Alexandre Fortier

Datesabout 1700 - 1770
BornParis, France
DiedParis, France

As a gentleman of leisure, Alexandre Fortier's comfortable fortune allowed him to pursue a variety of scholarly interests, from assembling a small collection of paintings to experimenting with scientific instruments. Although he studied law and mathematics and became a lawyer in the Parlement de Paris, science was his real interest. Fortier published several treatises, the first on thermometers and barometers and another on the movements of the earth, based on the theories of Copernicus. These scientific pursuits led him to build both orrery clocks and planispheres. His scientific instruments were collected by the foremost scientists of his day, including Bonnier de la Moisson, who put one of Fortier's instruments in the chamber devoted to mechanical objects, at the center of a series of rooms devoted to scientific and natural curiosities.