Alberti, Giuseppe Antonio. I giochi numeri fatti arcani palesati [...].

Bologna, Bartolomeo Borghi, 1747.

8vo. VIII, 313, (1) pp. With 16 engraved plates and several printed diagrams in the text. Contemporary Italian limp boards.


First edition of this frequently reprinted work on number theory and magic tricks (last republished in Florence in 1979), on which rests the fame of the engineer Giuseppe Antonio Alberti (1715-68). This is the only edition to contain the author's dedication to his friend Domenico Casaglia.

"Operetta di qualche interesse, la quale oltre i giuochi numerici contiene ancora dilettevoli giuochi di prestigio" (Riccardi). "Contains arithmetical puzzles, tricks with cards and dice, problems relating to the theory of numbers, sleight of hand, etc." (Honeyman).

"Giuseppe Alberti was born in Bologna and made his career as an architect and engineer of roads and canals. In the latter part of his life, he published several books on technical subjects ranging from applied mathematics to civil engineering to fireworks. This particular work on mathematical recreations was quite popular and remained in print for many years after the author’s death. This is the type of book that mischievous uncles like to own. It contains a myriad of mathematical problems, tricks and amusements with which they can both entertain and torment their nephews and nieces while in the process teaching mathematical and manipulative skills. The volume starts out with examples of simple arithmetic problems that have unusual properties (such as all the digits of the answer being identical - see the multiplication example illustration). Problems are solved by proportionality operations - processes usually denoted by the terms rule of three, rule of five, and rule of false position. After the simpler arithmetic problems, Alberti presents a series of puzzles involving magic squares, magic diamonds and other geometric figures. The final half of the book describes how to perform magic tricks ranging from the shell game involving three cups and a pea, through card games, rope tricks and even devices constructed to perform sophisticated sideshow illusions" (Tomash Lib.).

Slightly brownstained and wormed throughout; a wide-margined copy. Rare; only 3 copies in USA (Iowa Univ.; Chicago; Michigan).

Riccardi I/1, 15, 297. Honeyman I, 47. Poggendorff I, 23. Caillet I, 145. OCLC 23643054. Cf. Tomash Library A 56 (Venice 1795 edition). Not in Stott or Schaaf.