Market knowledge : the philosophic instrument trade in eighteenth-century England
This thesis examines the role of philosophic instrument-makers within the eighteenth-century philosophic instrument trade in Britain. The instrument-maker functioned in both the realms of the philosophic elite and the burgeoning eighteenth-century public marketplace. Faced with the task of balancing the contradictory scholarly expectations of natural philosophers and the monetary pressures of the public market, these craftsmen employed sophisticated marketing strategies to reconcile these opposing realms. This project examines the careers of several London instrument-makers and their attempts to gain and maintain solid standing among philosophic circles, while using that standing to their commercial advantage in the instrument trade. By examining the way instrument-makers marketed their products one can glean insight into the role philosophic credibility played in shaping the successful instrument makers’ career and how the materials of experimental philosophy were promoted to a public increasingly interested in consuming natural philosophy. This enquiry addresses several types of marketing techniques employed by instrument-makers in their efforts to sell their wares. However, patenting strategies receive particularly close attention as they reveal the tension found between the scholarly expectations among the philosophic elite and the commercial priority of the public marketplace.
History, History of Science, Eighteenth-Century England, Natural Philosophy
Master of Arts (M.A.)