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    Re: French Lunar story
    From: Frank Reed
    Date: 2013 Jan 12, 13:31 -0800

    Alex, just in case you've forgotten about this source, if you dig through your files, you may recall that I provided you with a pdf copy of Frédéric Marguet's history of 19th century navigation which has good detail on the French contribution. This was originally pointed out to NavList many years ago by Wolfgang Köberer.

    You can find links to two books by Marguet in the index of historical navigation books right on the main NavList web page. Go here: http://www.fer3.com/arc/navbooks2.html
    Then scroll down to "Marguet" about three-quarters of the way down the page. His "Histoire générale de la navigation du XVe au XXe siècle" published in 1931 is the better of the two. For a few years, this was not available online. Apparently, whoever maintains that web site may have decided they did not need to worry about copyright.

    Two quick thoughts: For quite a few years, the French CdT published the lunar distance tables from the British Nautical Almanac almost unmodified. They adjusted them for the longitude of Paris by the expedient of changing the time entry at the top of each column. Also, though the French had the mathematicians, they apparently had few practitioners. You may recall that the Baron de Zach in his "newsy" journal marveled at the fact that even the "black cook" on the American yacht "Cleopatra's Barge" could work lunars while they were almost unheard of on "our" (French) ships. This was in 1819, if I remember correctly, so the baron may have been a little behind the times in his judgement in this case.

    -FER


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