Jean de Hautefeuille
French physicist, b. at Orléans, 20 March, 1647; d. there, 18 October, 1724. He was the son of a baker and was brought up in humble circumstances. While a mere boy he attracted the notice of the Duchess of Bouillon and was aided by her in his studies. She proved a generous patroness to him during her life and left him a pension at her death. He travelled in her suite through England and Italy, and received several benefices from her, after his entrance into the ecclesiastical state. He was endowed with an inventive turn of mind, and gave much attention to the practical problems of mechanics and particularly of horology. One of his most important achievements in the improvement of timepieces was the proposal to employ a spiral spring with a balance wheel in place of a pendulum to control the mechanism. Huyghens and Hooke had also made the same suggestion, and each claimed the right of priority. To Huyghens, however, must he given the credit of perfecting the device, and the first watch provided with a hair spring is said to have been made under his direction. In acoustics Hautefeuille investigated the action of speaking trumpets, and wrote an essay on the cause of echoes which was crowned by the Academy of Bordeaux in 1718. He made improvements in lenses, and suggested a method of raising water by the explosive action of gun-powder. The phenomenon of the tides also excited his interest, and he invented an instrument called a thalassameter for their registration.
Though not without genius, Hautefeuille lacked the power of perfecting his inventions. He was too often inclined to publish his ideas prematurely and then abandon them to take up something new. The Paris Academy of Sciences attested the value and usefulness of many of his discoveries, but it never conferred on him the honour of electing him as a member. He was the author of a number of essays an a variety of subjects. Among them may be mentioned: "Explication de l'effet des trompettes parlantes" (1673); "Pendule perpétuelle, avec un moyen d'élever l'eau par la poudre à canon (1678); "L'art de respirer sous l'eau" (1692); "Nouvelle moyen de trouver la déclinaison de l'aiguille aimantée avec une grande précision" (1683); "Microscope micrométrique, gynomon horizontal, et instrument pour prendre les hauteurs des astres" (1703); "Problèmes d'horlogerie" (1719); "Nouveau système du flux et du reflux de la mer" (1719).
More Catholic Encyclopedia
Browse Encyclopedia by Alphabet
The Catholic Encyclopedia is the most comprehensive resource on Catholic teaching, history, and information ever gathered in all of human history. This easy-to-search online version was originally printed in fifteen hardcopy volumes.
Designed to present its readers with the full body of Catholic teaching, the Encyclopedia contains not only precise statements of what the Church has defined, but also an impartial record of different views of acknowledged authority on all disputed questions, national, political or factional. In the determination of the truth the most recent and acknowledged scientific methods are employed, and the results of the latest research in theology, philosophy, history, apologetics, archaeology, and other sciences are given careful consideration.
No one who is interested in human history, past and present, can ignore the Catholic Church, either as an institution which has been the central figure in the civilized world for nearly two thousand years, decisively affecting its destinies, religious, literary, scientific, social and political, or as an existing power whose influence and activity extend to every part of the globe. In the past century the Church has grown both extensively and intensively among English-speaking peoples. Their living interests demand that they should have the means of informing themselves about this vast institution, which, whether they are Catholics or not, affects their fortunes and their destiny.
Browse the Catholic Encyclopedia by Topic
Copyright © Catholic Encyclopedia. Robert Appleton Company New York, NY. Volume 1: 1907; Volume 2: 1907; Volume 3: 1908; Volume 4: 1908; Volume 5: 1909; Volume 6: 1909; Volume 7: 1910; Volume 8: 1910; Volume 9: 1910; Volume 10: 1911; Volume 11: - 1911; Volume 12: - 1911; Volume 13: - 1912; Volume 14: 1912; Volume 15: 1912
Catholic Online Catholic Encyclopedia Digital version Compiled and Copyright © Catholic Online