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Book Details

[WHITE (John)]. Arts treasury: or, a profitable and pleasing invitation to the lovers of ingenuity. Contained in many extraordinary experiments, rarities, and curious inventions. In two parts. Part I. Containing the mystery of dying-cloths, silks stuffs, hair, feather, bone, horn, ivory, leather, &c. The manner of preparing colours... The art of drawing, limning, painting... Washing or colouring maps, or printed pictures, with sundry other things, &c. Part II. Containing the quality, generation and product of metals and minerals, natural and artificial; directions to harden or soften them for use... The mystery of beautifying writing with gold or silver... Weighing ships, extinguishing fire, blowing up houses or vessels under water, &c.1688

London: Printed for W. Whitwood; and Mrs. Feltham, First Edition, 12mo, (xii), 154 pp. including the initial license leaf, with the contemporary bookplate of John Trotter, Edinburgh Lawyer, clean tear in A4 (no loss), generally a little browned, contemporary sheep, a little worn, lower joint slightly tender. The first of at least nine editions of this popular little book of secrets. The last dozen pages comprise "A miscellany of rare and curious secrets not yet toucht upon," and "Another miscellany of rare and curious experiments, useful and profitable, and altogether pleasant." These include such tricks and illusions as "To cause water to ascend," "To carry a jug... sticking without anything, unto the palm of the hand," "To break a stick upon the rim of two glasses, and not break the glasses," "How to make water boil and sparkle," "To make Letters that will soon vanish," how to achieve a strike-out at nine-pins, and the way to find out "any number under 10, being thought upon." This seventeenth-century first edition is rare, all later editions were published in the eighteenth-century. Wing locates copies at BL, Durham, NYPL, Free Library, Folger and Yale, to which the ESTC adds Illinois. Toole-Stott adds the copies owned by Dr. Grossman and Harold Adrian Smith (the latter now at Brown University). A very good copy, with Trotter's contemporary purchase note on the endpaper: "Cost twelve pence from Rot. Allane Bookseller & binder in Edro. [i.e. Edinburgh] 10. Octo. 96." Trotter has added page numbers to the title-page to form a sort of table of contents. John White went on to publish "Hocus Pocus: or, a Rich Cabinet of Legerdemain...", c. 1710. Wing W1788; Toole-Stott 694; Hall 296.

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