The mine and the furnace: Francis Bacon, Thomas Russell, and early Stuart mining culture

Pastorino, Cesare (2009) The mine and the furnace: Francis Bacon, Thomas Russell, and early Stuart mining culture. Early Science and Medicine, 14 (5). pp. 630-660. ISSN 1383-7427

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Abstract

Notwithstanding Francis Bacon's praise for the philosophical role of the mechanical arts, historians have often downplayed Bacon's connections with actual artisans and entrepreneurs. Addressing the specific context of mining culture, this study proposes a rather different picture. The analysis of a famous mining metaphor in The Advancement of Learning shows us how Bacon's project of reform of knowledge could find an apt correspondence in civic and entrepreneurial values of his time. Also, Bacon had interesting and so far unexplored links with the early modern English mining enterprises, like the Company of Mineral and Battery Works, of which he was a shareholder. Moreover, Bacon's notes in a private notebook, Commentarius Solutus, and records of patents of invention, allow us to start grasping Bacon's connections with the metallurgist and entrepreneur Thomas Russell. Lastly, this paper argues that, to fully understand Bacon's links with the world of Stuart technicians and entrepreneurs, it is necessary to consider a different and insufficiently studied aspect of Bacon's interests, namely his work as patents referee while a Commissioner of Suits.

Item Type: Article
Schools and Departments: School of History, Art History and Philosophy > History
Subjects: D History General and Old World > DA History of Great Britain
Depositing User: Cesare Pastorino
Date Deposited: 06 Feb 2012 18:36
Last Modified: 27 Jul 2012 14:50
URI: http://srodev.sussex.ac.uk/id/eprint/17323
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