Sunday, December 04, 2005


Jacques Alexandre (1653-1734) was a Benedictine monk from Orléans in France who devoted his life to the study of mechanics, physics and mathematics in the monastery at Vendôme. The engravings here are from one of the earliest french works on horology (the art of clockmaking) - Traité général des horloges - published in 1734.

The treatise records the known history of horology to the time of writing and outlines in detail the various mechanisms of a timepiece by way of technical dictionary, accompanied by precise engravings of which there are 27 page plates in total.

Alexandre wasn't particularly driven to publish all of the papers his intellectual enquiries produced but he did issue a book about the nature of tides that relied on the belief that the earth rotated around the moon. Despite the obvious error, it contributed to the overall body of work on the subject.

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