5. Ferdinand Berthoud, L’art de conduire et de régler les pendules et les montres (référence en note 4) 1759, planche VII.
HERITAGE · JUNE 2017

The 18th century taste for science and technology

An article by Rossella Baldi, Art historian, Neuchâtel
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  • Ferdinand Berthoud, skeletonised table clock on its marble base, circa 1775.
    1. Ferdinand Berthoud, skeletonised table clock on its marble base, circa 1775.
  • Attributed to Jean-Antoine Nollet, compound microscope and its travel case, circa 1740. History of Science Museum, Geneva (MHS, inv. 149). The microscope probably belonged to famous Genevan naturalist and philosopher Charles Bonnet, and to his nephew, Horace-Bénédicte de Saussure.
    2. Attributed to Jean-Antoine Nollet, compound microscope and its travel case, circa 1740. History of Science Museum, Geneva (MHS, inv. 149). The microscope probably belonged to famous Genevan naturalist and philosopher Charles Bonnet, and to his nephew, Horace-Bénédicte de Saussure.
  • George Adams, planetarium, circa 1770. History of Science Museum, Geneva (MHS inv. 818). George Adams senior and junior were among the most important 18<sup>th</sup> century makers of scientific instruments. King George III ordered a number of models from them.
    3. George Adams, planetarium, circa 1770. History of Science Museum, Geneva (MHS inv. 818). George Adams senior and junior were among the most important 18th century makers of scientific instruments. King George III ordered a number of models from them.
  • Ferdinand Berthoud, L’art de conduire et de régler les pendules et les montres: A l’usage de ceux qui n’ont aucune connoissance d’Horlogerie (The art of operating and adjusting clocks and watches for those who have no horological knowledge), Paris, published by the author, Rue de Harlay and by Michel Lambert, Bookseller, next to the Comédie Françoise, 1759, title page.
    4. Ferdinand Berthoud, L’art de conduire et de régler les pendules et les montres: A l’usage de ceux qui n’ont aucune connoissance d’Horlogerie (The art of operating and adjusting clocks and watches for those who have no horological knowledge), Paris, published by the author, Rue de Harlay and by Michel Lambert, Bookseller, next to the Comédie Françoise, 1759, title page.
  • Ferdinand Berthoud, L’art de conduire et de régler les pendules et les montres (reference in note 1) 1759, plate VII.
    5. Ferdinand Berthoud, L’art de conduire et de régler les pendules et les montres (reference in note 1) 1759, plate VII.
  • Ferdinand Berthoud, Essai sur l’horlogerie, dans lequel on traite de cet art relativement à l’usage civil, à l’astronomie et à la navigation, en établissant des principes confirmés par l’expérience (Essay on horology, in which its civilian use and its applications in astronomy and navigation are examined, while establishing principles confirmed by experiment), Paris, published by J. Cl. Jombert, Musier et Panckoucke (booksellers), 1763, title page.
    6. Ferdinand Berthoud, Essai sur l’horlogerie, dans lequel on traite de cet art relativement à l’usage civil, à l’astronomie et à la navigation, en établissant des principes confirmés par l’expérience (Essay on horology, in which its civilian use and its applications in astronomy and navigation are examined, while establishing principles confirmed by experiment), Paris, published by J. Cl. Jombert, Musier et Panckoucke (booksellers), 1763, title page.

In the Age of Enlightenment, science and technology began opening up to new audiences. Members of the social elite took a passionate interest in scientific disciplines; they attended classes, witnessed experiments and acquired specialised books. Science thereby emerged from academia to become a social phenomenon and even a form of entertainment. Watchmaking was at the heart of this euphoria. As mechanical models of all kinds enthralled spectators and the market for books on horology began to develop, as watchmakers initiated the general public into their art and showcased their excellence.