Donald MacKenzie, 11 December 1997
Show More Engineering the Revolution: Arms and Enlightenment in France, 1763-1815 by Ken Alder.
Princeton, 494 pp., £45, April 1997, 0 691 02671 8Show More
“... In July 1785, Thomas Jefferson, then American Ambassador to France, paid a visit to the dungeon of the Château de Vincennes. Its three-metre-thick walls had previously imprisoned Diderot and the Marquis de Sade. Now, however, it housed the workshop of a gunsmith, Honoré Blanc, and a dozen assistants. As Jefferson watched, Blanc sorted into bins the pieces of 50 musket flintlocks: ‘tumblers, lock plates, frizzens, pans, cocks, sears, bridals, screws and springs ...”