Contemporary cartographers, astrologists,
mechanics, and engineers are indebted to one eighteenth-century scientist,
George Adams (1704-72). Commissioned by the king of England as “Mathematical
Instrument-Maker to the King,” George Adams was given the resources to make
strides and publish his findings, enabling advancements in many scientific
The royal court's interest in physics developed,
in part, as a military tactic. Conducting a detailed geographical land survey
allowed them to subdue the Scottish clans and gain control of the highlands. But
Adams' instruments and expertise amassed more than land. George Adams is thought
to be the predecessor of two significant globe-making pioneers, John Senex and
James Ferguson. He created models of the solar system, mechanical pulleys, the
hydraulic screw, and a compound engine.
George Adams' sons, George Adams, Jr. (1750-95)
and Dudley Adams (1762-1830), continued the family business as instrument and
globe makers in London; and the Adams' expertise and practical applications are
still used today.
From his Essays on Electricity to An
Essay on the Use of Celestial and Terrestrial Globes, Adams'
observations continue to intrigue and inspire.
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