Article ID: CBB052963020

"Changing Scale to Master Nature: Promoting Small-scale Inventions in Eighteenth-century France and Britain". (Original title: "Producers and Consumers Negotiating Scale: Micro-Inventions in Eighteenth-century France and Britain." On-line title changed by author post production.) (October 2020)


Thébaud-Sorger, Marie (Author)

Technology and Culture
Volume: 61
Issue: 4
Pages: 1076-1107

Publication Date: October 2020
Edition Details: Special Issue: Manufacturing Modernity: Innovations in Early Modern Europe
Language: English

This article examines the social embedding of technical inventions in Britain and France in the second half of the eighteenth century. Small-scale artefacts to improve everyday life marked a new relationship between techniques, public culture, and forces of nature. The ways that micro-inventions such as domestic devices were disseminated through print media, models, and exhibitions demonstrate how inventive strategies and public expectations affected innovation. Producers and users interacted to shape market inventions. Solutions to the problem of ventilation highlight how the dynamics of scale shaped technical inventions, enabling their promotion as multidimensional objects of social reform. Indeed, conceptualizing technologies as scalable transformed prior perceptions of humans' ability to harness nature (such as making noxious air breathable). Civic improvements and industrial innovation also fostered a new materiality, changing how societies perceived their natural environment as well as their impact on it.

Associated with

Article Adam Lucas (October 2020) Manufacturing Modernity: Innovations in Early Modern Europe—An Introduction. Technology and Culture (pp. 995-1016). unapi

Citation URI

Similar Citations

Chapter Burroughs, Stuart; (2008)
Machines and Industry: Engineering and Invention in Bath (/isis/citation/CBB001022824/) unapi

Article Hilaire-Pérez, Liliane; (2000)
Technical Invention and Institutional Credit in France and Britain in the 18th Century (/isis/citation/CBB000111643/) unapi

Article MacLeod, Christine; Stein, Jeremy; Tann, Jennifer; Andrew, James; (2000)
Making Waves: The Royal Navy's Management of Invention and Innovation in Steam Shipping, 1815-1832 (/isis/citation/CBB000111818/) unapi

Book Hills, Richard Leslie; (2001)
Life and Inventions of Richard Roberts, 1789-1864 (/isis/citation/CBB000301877/) unapi

Article Tann, Jennifer; (2015)
Borrowing Brilliance: Technology Transfer across Sectors in the Early Industrial Revolution (/isis/citation/CBB001550623/) unapi

Article Stallybrass, Peter; (2006)
Benjamin Franklin: Printed Corrections and Erasable Writing (/isis/citation/CBB001232053/) unapi

Book Hilaire-Pérez, Liliane; Garcon, Anne-Francoise; (2003)
Les chemins de la nouveauté: innover, inventer au regard de l'histoire (/isis/citation/CBB000551042/) unapi

Article Andrew, J. H.; Allen, J. S.; (2009)
A Confirmation of the Location of the 1712 “Dudley Castle” Newcomen Engine at Coneygree, Tipton (/isis/citation/CBB001231639/) unapi

Book Weightman, Gavin; (2007)
The Industrial Revolutionaries: The Making of the Modern World, 1776--1914 (/isis/citation/CBB001033457/) unapi

Article Rana, Suhail; (2009)
New Evidence Supporting Wolverhampton as the Location of the First Working Newcomen Engine (/isis/citation/CBB001231638/) unapi

Article Tyler, David; (2006)
Humphrey Gainsborough (1718-1776): Cleric, Engineer and Inventor (/isis/citation/CBB000700480/) unapi

Book MacLeod, Christine; (2007)
Heroes of Invention: Technology, Liberalism and British Identity, 1750--1914 (/isis/citation/CBB000830491/) unapi

Book Hilaire-Pérez, Liliane; (2000)
L'Invention technique au siècle des Lumières (/isis/citation/CBB000100987/) unapi

Article Wolpin, Stewart; (Winter 2007)
Hold the Phone (/isis/citation/CBB850356489/) unapi

Book Headrick, Daniel R.; (2009)
Technology: A World History (/isis/citation/CBB001211943/) unapi

Book Gertner, Jon; (2012)
The Idea Factory: Bell Labs and the Great Age of American Innovation (/isis/citation/CBB001212713/) unapi

Book Cross, Gary; Szostak, Rick; (2005)
Technology and American Society: A History (/isis/citation/CBB000951055/) unapi

Article Vasiliev, V. I.; (2010)
I. P. Kulibin as a Man of the National Book Culture (/isis/citation/CBB001211376/) unapi

Article Zabelin, K. I.; Ignatenko, Ye. S.; (2011)
The First Russian Electronic Televisions (/isis/citation/CBB001211389/) unapi

Authors & Contributors
Hilaire-Pérez, Liliane
Tann, Jennifer
MacLeod, Christine
Stein, Jeremy
Andrew, James H.
Hills, Richard Leslie
International Journal for the History of Engineering and Technology
History and Technology
VIET: Voprosy Istorii Estestvoznaniia i Tekhniki
Transactions - Newcomen Society for the Study of the History of Engineering and Technology
Proceedings of the American Philosophical Society
Technology and Culture
Albin Michel
Landmark Publishing
Editions du CTHS
Cambridge University Press
Grove Press
Inventors and invention
Technological innovation
Industrial revolution
Technology and culture
Newcomen, Thomas
Roberts, Richard
Gainsborough, Humphrey
Kulibin, Ivan Petrovich
Franklin, Benjamin
Great Britain
United States
18th century
19th century
20th century
20th century, early
17th century
Great Britain. Royal Navy
Sankt-Peterburgskii Akademia Nauk
Bell Telephone Laboratories
American Telephone and Telegraph Company

Be the first to comment!

{{ comment.created_by.username }} on {{ comment.created_on | date:'medium' }}

Log in or register to comment