Sketch of a tour through Swisserland: With an accurate map. A new edition. To which is added a short account of an expedition to the summit of Montblanc, by M. de Saussure, of Geneva. [Facsimile of 1788 Edition - LIMITED 300 NUMBERED COPIES - 16 / 300].

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M. DE SAUSSURE, OF GENEVA [HORACE BENEDICT DE SAUSSURE], (1740-1799).

G. Kearsley. [Facsimile of 1788 Edition], London, 1989.

Original brown cloth bdg. Gilt borders. Foolscap 8vo. (18,5 x 12 cm). In English. 127, [4] p., 1 huge folding map. This volume has been produced for the World Economic Forum by Editions Slatkine, Geneva, on a paper specially prepared for this edition. Only 300 numbered examples have been printed no: 16. 16 / 300. Horace Benedict de Saussure, was a Genevan geologist, meteorologist, physicist, mountaineer, and Alpine explorer, often called the founder of alpinism and modern meteorology, and considered to be the first person to build a successful solar oven. Saussure's family were Genevan patricians. His father, Nicolas de Saussure, was an agriculturist and author. His mother was sickly and so Saussure was brought up by his mother's sister and her husband the Genevan naturalist Charles Bonnet who sparked Horace-Bénédict's early interest in botany. After attending the "Collège" of his hometown, he completed his studies at the Geneva Academy in 1759 with a dissertation on heat (Dissertatio physica de igne). In 1760, he made the first of numerous trips to Chamonix Valley, at the foot of Mont Blanc, to collect plant specimens for the noted Swiss anatomist, physiologist and botanist Albrecht von Haller. In 1760, Saussure offered a reward to the first man to reach the summit of Mont Blanc. Inspired by his uncle, the naturalist Charles Bonnet, the young Saussure also did research on the physiology of plants and published Observations sur l'écorce des feuilles et des pétales (1762). The same year, at 22, he was elected professor of philosophy at the Academy of Geneva, where he lectured on physics one year, and on logic and metaphysics the next. He taught there until 1786, occasionally also lecturing on geography, geology, chemistry, and even astronomy. His early interest in botanical studies and glaciers soon led Saussure to undertake other journeys across the Alps. In 1767, he completed his first tour of Mont-Blanc, a trip that did much to reveal the topography of the snowy portions of the Alps of Savoy. He also carried out experiments on heat and cold, on the weight of the atmosphere, and on electricity and magnetism. For this, he devised what became one of the first electrometers. Other trips led him to Italy, where he studied Mt. Etna and other volcanoes (1772-73), and to the extinct volcanoes of the Auvergne, in France. Although a patrician, Saussure held liberal views that induced him to present in 1774 a plan for the development of scientific education in the Geneva College, which would be open to all citizens, this attempt failed. He was more successful in advocating the creation of the "Société des Arts" (1776), inspired by the London Society for the Improvement of Arts. Beginning in 1774 Saussure sought to reach the summit of Mont-Blanc on the side of Val Veny (now Italy) accompanied by the Courmayeur alpine guide Jean-Laurent Jordaney on the Miage glacier and on Mont Crammont. In 1776 he ascended the Buet (3,096 m). He climbed the Crammont in 1774 and again in 1778, in which year he also explored the Valsorey glacier, near the Great St Bernard. In 1780 he climbed the Roche Michel, above the Mont Cenis Pass. In 1785, he made an unsuccessful attempt on Mont-Blanc by the Aiguille du Goûter route. Two Chamonix men, Michel Paccard and Jacques Balmat, attained the summit in 1786, by way of the Grands Mulets, and in 1787 Saussure himself made the third ascent of the mountain. His achievements did much to attract tourists to places such as Chamonix. Obsessed by the measurement of meteorological phenomena, Saussure invented and improved many kinds of apparatus, including the magnetometer, the cyanometer for estimating the blueness of the sky, the diaphanometer for judging the clarity of the atmosphere, the anemometer, and the mountain eudiometer. In 1789 Saussure climbed the Pizzo Bianco near Macugnaga, to observe the east wall of Monte Rosa, and crossed the Theodulpass (3,322 m) to Zermatt, which he was the first traveler...