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"...with mathematic precision"
On the Historiography of the Dynamometer

Christof Windgätter



The following presentation is focused on the technology, operation and materiality of a rather specific device in a likewise specific period of time: the dynamometer as a means to measure human force in nineteenth century physiology. The corresponding scene for this instrument is the laboratory, not tied to scientific methods alone, but in its different indoor/outdoor-, institutional/individual-settings. As a typically modern space for the production of knowledge it opposes the traditional study and the forthcoming consulting room with their skeptical, even denying attitude towards equipment, machines or motors. In these various spaces of knowledge, the dynamometer contributed to establish different kinds of measuring, writing/reading and timing procedures.

Reference: Windgätter, Christof. 2005. "...with mathematic precision" - On the Historiography of the Dynamometer. The Virtual Laboratory (ISSN 1866-4784), http://vlp.mpiwg-berlin.mpg.de/references?id=enc42