Mr Bridges’ Enlightenment Machine

Mr Bridges’ Enlightenment Machine

In 1733 a carpenter named Henry Bridges placed and advertisement in the London press. He announced that his giant musical and astronomical clock was on display at his house in Waltham Abbey near London. In the ensuing four decades it became the most widely viewed touring show of its age, visiting much of Britain as well as the Caribbean and North American colonies. It vanished from the record in 1775, but was found in Paris, and after restoration, it now lives in the British Museum. The clock was called The Microcosm, or Little World, as its four storeys described the worlds of art, architecture, commerce and carpentry, as well as playing a range of popular tunes. It was an example of precision technology, was frequently updated to display the latest astronomical discoveries, and acted as a focus for the exchange of ideas, for inspiration to craftsmen, and even for couples to court. It thus encouraged the spread of knowledge of marine navigation and timekeeping, fine art, engineering, and curiosity in its widest sense. Though largely forgotten today, the machine and its huge audience, were central to both the Industrial Revolution and the English Enlightenment.

Skills

Posted on

July 20, 2018

Skills

Posted on

July 20, 2018

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