Recording Technology in France: The Descriptions des arts, Methodological Innovation and Lost Opportunities at the Turn of the Eighteenth Century

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Abstract:

The Descriptions des arts et métiers began as a collaborative enterprise outside the Académie royale des sciences: three scholars (Des Billettes, Jaugeon, Truchet), a craftsman (Anisson) and an artist-engraver (Simonneau) developed a highly innovative methodology combining original research on workshop technologies, the rationalization of manufacturing processes and an analytic approach to visual representation. The abbé Bignon's decision in 1699 to subsume their group into the Académie des sciences, which had a very different ethos, proved fatal to their project; their model of illustration was not published for over fifty years, and by then Diderot had plagiarized it for the Encyclopédie.

Keywords: ACADEMIE DES SCIENCES; CRAFTS AND TRADES; DESCRIPTIONS DES ARTS; EIGHTEENTH-CENTURY FRANCE; REAUMUR

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.2752/147800408X331425

Affiliations: University of Limerick

Publication date: September 1, 2008

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