*Our shops are open!*
Dover Street: 10am – 6pm, Monday to Saturday
Fulham Road: by appointment, 10am – 6pm, Monday to Saturday
Click for more information about safety measures in store.

GUERICKE, Otto von.

Experimenta nova (ut vocantur) Magdeburgica de Vacuo Spatio …

Nunc verò ab ipso Auctore Perfectiùs edita, variisque aliis Experimentis aucta. Quibus accesserunt simul certa quaedam De Aëris Pondere circa Terram; de Virtutibus Mundanis, & Systemate Mundi Planetario; sicut & de Stellis Fixis, ac Spatio illo Immenso, quod tàm intra quam extra eas funditur.

Amsterdam, at the shop of Johann Jansson van Waesberge, 1672 Stock Code: 77930
Reserve Ask us a question


First edition of one of the most remarkable books in the history of physics and technology. Guericke describes and illustrates with handsome engravings his inventions of the air-pump, the earliest electric generating machine, the water-barometer, and the air-balance. Guericke constructed his first air-pump some time before 1654, when he gave his first demonstration at Magdeburg of the ability of the hemispheres with a vacuum inside them to resist two teams of horses working to pull them apart; the experiment is illustrated here in the often reproduced folding plate. The experiment demonstrated that air had weight, and Guericke was further able to determine the density of air. He also proved experimentally the propagation of sound through air and, with his electrical machine, first clearly demonstrated the phenomenon of electrical repulsion.
"Copies of this first edition are now very rare. This remarkable work on experimental philosophy ranks next to Gilbert's in the number and importance of the electrical discoveries described. Electric conduction and repulsion, the discharging power of points, the dissipation of charge by flames, the light due to electrification, the crepitating noises of small sparks are all recognized" (Wheeler Gift, 170).

Confused? Read our glossary


Folio (313 x 196 mm). Contemporary mottled calf, red morocco label, spine gilt in compartments with urn and flower centre tool, pineapples in corners, sides ruled in gilt with a double fillet, curl-marbled endpapers, red edges. Housed in a brown flat back cloth solander box by the Chelsea Bindery.


Extra engraved title, engraved portrait, 2 double-page engraved plates (including that of the famous Magdeburg experiment), 20 large engravings in the text (7 full-page, plate XVIII repeated).


Early ownership inscription of Michele Colombo to front free endpaper verso. Minor wear to extremities, portrait slightly browned, small ink stain to fore-edge of sig. D1, very slightly affecting leaves either side but not the text, an excellent copy in a handsome binding.


With the exception of framed items*, Peter Harrington offers free delivery on all UK orders of rare books, maps and prints placed through this website. Delivery to USA and the rest of the world is similarly free for orders over £200.

View Full Delivery Details



Established in 1969, Peter Harrington is one of the leading rare book firms in the world. It is a proud member of the Antiquarian Booksellers Association – along with ILAB, the PBFA and Lapada – and from shops in Mayfair and Chelsea, London, sells rare books, prints and ephemera to customers across the world.

Email: mail@peterharrington.co.uk

Tel: +44 (0)20 7591 0220

ABA Antiquarian Bookseller Association ILAB International League of Antiquarian Booksellers LAPADA The Association of Art and Anatique Dealers PBFA Provincial Booksellers Fairs Association

Our Guarantee Page

Ask us a question


Contact us with details of the book you are interested in or selling and we will contact you

Sell Old Books Help me find a book