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Boyle, Robert (1627-1691)
The works of the Honourable Robert Boyle in five volumes : to which is prefixed the life of the author.
London : Printed for A. Millar, 1744.

Image from Boyle's Works

Birch's 1744 edition of the Works of the honourable Robert Boyle was the first complete collection of his published writings. In his crucial experiment No. 17 in Spring of the air (1660) Boyle describes how he inserted the Torricellian apparatus (a mercury filled glass tube inserted into a cup of mercury) into his airpump. As he extracted the air from the receiver he noticed that the column of mercury descended. As he readmitted the air, the column ascended. Boyle accounted for this phenomenon by appealing to a quality he called spring, but what he was really exploring was air pressure. The fold-out plate is a picture of the airpump he used in this and other experiments.

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