Sunday 12 February 2023

The History of Scientific Instruments: Book Recommendations on the Theme

If you're interested in old scientific instruments, you can visit museums, you can buy interesting instruments at auction, or you can browse antique shops and fairs. But if you want to know about the history or their development, and the people who made them, you can do no better than reading a good book on the subject.

There are plenty of books to choose from, so which are the best? I've picked five books that I consider to be some of the best on the subject, and I'm pleased to be featured again on the excellent book discovery website,, where you can find my recommendations, and my reasons for recommending the books, here. You can also browse books by topic or author, and you can explore themed booksheves, where you can find author recommendations on a theme such as science or physics.

If you have a particular interest in optical instruments and the people who made them, take a look at Brass and Glass: Optical Instruments and Their Makers.

This is an encyclopaedia of optical instruments, and the individuals and companies who have made them, from the earliest to the end of the 20th century. It contains over 2000 alphabetical entries, including:

Optical instrument makers and brands; Telescopes; Binoculars; Microscopes; Cameras; Navigation instruments; Surveying instruments; Military optical ordnance; Laboratory & educational instruments; Scientific Instruments; Optical terminology.

There are appendices containing information on selected related subjects such as optical glass and eyepiece designs.

Whether your interest is as a collector, curator, or historian, or simple curiosity, this book is a valuable resource.