Old prints in the university library

The history of the library of Igor Sikorsky Kyiv Polytechnic Institute dates back more than a century. Many unique rarities have been preserved here. A fund of rare and valuable documents has been formed for ten years. One of the fund's collections is especially valuable. Conventionally, it is called "Old Prints" and consists of books published until 1850.

The Ukrainian Library Encyclopedia calls old prints "publications printed from the middle of the XV century, from the beginning of the introduction of printing in Europe until 1830 inclusive (international term Hand Press Book - books of the period of manual printing), to the introduction of machines in printing, on rag paper. "

There are few such book monuments in the library of the Kyiv Polytechnic, so it was decided to add to the collection books with the edition by 1850. Here are collected documents on science and various technologies, economics, architecture, agriculture. They came to the library through the purchase, donation of professors, teachers and students of Igor Sikorsky Kyiv Polytechnic Institute, outside philanthropists, redistribution of funds of other libraries and book exchange. To date, more than a hundred titles and one and a half hundred copies have been collected. The formation of the collection is not yet complete, we continue to replenish it.

Each of the publications is unique. Some of them are multi-volume. Almost half are written in French, the rest in Latin and Russian, German and English. According to the purpose, textbooks, scientific works and researches, reference editions, reports, catalogs, dissertations are presented here. They belong to different fields of knowledge: mathematics, physics, chemistry and chemical technology, design of mechanisms and machines, history, geography, economics, etc. Among the authors are famous scientists. 

The oldest editions belong to the section "Chemistry", and the library is proud of them:

- "Elementa chemiae, quae anniversario labore docuit, in publicis, privatesque, scholis" by Herman Burgave in two volumes, 1732 edition, printed in Leiden (modern Netherlands) (pictured). The first volume presents the history and main principles of chemical science, and the second volume presents recipes and mixtures of substances of interest to physicians and pharmacists. Hermann Burgave (1668-1738) - a prominent Dutch physician, chemist, pharmacist and botanist, an original and talented man, rector of Leiden University, world-famous at the time as a theorist of medicine and practitioner. "Fundamentals of Chemistry" - a lifetime edition of the scientist. The cover mark of both volumes has preserved the proprietary mark: Planek 1779. Among the pages of the first volume a small piece of paper was found, folded in half and written in beaded handwriting, similar to the handwriting of the owner. The cover letter bears the imprint of the seal "Kyiv Industrial Institute", from which it can be concluded that the publication came to the library in the 30s of the twentieth century; 

- three-volume "Elemens de Chimie" (1796) and four-volume "Chimie applique eauxarts" (1807) by the French chemist, physician, industrialist, politician and professor of the Polytechnic School in Paris Jean Antoine Chaptal (1756-1832). Both editions are also lifetime;

–  "Traite elementaire de chimie – presente dans un ordre nouveau et d'apres les decouvertes modernes”(1789) by the French scientist Antoine Lavoisier (1743-1794), the founder of modern chemistry.

All documents of the XVIII century will be included in the State Register of Book Monuments of Ukraine in the near future. But the "younger" (after 1800) editions of chemistry have great historical and scientific value. For example, the works of Claude Bertollet - the founder of the theory of chemical equilibrium and the author of the formula of the so-called Bertoletto salt (salt of chloric and hypochlorous acids) or Hermann Kopp - German chemist, one of the founders of the history of chemistry as a modern scientific discipline, and others.

The collection also includes more than a dozen editions of mathematics of the early nineteenth century. These are courses of lectures, educational and practical manuals, collections of exercises. Among them:

- "Algebra, By Bourdon, accepted as a guide for teaching at the Railway Corps Institute "(1833). This is a Russian translation of a textbook by the famous French mathematician and professional teacher Pierre Bourdon. His works on algebra were so high quality and popular that for many years they withstood more than twenty reprints, and "Fundamentals of Arithmetic" - more than forty;

- "Fundamentals of Algebra" (1838) by Sylvestre Lacroix and "Franker's Course in Pure Mathematics, Containing Arithmetic, Basic Algebra, Fundamentals of Geometry, Rectilinear Trigonometry, and Analytical Geometry" (1819). The works of both authors became a standard in the Russian Empire for writing textbooks in mathematics, and their manuals were used by students of physics and mathematics faculties of the vast majority of Russian universities; 

- "Introduction a l'analyse infinitesimale" (1835) by the outstanding mathematician of the XVIII century Leonhard Euler. The book was translated from Latin into French and published in one of the first specialized scientific publishers in France - Charles Bachelier. By the way, almost every book on mathematics in the early nineteenth century were printed and published right there. 

Quite a lot of physics publications are collected here: textbooks for educational institutions of different levels ("Initial foundations of physics", 1833 by F. Bedan, french scientist; "Theory of equilibrium of solid and liquid bodies, or statistics and hydrostatics", 1837 by Mykola Brashman, russian mathematician and mechanic; "Guide to Physics", 1839 by Emil Lenz - an outstanding scientist-physicist, one of the founders of electrical engineering), collections of scientific works (four-volume edition "Traite de physique experimentale et mathematique", 1816 by Jean Bio, French physicist and astronomer; two-volume "Mecanique analytique", 1811-1815, by one of the most prominent scientists of the XVIII century J. Lagrange) and so on. 

A significant part of the collection consists of books on the theory of mechanisms and machines, mechanical engineering, mechanics, etc. Among them are such masterpieces as:

"Architecture hydraulique, ou L'art de conduire, d'elever et de menager les eaux pour les differens besoins de la vie"  (1819) by Bernard Bellidor, French engineer and inventor. The publication presents a collection of knowledge in the field of practical and applied mechanics. It was the first to use integral calculus to solve technical problems, and is considered one of the first engineering reference books in Europe;

"Essai sur la composition des machines" (1819) by José María de Lanza and Augustine Betancourt. The famous treatise on mechanisms and machines was essentially the first to lay the foundations of a new technical science - the theory of mechanisms and machines;

- "Theory of steam engines, with the application of a detailed description of the double-action machine according to the system of Watt and Bolton" (1849) by Nikolai Bozheryanov, the first teacher of a new discipline for Russian technical schools - steam mechanics;

- "Fulton's system of internal communications / translated by the Forwarder of the Department of Water Communications Titular Adviser Petryaev" (1805) by Robert Fulton - American engineer and inventor, creator of one of the first ships and the project of the first submarine.

All of the above - this is only part of the collection of the first half of the nineteenth century. But there are also works on economics and other fields of knowledge…

Most of the works are lifetime editions of the authors, which is known to significantly increase the value of these book and scientific monuments. There are also many inscriptions, seals, stamps and other book marks on the pages, which can tell interesting stories about former book owners.


All these masterpieces of scientific and technical thought are stored in the reading room of rare and valuable publications of the Denysenko Scientific and Technical Library.    Anyone can read them.

You can select the book you need to work with at any time and from any device through the electronic catalogue of the library: go to the collection "Rare editions", and then - "Old prints". You can work with literature only in the reading room, but it is possible to order scans of individual pages. 

Maryna Miroshnychenko, head of work 
with rare and valuable documents of STL, Igor Sikorsky Kyiv Polytechnic Institute