Monday, April 03, 2006

French Machines and Inventions

Celestial Globe

Month and Astrological Sign Clock

Sand Clock

Umbrella Mechanism

Shoe Fitting Device

Fire Hose Pump

Planetary Globe

Water Drawing Device

Port Dredger

Pascal Calculator (first public display)

Ship Unloading Machinery

Fireplace Wall Warmer (?) - looks like tubes
to carry heat in the right hand drawing.

Automatic Calculator Mechanism

Automatic Plow

[The captions are mine - paraphrasing/guessing - click the images for full size versions]

These illustrations come from a massive 1735 French publication - Machines et Inventions approuvées par l'Académie Royale des Sciences, depuis son établissement jusqu'à présent - issued in 6 volumes and containing 432 engraved plates.

The Royal Academy of Science commissioned engineer Jean Gaffin Gallon to edit the entries and the principal engraver was Antoine Hérisset. The samples here give a good indication of the variety of scientific, hydraulic, agricultural, musical and novel machines and inventions that were produced in the 2nd half of the 17th and 1st part of the 18th centuries in France.

I have managed to find 99 plates by Hérisset from Machines et Inventions at the Istituto Internazionale di Storia Economica - unfortunately they are only modestly sized. Some english is available. The full volumes are online at the French National Library but they are photocopies and in a really annoying pdf frame.
A little background information.

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