Balloons, Hydraulic Machines and Steam Engines at War and Peace: Jean-Pierre Campmas, a Visionary or an Inefficient Inventor?
Charles Gillispie’s major contribution to “science and polity in France” carefully analyses the links between science and the modern state in the last decades of the eighteenth century and the first of the nineteenth. Beside outstanding scientists and administrators, he considers several second rank scientists, engineers or inventors who also contributed to modernity, as well as charlatans and others who challenged scientific institutions. In his thorough investigation through the national, scientific and military archives in Paris and Vincennes, Gillispie might have come across Jean-Pierre Campmas, an inventor who was not directly relevant for his investigations. He was nevertheless involved in many of the same areas as Gillispie’s protagonists, including ballooning, artillery and other matters that he submitted to French scientific and administrative institutions from the beginning of Louis XVI’s reign to the early Napoleonic period.
KeywordsSeal Envelope Steam Engine Hydraulic Machine National Convention Military Engineer
I am grateful to Jed Buchwald for his careful editing and polishing my text, and to Florence Greffe, Claudine Pouret, Marie Thebaud-Sorger and Christiane Demeulenaere-Douyère for their kind help.