References related to Scientific Instruments

As an aid to SIC web site users, this page provides links to reference materials and other sources of information related to scientific instruments. These links are not intended to endorse a particular source, but only to consolidate selected URL's in a single location as a matter of convenience.

  • Online Scientific Instrument Trade Catalogues - The importance of trade catalogues cannot be underestimated by instrument historians, museum curators and collectors. These catalogues often allow us to recognise instruments, to know their original prices, their technical characteristics, and to have sometimes precious information about their manufacturers. Unfortunately, trade catalogues had been often considered as ephemeral “grey literature” and therefore they had been very often eliminated or forgotten in libraries, observatories, and laboratories, where they can be quite difficult to locate. But in the last years a few important scientific institutions, museums, and private collectors have scanned their collections of catalogues to make them available via the web.
  • Websters’ Instrument Makers Database - This database of instrument makers, or more precisely of their signatures, is a product of many years of research by Roderick and Marjorie Webster, longtime curators of the collection of scientific instruments at Chicago’s Adler Planetarium & Astronomy Museum.
  • Back issues of the (Volumes 1-81, 1984-2004) are provided for personal and non-commercial use only, for promoting research into and furthering the understanding of scientific instruments, in pursuance of the charitable objectives of the SIS.
  • Board of Longitude Project - This project, a partnership between Cambridge University Library, the National Maritime Museum and the AHRC-funded Board of Longitude Project, presents fully digitised versions of the complete archive and associated materials (including instruments), alongside detailed metadata, contextual essays, video, educational resources and hundreds of links through to relevant objects in the National Maritime Museum's online collections.
  • The Transits of Venus Project - A project initiated by the Scientific Instrument Commission. This website describes historical instruments and offers many Transits images.
  • Online eJournals - Online publications focused on the study of scientific instruments.
  • SIC Cumulative Bibliography - An online database of books, pamphlets, catalogues and articles on or connected with historical studies on scientific instruments.

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RETE mailing list

RETE is a mailing list devoted to the history of scientific instruments. It is open to all interested parties – curators, historians, students, collectors, and dealers alike. Subscribers can use it to ask questions about particular instruments or types of instrument, to announce exhibitions, meetings and conferences, to draw attention to printed or electronic publications, and so on. The list should not, however, be used for commercial purposes, such as announcing instruments for sale.

For more information about subscribing to this mailing list, please visit the page.

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