Marcus Popplow



Marcus Popplow took a masters degree in History and German Language and Literature at the University of Bremen in 1992. His M.A. thesis on the meaning of Latin "machina" in the Middle Ages and the Early Modern Period was awarded the Rudolf-Kellermann-Prize for the History of Technology 1993. His Ph.D. Thesis (Neu, nützlich und erfindungsreich, Münster 1998) analyzed Renaissance engineers' discourses on technology. From 1997 to 2002 he worked at the Max-Planck-Institute for the History of Science (Berlin) in the project "The Relation of Practical Experience and Conceptual Structures in the Emergence of Science: Mental Models in the History of Mechanics" (Department 1, director: Jürgen Renn). The focus of his work was on knowledge systems in early modern engineering, one of the results is the "database engineering drawings" (, an ongoing project with Wolfgang Lefèvre, still continuously updated. In 2001, together with Hermann Schlimme (Biblioteca Hertziana), he was responsible for the project design of the research project "Epistemic History of Architecture". From 2002 to 2005 he worked at the Brandenburg Technical University (Cottbus) in a project studying the commodification of natural resources in the eighteenth-century economic enlightenment. Since 2005, he is pursuing his research interests as author and independent scholar for academic and private institutions.
Main interests concern the history of technology, science, and the environment in medieval and early modern Europe with special emphasis on engineering, the eighteenth-century economic enlightenment, and early modern transport history. He has taught related subjects at the Technical University Berlin, Brandenburg Technical University (Cottbus), and Salzburg University.
He is editor for topics of "engineering" and "land transportation" in the multi-volume "Enzyklopädie der Neuzeit 1450-1850" and member of the cooperation programs "From Natural Philosophy to Science" (European Science Foundation, ESF), and "Images en capitales. Etude des cultures de l’image politique et technique, Paris-Vienne, fin XVIIe – début XIXe siècles. He is also member of the program committee of the German Society for the History of Technology (GTG).

For additional information and selected publications available as downloads see



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Database Machine Drawings 1200-1650 (with Wolfgang Lefèvre)

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Models of Machines - a „Missing Link“ Between Early Modern Engineering and Mechanics? (=Preprint 225 Max-Planck-Institut für Wissenschaftsgeschichte), Berlin 2002.

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Why Draw Pictures of Machines? The Social Contexts of Early Modern Machine Drawings, in Wolfgang Lefèvre (ed.), Picturing Machines 1400-1700, Cambridge/M., MIT Press, 2004, pp. 17-48.

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