Scientific Instruments

CoCo 12: Reading Artifacts: The Material Culture of Science

Bedini, S. 1964. Early American Scientific Instruments and Their Makers. Washington, DC: Smithsonian Institution (U. S. National Museum Bulletin no. 231), 196 pp.

Bud, R. & D. Warner, eds. 1998. Instruments of Science: An Historical Encyclopedia. Science Museum, London, and National Museum of American History, Smithsonian Institution in association with Garland Publishing (NY), 709 pp.

Maddison, F. 1963. Early astronomical and mathematical instruments: a brief survey of sources and modern studies. History of Science, v. 2, no. 1, pp. 17-50.

Mills, J. M. 1983. Encyclopedia of Antique Scientific Instruments. NY: Facts on File, 255 pp. [Includes biographical sketches]

Science (General): Scientific Instruments - Biography

Bedini, S. A. 1964. Early American Scientific Instruments and their Makers. United States National Museum Bulletin 231, 184 pp.
--Biographical sketches of 16 instrument makers and an appendix: Mathematical Practitioners and Instrument Makers (pp. 155-171) giving brief data (dates, residence, and specialty) for many more.

Anderson, R. G. W., B. Gee & J. Burnett. 1990. Handlist of Scientific Instrument-makers' Trade Catalogues 1600-1914. Edinburgh: National Museums of Scotland Information Series no 8, 112 pp.

Instruments for Science, 1800-1914: Scientific Trade Catalogs in Smithsonian Collections

Mount, Ellis (ed.) The role of trade literature in sci-tech libraries. (New York: Haworth Press, 1990)

Davis, Audrey B. The finest instruments ever made: a bibliography of medical, dental, optical, and pharmaceutical company trade literature, 1700-1939 (Arlington, Mass.: Medical History Pub. Associates, c1986)

Collection of Historical Scientific Instruments in the Science Center includes over 15,000 instruments, often with contemporary documentation, from 1450 through the 20th century worldwide. The collection also includes other objects from the history of science at Harvard, including William Dandridge Peck's dried fish specimens. Waywiser, online database of the Collection of Historical Scientific Instruments.

Cohen, I. Bernard, 1950. Some Early Tools of American Science: An Account of the Early Scientific Instruments and Mineralogical and Biological Collections in Harvard University. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 201 pp.

Fogg Art Museum. 1969. Early Science at Harvard: Innovators and their Instruments, 1765-1865. Cambridge, 82 pp.

Wheatland, D. P. 1968. The Apparatus of Science at Harvard, 1765-1800. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 203 pp.

Two recent books based on exhibitions of CHSI collections:

Schechner, Sara J., 2014. Time and Time Again: How Science and Culture Shape the Past, Present, and Future. Cambridge, MA: Collection of Historical and Scientific Instruments. Free download

Ulrich, Laurel Thatcher, Gaskell, Ivan, Schechner, Sara, and Carter, Sarah Anne, 2015. Tangible Things : Making History through Objects. 259pp.

Warner, D. J. 1992. Some collections of scientific instruments in the United States. Rittenhouse, v. 7, pp. 97-105.