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Sentimental Hydraulics: Utopia And Technology In 18th-Century France

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Chapter Summary

By the end of the 18th century, the empirical method of Francis Bacon seems to have given way to a more mathematically grounded approach towards natural phenomena. This chapter presents an overview on some of the machines submitted to the contest for the replacement of the machine of Marly. Some of the hydraulic and pneumatic devices to be used for the replacement of the Marly machine were designed to draw on the chemical and physical powers of the atmosphere. The chapter outlines the concept of invention guiding the amateurs. It then describes the discourse of the ?economy of nature?, for many of the machines which were described, drawn and built as models were material translations of this discourse. Finally, it presents some of the plans in greater detail to illuminate the contestants? understanding of technology, according to which technical devices constituted the driving forces behind a thorough reformation of society.

Keywords: 18th century; amateurs; Francis Bacon; hydraulic device; Marly machine; natural phenomena; pneumatic device



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