Antoine de Genssane: Mining, vapors and mineralogy in Eighteenth Century France

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Abstract

In the eighteenth century, as the Industrial Revolution gathered momentum, a new kind of researcher somewhere between scientist and technologist was appearing—the engineer. “Engineer” may be too elegant a word to describe some of these people. Most did not have degrees and belonged to no professional organizations. Yet they took on wide responsibilities. They were not members of guilds, for they stood above that level, and they were not financiers, though they did often invest their own money and searched for funds from the wealthy. In this article I deal with the mining industry, where, as nowhere else, there was a need for technical expertise and a necessity for organization on a relatively large scale.