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Q U I C K   L I N K S

To learn more about the engraver of the 17th-century head-piece pictured to the left, see the IN BRIEF biography for Wenceslaus Hollar.

Fred Blonder, a Longship Captain in the Longship Company, Ltd., has a curious take on Drebbel’s “several wooden-hulled oar-powered submarines” in his lecture for Forward Into the Past’s 4/1/2017 symposium (FITP XXVII), “Viking Submarine Navigation as a possible explanation for the Loch Ness Monster.”

For full bibliographical descriptions of any works cited here, see:

• for pre-20th-century works, She-philosopher.​com’s selected list of Primary Sources

• for 20th-century and 21st-century works, She-philosopher.​com’s selected list of Secondary Sources

For more about forthcoming projects planned for this website, see the PREVIEWS section.


First Published:  November 2012
Revised (substantive):  11 July 2018


Under Construction

S O R R Y,  but this section is still under construction.

17th-century head-piece showing six boys with farm tools, by Wenceslaus Hollar

We apologize for the inconvenience, and hope that you will return to check on its progress another time.

If you have specific questions relating to She-philosopher.com’s ongoing research projects, contact the website editor.

B Y   W A Y   O F   I N T R O D U C T I O N

The famous Jacobean inventor, Cornelis Drebbel (1572–1633), personified the Baconian ideal of natural philosophy in action. His alchemical perspective on the new technoscience was summed up in his motto, “Use Thy Gifts Rightly,” which was inscribed, along with Drebbel’s monogram, on his many instruments and inventions, ranging from: a perpetual-motion machine “representing the motion of the Heavens about the fixed earth,” air conditioning, an incubator, the thermometer, “an instrument to sink ships,” the first microscope, and several different types of camera, to the first sea-worthy submarine, which in 1620 traveled down the Thames from Westminster to Greenwich under the surface of the water, with an 8-person crew and 12 passengers kept alive by Drebbel’s mysterious on-board manufacture of breathable air, 150 years before the “discovery” of oxygen in the early 1770s. A gifted showman, Drebbel was one of the first to deploy natural magic and spectacle (the theater of science) to earn patronage, and to market himself and his inventions. His technological exploits and engineering feats were known across Europe, influencing successive generations of “projectors” and natural philosophers on both sides of the Atlantic, as well as inspiring the science fiction classics written by Sir Francis Bacon (New Atlantis, 1627) and Margaret Cavendish, duchess of Newcastle (The Description of a New World, Called the Blazing World, 1666).

My first webessay introducing Drebbel has been relocated at the subdomain known as Roses (click/tap on the link for “the motto of Cornelis Drebbel (1572–1633), advocating a wise use of technology & automation: ‘Use Thy Gifts Rightly’”). The brief webessay is designed to open in a small, floating 2nd window.

You can also access this brief illustrated introductory essay on Cornelis Drebbel (created 3/15/2015) directly from the annotated list of links at the sitemap for the subdomain Roses​.Communicating​By​Design​.com.

Further discussion of Drebbel was added in June 2018 to my prefatory remarks for Roses’ digital edition (2014) of Thomas Tryon’s The Planter’s Speech to his Neighbours & Country-Men of Pennsylvania, East & West-Jersey (1684). This brief amendment of a blog entry originally posted 5/9/2014 (with continuing interpolations, due to avid interest in historical matters relating to gun rights & gun control as a public health issue in the U.S.) focuses on Drebbel’s contributions to military contracting and his little-known colonial connections.

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go up a level: illustrated title-page for She-philosopher.com’s THE PLAYERS section on Cornelis Drebbel