Contexts 1750 to 1800

1750 - 1800
Physics related to temperature and heat
1761 Latent heat and specific heat described by Joseph Black
1787 Charles' Law established (gases)
1798 Rumford discovers the link between heat and friction
Other Sciences

1752 Nicolas Desmarest put forward a theory that England and France were once connected by a land bridge
Joseph Black discovers carbon dioxide
1753 The British Museum is Founded January 11 The will of English physician and naturalist Sir Hans Sloane bequeathes his collection of 70,000 objects, including a library, and an herbarium to Britain as the basis for the British Museum.
1758 Binomial Nomenclature for Animals Carl Linnaeus publishes the tenth edition of his Systema Naturae, in which he introduces binomial nomenclature for animal species. Using this system, he names, and therefore classifies, all animal species known at this time.
1772 Discovery that Growing Plants Restore Air Vitiated by Combustion or Respiration British theologian, Dissenting clergyman, natural philosopher, educator, and political theorist Joseph Priestley publishes "Observations on different kinds of air" in the Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society. This is his first paper on the subject, reporting the results of his pneumatic researches since 1770. These included the isolation and identification of nitric oxide and anhydrous hydrochloric acid gases, the discovery that growing plants restored air vitiated by combustion or animal respiration, and the discovery of "nitrous air" (nitrous oxide).
1766 Hydrogen discovered by Henry Cavendish
1774 Joseph Priestley discovered dephlogisticated air, which Antoine Lavoisier would later rename oxygene
1775 Development of geology as a separate branch of science
1775 Hydrochloric and sulphuric acids discovered by Joseph Priestley1776 Lavoisier invented oxygen cutting of metals
1777 Antoine Lavoisier put forward the idea of chemical compounds, composed of more than one element
1779 Discovery of Photosynthesis Physician Jan Ingen-Housz publishes Experiments upon Vegetables, Discovering their Great Power of Purifying the Common Air in the Sunshine, and of Injuring it in the Shade and at Night. While investigating Joseph Priestley's discovery made in 1771 that plants could "restore" air made unfit for respiration through combusion or putrefaction, Ingen-Housz became the first to observe and elucidate the processes of photosynthesis and plant respiration. In his Experiments upon Vegetables, Ingen-Housz established that only the green parts of a plant give off the "restoring" gas (oxygen), and only when exposed to visible sunlight. He also found that plants, "like animals, exhibit respiration, that respiration continues day and night, and that all parts of the plant-- green as well as nongreen, flowers and fruit as well as roots-- take part in the process.
1780 Johann Dobereiner observes some similarities between elements, the first indications of periodicity
1783 Self-winding clock patented by Benjamin Hanks1786 Philosopher Immanuel Kant states that chemistry is not a proper science
1784 The Effect of Gravity on Light English natural philosopher and geology John Michell publishes in the Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society Vol. 74, Pt. 1 "On the Means of discovering the Distance, Magnitude &c. of the Fixed Stars, in consequence of the Diminution of the Velocity of their Light, in case such a Diminution should be found to take place in any of them, and such other Data should be procured from Observations, as would be farther necessary for that Purpose."
1787 Werner established a classification of rock formations which is regarded as the basis of descriptive petrography. He also proposed a theory of neptunism which stated that igneous and metamorphic rocks derive from a marine origin
1796 Edward Jenner creates a vaccine for smallpox
1798 The existence of black holes is first predicted by Laplace
1798 The mass of the Earth is determined by Cavendish


1764 Hargreaves Invents the Spinning Jenny James Hargreaves invents the spinning jenny, which spins eight threads simultaneously. This is a major step toward what will be called the Industrial Revolution.
1768 - 1771 Encyclopaedia Britannica Begins "A Society of Gentlemen in Scotland" based in Edinburgh publishes in 100 fascicules issued weekly the Encyclopaedia Britannica; or a Dictionary of Arts and Sciences Compiled upon a New Plan in which the different Sciences and Arts and digest into distinct Treatsies or Systems; and the various Technical Terms etc. are explained as they occur in the order of the Alphabets. Illustrated with One Hundred and Sixty Copperplates.
1770 James Cook lands at Botany Bay, Australia
1775 Industrial Revolution in England starts; this is a boom time for invention and mechanisation
1776 The Age of "Laissez-Faire" Scottish Economist and moral philosopher Adam Smith publishes An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations. This work argues "that the free market, while appearing chaotic and unrestrained, is actually guided to produce the right amount and variety of goods by a so-called "invisible hand". . . . Smith believed that while human motives were often driven by selfishness and greed, the competition in the free market would tend to benefit society as a whole by keeping prices low, while still building in an incentive for a wide variety of goods and services. Nevertheless, he was wary of businessmen and argued against the formation of monopolies.
1781 Technology Leading to Disruptive Economic and Social Change
Richard Arkwright builds a factory for his hydraulic spinning machine, one of the first developments of mass production, which will eventually cause disruptive economic and social changes characteristic of the Industrial Revolution.
1782 German geographer Crome produces the first thematic map, showing economic production data across Europe
1791 Faster than a Messenger on Horseback March 2 Claude Chappe his brother send the first transmission over their optical telegraph: “si vous reussissez, vous serez bientôt couvert de gloire” (If you succeed, you will soon bask in glory). The initial experimental line runs between Brulon and Parce, a distance of ten miles (16 km).
1791 Peal patents the waterproofing of fabrics with a rubber solution
1793 The First Free Public Library By an act of the revolutionary French National Convention, the Bibliotheque Nationale de France becomes the first free public library in the world.
1795 Invention of Modern Pencil Lead During the Napoleonic wars, France, under naval blockade imposed by Great Britain, is unable to import pure graphite sticks from England. Nor can France import English pencils or the inferior German pencils. To solve this problem, Nicholas Jacques Conté, an officer in Napoleon's army, discovers a method of mixing powdered graphite with clay and forming the mixture into rods that are fired in a kiln. By varying the ratio of graphite to clay, the hardness of the graphite rod can also be varied. "This method of [pencil lead] manufacture which had been earlier discovered by the Austrian Joseph Hardtmuth of Koh-I-Noor in 1790 remains in use."
1798 Malthus on Population
Economist and demographer Thomas Malthus publishes An essay on the Principle of Population, as it Affects the Future Improvement of Society.
1798 - 1799 The First Paper-Making Machine Louis-Nicolas Robert invents the first paper-making machine. It makes a continuous, unbroken sheet of paper that must later be cut. Because of disagreements between Robert and his partners, St. Leger and Francois Didot, and also because of financial disruptions caused by the French Revolution, it will be difficult for Robert to make the necessary improvements to the paper machine, and Francois Didot will attempt to have it developed in England.

1775 The American Revolutionary War Begins April 17 The American Revolutionary War begins with the rides of Paul Revere and William Dawes on April 17 and the battles of Lexington and Concord the following day.
1789 Bastille Day July 14 The French Revolution begins.