Justus Liebig, MD, PhD, FRS, Professor of Chemistry in the University of Giessen
John Gardner, MD (ed), member of the Chemical Society
Taylor and Walton, London, 1843.
Hardback; 115 x 175 mm; dark red boards with gold titles on spine; impressed device on front and back covers; xii & 180 pages plus 8 pages advertising other works. No dust jacket.
The book is in fair condition. The binding is not loose or shaken but in a few places there is cracking along the gutter. The book is slightly cocked. The edges of the covers are bumped, and the spine is worn, cracked and missing in places, particularly at the top, and faded. There are small booksellers and bookbinders labels on the front paste-down endpaper (red) and the back paste-down endpaper (blue). The front paste-down endpaper is annotated in blue ink: “R B J Smith 45 Oakleigh Gardens, Oldland, Bristol, BS15 6RS Bitton 322249”. The back of the fly-title is annotated in black ink: “Broadclyst Book Society”. The contents are slightly tanned as is to be expected due to age. When the book is closed, the top edge of the leaves shows foxing. There are a few spots of foxing on individual leaves, most noticeably on pages 78/79. There are a few pencil markings and underlinings, and a few dog-ears. Page 5/6 of the advertisements has been seriously creased but the text is readable.
Justus von Liebig (1803–1873) was a German chemist who made major contributions to agricultural and biological chemistry, and was considered the founder of organic chemistry. As a professor at the University of Giessen, he devised the modern laboratory-oriented teaching method, and for such innovations, he is regarded one of the greatest chemistry teachers of all time. He has been described as the "father of the fertilizer industry" for his emphasis on nitrogen and trace minerals as essential plant nutrients.
In this book Liebig promoted the idea that chemistry could revolutionize agricultural practice, increasing yields and lowering costs. It was widely translated, critiqued, and highly influential. He discussed chemical transformations within living systems, both plant and animal, outlining a theoretical approach to agricultural chemistry. The first part of the book focused on plant nutrition, the second on chemical mechanisms of putrefaction and decay.
This book will appeal to those interested in the history of science, and to advocates of conservation of which Liebig is an example.