Oxford: Sackville Parker, 1752. Octavo. p.40. Bound in quarter brown calf over marbled paper boards, wtih gilt titles to spine; all edges red speckled. With owner's stamp and bookplate. Binding is rubbed, worn to board edges, bumping to corners and spine ends. Internally clean, with one illustrative diagram (p.32) of the attraction of hair to an electrically charged rod in a centrifuge. Previous owner's stamp in purple to front free endpaper "Prof Old Liechti". Bookplate shows armourial crest of Prescott Pepper. Published in 1752, the same year that Benjamin Franklin's proposed kite-and-key experiment demonstrated that lightning was electrical, Penrose aims to investigate the origins of electicity in order to use it as a medical cure with greater efficacy. In the terms of the period, he resolves that electrical phenomena, as well as light, originate in the violent friction of air particles against various surfaces, including the globes of the eletrical machines and the experimenter's hands. He extends this theory to explain the process of fermentation, during which particles of light become entagled in the watery parts, and thereby produce heat. These discoveries have several consequences for the use of electicity as a medical treatment. Because electricity is fire and light, it is unsuitable for treating fevers, since fevers already heat the blood to an extreme degree. However, palsies, and diseases caused by blockages of the nerve fluid, should be treated by, in essence, electroshock therapy, because the force of the additional light will violently break down any such barriers. Item #43244
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