saint lambert

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VAL-SAINT-LAMBERT

This factory was founded in 1826 on the grounds of a former Cistercian abbey, that goes back to the 13th century. At the end of the 18th century the abbey was desecrated. The crystal factory was founded 30 years later. The chapter hall and the scriptorium were renovated and are still in use to this day. With the participation at the World Fair in Antwerp in 1894 with the “Vase of the Nine Provinces” Val-Saint-Lambert became a household name world wide. The vast majority of the production was exported. Val-Saint-Lambert had wealthy customers all over the world. The Russion Czar family among them.

At its centennial in 1926 the factory employed over 5000 people!

At the time of my visit to the part of the factory that had already been abandoned for several years, the remediation of the grounds had already started and large parts of the factory had been demolished. Other than the small storage building, there was not much left. This building had decayed beatifully, which made it a nice, albeit short explore…

Émilie du Châtelet

Art by Fiona Hill (tumblr)

Émilie is best known for her 1759 translation of Isaac Newton’s Principia Mathematica.  It is still the leading French translation today.   A close romantic and professional companion of Voltaire, Émilie wrote on a wide variety of subjects including mathematics, physics, philosophy, and female education.

In 1737, Émilie published a paper on the nature of fire which foresaw the discovery of infrared radiation by William Hershel in 1800.  Frustrated by the lack of cohesion between the work of Isaac Newton and the work of Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz, Émilie combined elements of both along with the work of other scientists in Institutions de Physique.  Created as a textbook for her thirteen year old son, the book was published anonymously in 1740 and soon became popular in France.  

On September 4, 1749, Émilie gave birth to her fourth child, a daughter named Stanislas-Adélaïde du Châtelet, the biological daughter of the poet Jean François de Saint-Lambert.  A week later, Émilie died from a pulmonary embolism at the age of 42.

Émilie du Châtelet (17 December 1706 – 10 September 1749)

Gabrielle Émilie le Tonnelier de Breteuil, marquise du Châtelet was a French mathematician, physicist, and author. She is most known for her translation and commentary on Newton’s Principia Mathematica which was published in 1759 after her death, and is still considered the standard French translation. This work contributed to the shift in France away from an acceptance of Cartesian physics, and towards the embracing of Newtonian physics. While her primary interest was in natural philosophy, she also worked in ethics, theology, and the source of human happiness, with her non scientific work occasionally touching on the subject of women’s social roles and their education. 

Émilie du Châtelet was born in Paris in 1706 as the only girl amongst six children. Her father recognized her brilliance early, and arranged for her education with Fontenelle, the secretary of the French Academie des Sciences. She entered an arranged marriage at age 19 in 1725, which conferred her the title of Marquise du Chastellet, with whom she had three children. She later resumed her mathematical studies in 1733 at 26. 

Châtelet lived an interesting personal life, and is known for having an affair and working relationship with Voltaire who lived with her in her country house at Cirey-sur-Blaise (her husband was apparently quite tolerant of this situation). These were some of Châtelet’s most productive years, and was where she and Voltaire collaborated with one another in a laboratory set up in the home. In 1748, she began an affair with the Marquis de Saint-Lambert and became pregnant. Voltaire and her were still close at this time, and with his and Saint-Lambert’s help manage to convince her husband that it was his child. However following the birth, she died at the age of 43. 

If I were king, I would redress an abuse which cuts back, as it were, one half of human kind. I would have women participate in all human rights, especially those of the mind.”