O'Reilly logo

The Geek Atlas by John Graham-Cumming

Stay ahead with the world's most comprehensive technology and business learning platform.

With Safari, you learn the way you learn best. Get unlimited access to videos, live online training, learning paths, books, tutorials, and more.

Start Free Trial

No credit card required

017

Musée des Arts et Métiers, Paris, France

gkat_017.pdf48° 51 58 N, 2° 21 19 E

icon_indoors.pdf icon_kids.pdf

Science Before and After the French Revolution

Britain and Germany may contest the title of best science museum with the London Science Museum and Munich Deutsches Museum (see Chapters 77 and 19, respectively), but France’s Musée des Arts et Métiers (Museum of Arts and Trades) boasts of being the oldest (it was founded in 1794), and has a superb collection of devices dating from before 1750 to the present day.

The museum, situated in an 800-year-old priory, has a collection covering scientific instruments, materials, construction, communications, energy, mechanics, and transport.

The scientific instrument collection recounts the history of the creation of the metric system (with the meter, liter, and gram). The meter was to be one ten-millionth of the distance along the meridian from the North Pole to the Equator (running through Paris, of course), and when calculations were made in 1793 the meter was defined (with an error of 5 millimeters; see Chapter 8 for more on the meridian and meter). The gram was the weight of a cubic centimeter of water, and a liter was the volume of a cube with 10-centimeter sides. ...

With Safari, you learn the way you learn best. Get unlimited access to videos, live online training, learning paths, books, interactive tutorials, and more.

Start Free Trial

No credit card required