Growth of Science and Technology 1700-1740

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Seventeen hundred to seventeen hundred and forty is not very well known for its technological feats. The science world was still in shock and adjusting to the publishing of calculus and laws of motion by Sir Isaac Newton in 1666. One might say that it was the calm before the storm of the nineteenth century, but that does not mean that nothing happened. During this time period a few key developments that led to further growth did occur: the seed drill, a steam engine, the mercury thermometer, among others.

In 1701, the seed drill was invented by a lawyer/farmer named Jethro Tull. Prior to the seed drill all seeds had to be planted by hand, either by manually making a hole and planting it, or by randomly scattering seeds on the ground. The seed drill was famous for enabling a farmer to sow seeds in uniform rows and cover up the seed in the rows. The first prototype seed drill was built from the foot pedals of Jethro Tull's local church organ (Jethro Tull (1674 – 1740)).

In 1712, the atmospheric steam engine was patented by Thomas Newcomen. This was an improvement on Thomas Savery's first engine which was crude. The Newcomen steam engine used the force of atmospheric pressure to do the work; it pumped steam in a cylinder. The steam was then condensed by cold water which created a vacuum on the inside of the cylinder. It was this vacuum that powered a piston. Newcomen's steam engine was the predecessor to the Watt steam engine which helped in ushering about the industrial revolution (The History of Steam Engines).

In seventeen hundred and twenty four, the mercury thermometer was invented by Gabriel Fahrenheit. Before the seventeenth century, there was no way to quantify heat, only measure changes in heat. Daniel Gabriel Fahrenheit set out to fix that. He started by inventing the alcohol thermometer in seventeen hundred and nine and improved upon that by inventing the mercury thermometer fifteen years later in seventeen hundred and twenty four. A thermometer...
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