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Early American scientific instruments and…

Early American scientific instruments and their makers

by Silvio A. Bedini

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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0910845301, Hardcover)

A systematic study of the scientific instruments used in the United States during its colonial beginnings.

Development of the sciences in the American Colonies was critically dependent upon the available tools-scientific instruments- and the people who made and used them. These tools may be separated into two groups. The first consists of philosophical instruments and teaching apparatus used for educational purposes and experimentation. The second group includes the so called ''mathematical instruments" of practical use, which were employed by mathematical practitioners and laymen alike for the mensural and nautical needs of the Colonies. This book is about the second but lesser known group.

Bedini has divided the major portion of the book into three parts- The Mathematical Practitioners, Instruments of Metal, and Instruments of Wood. Among the practitioners you find the Rittenhouse brothers, Ellicott, Biddle, Bailey, and Banneker. The book contains a substantial section on wooden instruments and describes sixteen makers.

The appendix material is an invaluable source for those who have an interest in instrument collection and study. Among the appendices is a list of surviving wooden compasses, and both an alphabetical and geographical list of instrument makers.

This is the second printing of the book. The first printing, limited to only a few thousand copies, was sold out soon after its publication by the Smithsonian Institution in 1964. With the dramatically increased interest in scientific instruments, this new printing, with some revisions and updating, is most welcome.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:23:29 -0400)

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