spotted, but a very nice copy ownership inscription "Rev. M.A.G. Himalaya, Braga, Portugal, 1907" on the title page.

Inventory #: 5444
Price: $ 200.00      

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