Unearthing the activities and contributions of women instrument makers (17th-19th centuries)
Resumo (em inglês)
Adapted from a talk given in Athens, in September 2022, during the Scientific Instrument Commission (SIC) Symposium, in this CIUHCT conference Gloria Clifton reflects on the hidden role of women in the scientific instrument trades. It is difficult to identify women working in those trades or to know how many there were. There are passing references in historical sources to women being involved in instrument-making in the past, but they are few and far between. The best known examples are Sarah Dollond, who married Jesse Ramsden, and who, according to a letter written by João Jacinto de Magalhães in 1775, worked on Ramsden’s first dividing engine, and Mary Senex, the globe maker, whose letter to the Royal Society in 1749 was published in their Transactions. Trade directories from the later eighteenth and nineteenth centuries occasionally list women under the headings for mathematical instrument makers, opticians and related trades. In this conference Gloria Clifton will examine what other sources can be consulted and brought together to form a fuller picture of the numbers of women working in the scientific instrument trades and the ways in which they were involved.
Sobre a oradora (em inglês)
Gloria Clifton is Curator Emeritus of the Royal Museums Greenwich. She published the influential – a standard reference to this day – Directory of British Scientific Instrument Makers, c. 1550 – 1851 (Philip Wilson Publishers, 2003) and continues to research makers and to add material to the database of makers, extending to 1914. A research collaboration between Greenwich, the Universities of Cambridge and Sussex, and National Museums of Scotland, hopes eventually to make this publicly accessible.
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