Making chains, 1751-1765.
© Science Museum / Science & Society Picture Library
Engraving by Desehrt. Plate from Diderot's 'Encyclopedie, ou Dictionnaire Raisonne des Sciences, des Arts et des Metiers', (Encyclopedia or Dictionary of the Sciences, Arts and Profesions) published in 14 volumes between 1751 and 1765. Denis Diderot (1713-1784) was a French man of letters who courted controversy with his various publications. His 'Pensees Philosophiques' was burned by the Parliament of Paris in 1746, and in 1749 he was imprisoned for his 'Lettre sur les Aveugles'. The 'Grand Encyclopedie' was more than a summary of all contemporary knowledge, it served as a manifesto for a new way of looking at the world by depicting and describing many of the instruments and proceses which transformed the world during the Industrial Revolution.