Grace's Guide

British Industrial History

Grace's Guide is the leading source of historical information on industry and manufacturing in Britain. This web publication contains 144,279 pages of information and 230,174 images on early companies, their products and the people who designed and built them.

Pierre Fardoil

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1697 machine (Inv. No. 1240) on display at the Musée des Arts et Metiers
1697 machine
1715 'machine a tailler les roues' (wheel cutting machine) (Inv. No. 1226) on display at the Musee des Arts et Metiers
1715 'machine a tailler les roues'

Pierre Fardoil was an ingenious French maker of scientific instruments and small precision machine tools

Fardoil may have been the first person in France to produce a gear wheel cutting machine. He has also been credited as being one of the first, if not the first, to use an endless screw to operate a tool carriage. This was on a 1715 fusee-cutting machine.[1]. In fact an earlier example of a machine with a screw-traversed tool holder was described by Plumier ('Machine à manche a couteaux d’Angleterre' - see Early Planing Machines).

The Musée des Arts et Metiers have several other small Fardoil machines on display, including two sophisticated file-cutting machines dated at c.1700 (Inv. Nos. 1217 & 1220), and these machines:-

  • A small machine dated 1697, apparently for turning fusees (Inv. No. 1240). See photo.
  • A machine dated at 1715, described as a 'machine a tailler les roues' (wheel cutting machine) (Inventory No. 1226), is on display at the Musée des Arts et Metiers. See photos above, and excellent zoomable photo here. The machine has the hand-cranked milling cutter typical of early gear wheel cutting machines, the dividing wheel is a small diameter drum rather than the usual circular plate. More interesting is the fact that the machine is also a lathe. Note the hand tool rest and the pulley for a drive belt.
  • A 1715 machine described as a wheel dividing machine (Inv. No. 1231).
  • Apparatus dated 1715 machine described as tools for mounting springs in watch barrels (Outils pour monter les ressorts dans les barillets de montre). (Inv. No. 1241)


See Also

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Sources of Information

  1. 'Scientific Instruments of the 17th & 18th Centuries and their Makers' by Maurice Daumas, translated by Dr Mary Holbrook, Portman Books, 1972