London, England: John Okes, for Jasper Emory, 1639. First Edition. Pamphlet. LACKS TITLE. Quarto. (6 3/4" x 5 1/2"). Disbound with leather remnants of spine. Woodcut initials and decorations. Our copy missing first unsigned signature : 4to: B-I , K² [$3 signed]; 34 leaves, pp.  1-60 (Ideal copy: 4to: [A]², B-I , K² [$3 signed]; 36 leaves, pp.  1-60). ESTC Citation S100866. STC Citation 20000. Light browning to pages and trimming. One or two words underlined, and several corresponding manuscript marginalia - very scholarly citations, arguably, in 17th century hand. Some ancillary alternate hand numbering of higher (page?) numbers to top right corners, perhaps cross referencing information on the few hand-marked pages to another work. Doodles and ciphers in several hands to verso of last blank, but the dominant mark is a large elegant signature and note: "Jane Reynolds, her Hand & Pen; and possiblly, She is Rilly ('Really'?) Good." Included are chapters on the creation of mountains and minerals; how to find them; melting and refining of metals; Tinns & Lead; Iron; Copper; Silver; Gold; The Art of Creating Gold; Inferiour Metals; Finding Pit-Coales; Determining what plants will yield which colours. “Contains some interesting notices of the gold and silver mines in Peru, New England, Virginia, the Bermudas, and other parts of America. The author gives a receipt by which he claims to have produced pure gold, but at a cost greater than its value.” (Sabin 63360); USTC 3020588. Good. Item #84606
Rare first edition of what has been called the first book on metallurgy in English. Gabriel Plattes (1600-1644) wrote several works, one on matters of agriculture and husbandry ("Treatise of Husbandry", 1638) and this one on minerals and mining, which went through several successive editions. It is said that he "possessed a knowledge of contemporary agricultural and mining practices [and] is possible that he had been employed with his friend William Englebert, a military and drainage engineer" (ODNB), to whom Platte's first two books are dedicated. In distinguishing this book from a previous work, Platt writes (B3): "...wishing all those that desire to be skilfull in these affairs; to take a little paines to read that Booke, which differeth from this no other wayes, but as the Art of Surgery differeth from the Art of Physicke: for as surgeons deale chiefly with the externall parts of mans body, yet stand in need of the knowledge of all the parts, and as Physitians chiefly deale with the internall parts, yet cannot be without the knowledge of the externall parts: So though that Bookie treate wholly upon the discovering of the Treasures hidden in the Superficies and exurball parts of the Terrestrial Globe, yet the knowledge of many things therein contained are very conducible to make a skilfull Mineralist..." Platte's work was largely ignored during his lifetime, but gained in stature, alas, after he had literally collapsed and died of starvation on the streets of London. His papers found their way into the hands of Samuel Hartlib who published one particular work, of fantasy, "Description of the Famous Kingdom of Macaria" under his own name. It was later discovered that the work was by Platte, and was rightfully attributed.
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