THE DESCRIPTION AND USE OF THE GLOBES AND THE ORRERY BY JOSEPH HARRIS 1740
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[HARRIS, Joseph, 1704-1764]. The Description and use of the Globes and the Orrery. To Which is Prefix’d, by way of Introduction, a Brief Account of the Solar system. London: printed for Thomas Wright and William Wyeth, mathematical instrument-makers, at the Orrery near Water-Lane; and E. Cushee, globe-maker, at the Globe and Sun between St. Dunstan’s Church and Chancery-Lane; both in Fleet-Street, M.DCC.XL. .
Fifth edition. Leather-bound. Hardcover. Octavo (200 x 120 x 20 mm). Pp. viii, 190. Signatures: A⁴ B-N⁸ (N8 blank). English text. Bound in contemporary full calf. Seven folding engraved astronomical plates including Thomas Wright's Great Orrery, all signed by R. Cushee. Charts and tables in the text. Printed side- and foot-notes. Head- and tail-pieces. Decorative woodcut initials. Rear index. Condition: VERY GOOD. Binding tight and secure, the spine sympathetically re-backed, new endpapers. All seven plates present, as called for. Just a touch of browning and spotting, but largely a clean well-preserved copy.
Notes: An expansion of Harris’s 1703 work, including a lengthy description of the orrery. This work proved to be a popular handbook on globes which ran into many editions. Harris begins with an introduction to the latest models of globes, celestial and terrestrial. He then demonstrates how to use the globes to solve problems, including finding latitudes and longitudes for any given place, finding the position of the sun at any given date, discovering on which date the sun will be directly overhead in any given spot in the torrid zone, computing the length of any given day of the year, finding the altitude of a star, and so on (Taylor, The Mathematical Practitioners). Joseph Harris (1702-64) began as a blacksmith in Cornwall with an interest in mathematics. He designed and made mathematical and navigational instruments, and his interest in navigation led him to voyage to Mexico and Jamaica. He also taught mathematics, and in 1748 became Master of the Mint in the Tower of London. These interests are reflected in his publications on coinage and navigation. The two publishers of the book were also practical savants: Thomas Wright was a maker of scientific instruments, who specialised in the orrery, while Richard Cushee (who died in about 1732: the publisher here is probably his son) was a maker of globes and was the engraver of the plates in this book.