Meddelelser 2008 - Ole Rømers Venner

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Meddelelser 2008 - Ole Rømers Venner

From these letters we know that the first personal contacts between Christiaan

Huygens and Isaac Thuret resulted in a close cooperation in the care of early

pendulum clocks sent from The Hague. Although we have no direct letters to Thuret,

he is mentioned again and again in Huygens'correspondence in the period between

the latter's return to Holland in June, 16&, and his move to Paris two years later.

Pierre Petitrrgives an obscure description of some construction by Thuret.12 A later

letter reveals that Thuret had designed a remontoireri to increase the accuracy of a

timekeeper, which illustrates the inventiveness of this maker.ra Huygens played down

this achievement, obviously because he himself was involved in a similar endeavour.

Huygens had developed his remontoire for a more precise version of his pendulum

clock to be used for measuring longitude at sea. This had been one of his main aims

from the beginning.ri Thanks to the mediation of his father, again in Paris, Christiaan

Huygens obtained early 1665 from Louis XIV a French patent for his new remontoire

clock.r6 According to a notarial act drawn up in The Hague, Huygens authorized Jean

Chapelain't to dispose of the patent as his representative. Chapelain writes to him on

l3 March 1665, that

......that excellent clockmaker Monsieur Thure! of whom you younielf have said me

much god, visited me yesterday and asked me to offer you his service for

construction of clocks to be used on ships and for their sale and distribution.rE

Within two weeks, Christiaan Huygens agreed.re We do not need to follow the

negotiations about the financial arrangement, and may confine ourselves to

Chapelain's view that Huygens will be served by Thuret 'incomparably better and

with more capacity [. . .l and intelligence than by any other'.20

In the next few months, two clocks with a remontoire ('after your new invention')

made in The Hague arrived safely in Paris.2r In agreement with Huygens' instruction,

Thuret was called upon to install the clocks. As Chapelain wrote to Huygens, Thuret

had noticed that Huygens''secret' was quite similar to his own but that

l9

the

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