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10 random inventions of the XVIIIth century 5
By Clotilde Malzac

  1. 1709

    The piano

    "The first piano was created by the Italian Bartolomeo Cristofori (1644-1731). He was was employed by Ferdinando de Medici, Grand Prince of Tuscany, as the Keeper of the Instruments. Between 1709 and 1726, he made more than twenty pianos."

  2. 1714

    The typewriter

    "Henry Mill (1683-1771) is an English inventor who patented the first typewriter in the world in 1714. He was working for the New River Company as engineer."

  3. 1744

    The street light

    "Dominique-François Bourgeois (1697-1781), a French watchmaker who was working with Vaucanson, invented the first street light in 1744."

  4. 1747

    The raincoat

    "In 1732, King Louis XV sent the French engineer François Fresneau to Guyana, to rebuild the fortifications of Cayenne. He must also study unknown plants. Fresneau finds in Cayenne the scientist La Condamine. From an exploration on the Amazon River, he reported samples of a vegetal gum used by the natives: this is latex, coming from a tree that he has never seen. Fresneau finds himself in search of this mysterious tree which gives this rubber to the precious virtues. A few years later, in 1747, while riding the Mataruni River in a canoe, he finally discovered, in large numbers on the shores, the long-sought-after tree, the Hevea brasiliensis. He cuts the bark of a trunk to collect the sap, and then covers a pair of cardboard boots and an old coat with this liquid gum. He manufactures the first rubber boots and the first raincoat. Returning to France, Fresneau studies a treatment to preserve all its elasticity to the latex."

  5. 1752

    The lightning rod

    "In 1749, Benjamin Franklin noted the similarity between lightning and the electric spark: the same color, odor, rapidity, power to melt metals. Since both are attracted by spikes, he proposes to place on a height a light construction surmounted by a high iron rod “able to draw the electricity from the clouds” and thus protect from lightning houses and ships. At this point is connected a wire descending to the ground. >From this device, Franklin designs the lightning conductor, and highlights the protective importance of the connection to the earth. Franklin’s experiment was successfully completed on May 10, 1752. In September 1752 Franklin sends a kite into the air and drives electricity along a rope to reduce the power of the storm clouds that the spikes can not reach. power of the storm. In 1753 Franklin erected a lightning rod on his own house. As early as 1754, the use of the lightning rod spread."

  6. 1762

    The sandwich

    "To be exact, it was in 1762 that Sir John Montagu, fourth Earl of Sandwich, admiral of the fleet of the English King George III and inveterate player, found himself in a pub for a party of cards that did not end . To avoid his prestigious client to interrupt his party, the assistant cook made him a little snack. The two slices of bread, between which he had placed pieces of cold meat and cheese, also had the advantage of allowing the First Lord of the Admiralty to nibble without staining his fingers ... The sandwich was born. So Sir John Montagu did not really invent the sandwich but gave it his name."

  7. 1769-1770

    The first automobile : the Cugnot fardier

    "Supported by the Duke of Choiseul, Louis XV’s Minister of War, Joseph Cugnot (1725-1804), a military engineer, made a prototype of what would be the first automobile in history. The trollies carry heavy loads. In the eighteenth century, scientists sought to motorize these vehicles. Equipped with three wheels and a high-pressure boiler at the front, Joseph Cugnot’s steamer can carry a 5 t load at a speed of 4 km / h. Tested at the end of 1770, the “trolley à feu” runs a few meters, limited by the weakness of the boiler and the absence of a real braking device. The prototype is improved and used in artillery from 1771, but its slowness does not allow it to replace the horses. He accompanies only the army on the march."

  8. 1783

    The hot air balloon

    "Joseph and Etienne Montgolfier, two brothers from a papermaking family, were the first to have concretized one of the oldest dreams of man: to rise in the air.Joseph Montgolfier had the idea of ​​inventing a hot air balloon in November 1782. Between 1782 and 1783, the two brothers multiplied the research and made preliminary tests in their manufacture of Vidalon. The first official flight of their hot air balloon took place on 4 June 1783 on the Place des Cordeliers in Annonay in the Ardèche. Their prototype hot air balloon, made of canvas and paper and inflated with warm air, rises to nearly 1000 meters and travels 2 kilometers in 10 minutes. On September 19, 1783, the Montgolfier brothers set off on a hot air balloon with three domestic animals: a cock, a duck and a sheep. In front of the courtyard united by Louis XVI, these first passengers of air rise to an altitude of 600 meters and land near Versailles."

  9. 1783

    The parachute

    "Louis-Sébastien Lenormand (May 25, 1757 – April 4, 1837) was a French chemist, physicist, inventor and the world’s first pioneer in modern sport parachuting. He is considered as the first man to make a witnessed descent with a parachute and is also credited with coining the term parachute, from the Latin prefix para meaning “against”, an imperative form of parare = to avoid, avert, defend, resist, guard, shield or shroud, from paro = to parry, and the French word chute for “fall”, hence the word “parachute” literally means an aeronautic device “against a fall”. After making a jump from a tree with the help of a pair of modified umbrellas, Lenormand refined his contraption and on December 26, 1783 jumped from the tower of the Montpellier observatory in front of a crowd that included Joseph Montgolfier, using a 14-foot parachute with a rigid wooden frame. His intended use for the parachute was to help entrapped occupants of a burning building to escape unharmed."

  10. 1795

    The pencil

    "In 1794, when France was in full revolution and war against England, Nicolas Jacques Conté was charged with finding an alternative to the graphite mi nes produced by England in response to the economic blockade. He had the idea of ​​mixing graphite with clay: the modern pencil was born. It is thanks to this invention that it is then possible to have different gradations of the mines. N.J. Conté obtained a patent for his invention in 1795 and, with the help of his brother, set up a small pencil factory in France. At the death of the inventor in 1805, his work was taken up by his son-in-law and the descendants of the latter, who subsequently improved the processes and created a range of coloring pencils. These are the famous Conté pencils !"

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