Abstract

In line with studies that question the conventional dichotomies between “head” and “hand,” this article analyzes the emergence of a mixed naval culture, between science and technology, during the French Enlightenment. The case at issue is that of the circuitous development of an anchor proof testing protocol, an important method in the competition for maritime supremacy used at least until the first third of the nineteenth century. The story begins in the dockyard of Brest with a humble boatswain, and continues with the dissemination of his experiments thanks to prominent figures of the Naval Academy of Brest and of the Royal Academy of Sciences of Paris. The article suggests that if the findings of the latter were rather inconclusive, nevertheless, over time, a collaboration between practitioners and scientists did eventually generate a regular protocol for testing anchors.

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Additional Information

ISSN
1097-3729
Print ISSN
0040-165X
Pages
pp. 1-34
Launched on MUSE
2017-02-15
Open Access
No
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