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date: 07 April 2020

Abstract and Keywords

This article examines the practice of instrument-making as it impinged upon the nascent science of physics during the period 1550–1700. Instrument-making workshops developed during the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries — the period of transition in mathematical instrument-making from an occasional activity of scholar or artisan to a trade carried out in workshops in which it was possible for aspirants to the activity to be trained. One of the characterizing achievements of Renaissance instrument-making throughout Europe was to respond to an increasing demand by the production of semi-standardized instruments while retaining the ability to innovate and develop special instruments to special order. The number of instrument-makers increased from three in 1551 to fourteen in 1601 and 151 in 1701. This growth in numbers reflects the growth in demand, but conceals the greater capacity and range of workshops by the end of the century.

Keywords: instrument-making, physics, workshops, Renaissance, Europe, Instruments, instrument-makers

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