Encyclopedia of Early Modern History Online

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Pneumatics
(633 words)

From the 16th century to the 18th, pneumatics (from Greek pneúma, “breath,” “air current”) meant the theory of the movement of aeriform bodies. Initially it constituted a branch of hydraulics, which studied the operation of machines in which the forces of water and air performed work. After the end of the 16th century, we see a systematic distinction between hydraulics and pneumatics; the latter dealt with machines driven by elastic bodies (e.g. bellows in metallurgy), though their use in technology remained marginal. The first inde…

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Wiesenfeldt, Gerhard, “Pneumatics”, in: Encyclopedia of Early Modern History Online, Editors of the English edition: Graeme Dunphy, Andrew Gow. Original German Edition: Enzyklopädie der Neuzeit. Im Auftrag des Kulturwissenschaftlichen Instituts (Essen) und in Verbindung mit den Fachherausgebern herausgegeben von Friedrich Jaeger. Copyright © J.B. Metzlersche Verlagsbuchhandlung und Carl Ernst Poeschel Verlag GmbH 2005–2012. Consulted online on 28 October 2021 <http://dx.doi.org/10.1163/2352-0272_emho_SIM_025632>
First published online: 2015
First print edition: 20200721



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