Collections of scientific instruments originated as part of Renaissance collections of 'naturalia' and 'artificialia'. Surveying and astronomical instruments were common in such collections, their role being to impress visitors by displaying the power that a ruler acquired through the control of nature. This book offers selected studies of notable European collections of scientific instruments from the sixteenth to eighteenth centuries. These studies also present the work of important instrument makers of the time, and their relations with patrons and rulers. A final section focuses on the role of modern museums and collectors in saving this scientific heritage from dispersal. The result is a contemporary perspective on the formation of the most important museums of the history of science.
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