This second volume by Silvio Bedini pursues themes set out in his previous collection; the main focus is, again, on Italy, but the scope is broadened to include other parts of Europe. Three elements combined in the evolution and production of scientific instruments: purpose or function, the patron, and the artisans. The first studies here look at the patrons of science, the collections they established and their evolution into museums, and then at some of the artisans who made fine instruments. The second section deals with techniques and instruments. With the adoption of mathematical techniques for measurement - of time, in navigation and surveying and weighing - came the development of tools which grew in precision to the degree that they became part of science. From the toys and curiosities of princes and wealthy prelates, instruments became more functional in response to the new requirements resulting from each new discovery.
Table of Contents
Contents: Collections and Artisans: The evolution of science museums; The fate of the Medici-Lorraine scientific instruments; Christina of Sweden and the sciences; The Dentzel brothers of Ulm; Johann Wolfgang Gelb of Ulm, 17th-century lock and instrument maker; Agent for the archduke: another chapter in the story of Johann Philipp Treffler, clockmaker of Augsburg; In pursuit of provenance: the George Graham proto-orreries; Instruments and Techniques: The role of automata in the history of technology; ’A treatise on optics’ by Giovanni Christoforo Bolantio; A Renaissance lapidary lathe; The compartmented cylindrical clepsydra; The 17th-century table clepsydra; 17th-century magnetic timepieces; Addenda and corrigenda; Index.
'Silvio Bedini’s omnivorous interest in all aspects of the history of scientific instruments, and his exceptional talents as an academic sleuth, are well exemplified in this collection of thirteen essays...Bedini writes with such infectious enthusiasm as to make this cabinet of curiosities well worth acquiring.' Isis, Vol. 91, No. 2 'A scholarly, well-researched volume....' E-Streams, Vol. 3, No. 5 'Silvio Bedini is unquestionably one of the fines historians of science... Bedini is a master of clear, cogent, and most readable prose ...we are always motivated to pursue the topic at hand...I would recommend this volume to anyone interested in the 17th century and its history, or generally in the history of science...We can once again commend Variorum Press for making available to us, in one binding, these papers published in sometimes elusive locations.' Ritttenhouse Magazine, Vol. 14 '... forms a strong foundation for anyone interested in learning more about the role of scientific instruments in seventeenth-century science.... paints a vibrant picture of the important interactions that fueled the scientific revolution.' Seventeenth Century News, Vol. 59