Tracing scientific instrument makers: the importance of researching the actual objects they made or sold – Gloria Clifton (Emeritus Curator, National Maritime Museum and Royal Observatory, Greenwich)

November 4, 2021 @ 3:30 pm – 5:00 pm
Mill Lane Lecture Room 9
Richard Staley

Historians tend to regard manuscripts, letters and books as the primary sources of information for their research, but for the history of scientific-instrument making, the objects themselves are just as important, sometimes even more so. This lecture will examine the various ways in which instruments in collections or shown in catalogues can reveal information about the careers and work of their makers. Sometimes the information provided by an object is the only source for a particular detail, in other cases the objects point to documents and other materials which can be used to build a fuller picture of a particular maker’s work. Where possible, examples will be taken from the collections at the Whipple Museum, but there will also be illustrations from collections elsewhere.

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