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Between the Workshop and the Laboratory: Lavoisier’s Network of Instrument Makers

Throughout his career, Lavoisier paid particular attention to the apparatuses he intended to use in his experimental pursuits. Lavoisier engaged many instrument makers in Paris, the French provinces, and abroad, and he made several efforts, more or less successful, to design a new environment for chemical experimentation. In addition to working with famous instrument makers such as Fortin, Mégnié, and Ramsden, Lavoisier had his instruments made by more than seventy other different makers. In this essay, I outline their contributions and make a preliminary attempt to establish their role in the design of Lavoisier’s instruments and in the changes that occurred in chemical experimentation.