( Completed: 2008)
Early Modern Engineering Drawings
Other involved scholars: Marcus Popplow (TU Cottbus)
In the figure of the early modern engineer, one meets the epitome of the productive relationship between practical and theoretical mechanics that gave eventually birth to classical mechanics. Engineering drawings of this period provide the probably most promising access to practice and thoughts of these engineers. For opening up and using systematically this source, above all two prerequisites must be provided: first, a comprehensive registration of the extent corpus of engineering drawings that allows systematic investigations and comparisons; second, the development of interpretative tools for exploiting the wealth of information that can be gathered from the formal aspects of the different pictorial languages employed by these drawings. An analytical database that records - in a first step - ca. 1800 engineering drawings has been created in the context of the Archimedes Project and made publicly available on the internet following the open acces policy of the Institute: http://dmd.mpiwg-berlin.mpg.de. First results of our interpretative work have been recently published in: Wolfgang Lefè vre (ed.): Picturing Machines 1400-1700. Cambridge/MA (MIT Press) 2004.