New Jerseyana from Joseph Felcone Antiquarian Bookseller
For those who collect fairs and carnivals, or Ferris Wheels in particular, item 55 is a most intriguing one-of-a-kind item. It is a signed manuscript agreement between four individuals to build an observation wheel in Atlantic City. An observation wheel has a few technical differences from a Ferris Wheel, but is essentially the same concept. The parties herein agreed to assign patents to Rex Smith's observation roundabout, Jesse Lake's improvements upon it, and Wesley Smith's observation tower patents to the joint venture. What is significant is the date: April 27, 1893. The Ferris Wheel was introduced to the world at the Columbian Exposition in Chicago, which opened on May 1, 1893, or four days after this agreement was signed. I do not know where priorities fell between these gentlemen's patents and those of Mr. Ferris, but the timing is certainly most interesting. $175.
One nice thing about Felcone is that he doesn't try to play up an item he does not like. Here is his description of Stephen Barr's New Jersey. Setting the Pace for the Twenty-First Century: "Utterly useless. Many such books are called 'coffee table books.' These stand head and shoulders above this book, which should probably be called a 'wastebasket book.'" Perhaps this New Jersey book being published in Encino, California, didn't help. $35. Bet it doesn't sell too quickly.
Felcone pulls no punches with his own books either. His description of Collecting New Jersey Books, by Felcone, and published in 1978, reads: "A good summary of the subject, but complete with 34 publisher-created typographical errors, several alterations and deletions from the submitted manuscript, and various other editorial and printing atrocities." This should make the book all the more collectible. Item 477. $40.
However, at this point we should point out that Felcone has written many books pertaining to New Jersey. This includes bibliographies, and many other items about printed New Jerseyana. Naturally, there's no better place to find these titles than in a Felcone catalogue, and you will find 14 of them here. If you are a New Jersey collector, you undoubtedly know Mr. Felcone already, but if you are thinking of starting out, you must get in touch with him.
Item 971 is, The American Geography; or, A View of the Present Situation of the United States, by Jedidiah Morse, published in Elizabeth Town, N.J., in 1789. This early American geography includes two maps, one of the southern, one of the northern states. The southern map is unusual in that it includes the state of Franklin. Franklin was an attempt to carve out a separate state from what was, at the time, western North Carolina. Its name was meant to honor elder statesman Benjamin Franklin. However, North Carolina was able to temporarily hold onto the territory, only to cede it to the new state of Tennessee a short time later. Franklin is today's eastern Tennessee. While clergyman and geographer Jedidiah Morse is not well remembered today, his son is. His son was Samuel Morse, inventor of the telegraph. $5,500.
You may find Joseph J. Felcone Antiquarian Bookseller online at www.felcone.com, phone number 609-924-0539.