Solomon's House
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Solomon's House

Salomon's House (or Solomon's House) is a fictional institution in Sir Francis Bacon's utopian work New Atlantis, published in English in 1627, the year after Bacon's death. In this work, Bacon portrays a vision of the future of human discovery and knowledge. Salomon's House is credited with being the standard upon which 17th century scientific academies, including the French Académie des Sciences and the English Royal Society, are based.[1]

Historical Context

It is speculated that Bacon was inspired by contemporary men of science Cornelis Drebbel and Salomon de Caus, as well as author and courtier Sir Thomas Chaloner.[1]

According to the "Note on the Texts" in the revised critical edition,[2] the original 1627 edition published by Bacon's literary executor William Rawley has "King Solamona" and "Salomon's House", while the 1658 and 1670 editions (long after Bacon's death) have "King Salomona" and "Solomon's House." The idea inspired followers like Samuel Hartlib and Robert Boyle and led to the Royal Society of 1660.

Description of Salomon's House

A Father of Salomon's House explains the founding of Salomon's House by King Solamona:

"Ye shall understand (my dear friends) that amongst the excellent acts of that king, one above all hath the pre-eminence. It was the erection and institution of an Order or Society, which we call "Salomon's House"; the noblest foundation (as we think) that ever was upon the earth; and the lanthorn of this kingdom. It is dedicated to the study of the Works and Creatures of God. Some think it beareth the founder's name a little corrupted, as if it should be Solamona's House. But the records write it as it is spoken. So as I take it to be denominate of the King of the Hebrews, which is famous with you, and no stranger to us."[3]

Exposition on Salomon's House is divided into four major sections: purpose, structures and equipment, roles, and ordinances and rites.[3]

Purpose

The purpose of Salomon's House, or "end of [the] foundation,"[3] is as stated: "The End of our Foundation is the knowledge of Causes, and secret motions of things; and the enlarging of the bounds of Human Empire, to the effecting of all things possible."[3]

A rough modern translation is "[Salomon's House's] purpose is to discover natural laws and to apply this knowledge to engineering, medicine, agriculture, eugenics, etc., for the benefit of the human race."[4]

Structures and Equipment

Salomon's House in Bensalem includes the following structures and materials in order as presented in the text:[3][4]

Salomon's House Structure[3] Materials[3] Purpose[3] Modern Equivalent[4]
Caves Coagulation

Induration

Refrigeration

Conservation of bodies

Imitation of natural mines

Production of artificial metals

Curing disease

Prolongation of life via hermitage

Laboratories
Burials Cements

Composts

Soils

Laboratories
Towers Insolation

Refrigeration

Conservation

Observation of meteorological phenomenon (wind, rain, snow, hail)

Observation of astrological phenomenon

Observatories
Lakes (Salt and Fresh water) Fish

Fowl

Burying bodies Laboratories
Pools Salt water

Fresh water

Desalination of salt water (salt to fresh)

Salination of water (fresh to salt)

Laboratories
Islands and Bays Marine atmosphere Observatories
Streams and Cataracts Production of energy for movement

Powering of engines for wind turbines

Laboratories
Wells and Fountains Water of Paradise Imitation of natural springs

Production of minerals (vitriol, sulphur, steel, lead, brass, nitre, etc)

Infusion

(Water of Paradise) Prolongation of life

Laboratories
Houses Imitation of meteorological phenomenon

Demonstration of meteorological phenomenon (snow, hail, rain, artificial rain of bodies, thunder, lightning)

Observatories
Chambers of Health Good quality air Curing of diseases

Preservation of health

Sanatoriums
Baths Curing of diseases

Restoration of bodies

Strengthening of bodies (sinews, vital parts, juice and substance of the body)

Sanatoriums
Orchards and Gardens Ground

Soil

Trees (wild and fruit)

Herbs

Berries

Flowers

Production of drinks

Grafting

Inoculation

Manipulation of plant growth (out of season growth)

Manipulation of fruit (taste, smell, color, size, shape)

Creation of medicinal plants

Creation of new plants

Experimental Forests
Vineyards Experimental Forests
Parks and Enclosures Beasts

Birds

Dissections

Testing

Prolongation of life

Resuscitation

Poison testing

Medicine testing

Manipulation of features (size, fertility, color, shape, habits)

Creation of new animals

Cross breeding

Zoological Reserves
Serpents

Worms (silk worms)

Flies (bees)

Fish

Manipulation of features

Breeding

Zoological Reserves
Pools Fish Dissections

Testing

Prolongation of life

Resuscitation

Poison testing

Medicine testing

Manipulation of features (size, fertility, color, shape, habits)

Creation of new animals

Cross breeding

Zoological Reserves
Brewhouses Wines

Juice of fruits, grains, roots

Mixtures of honey, sugar, manna

Decocted dried fruits

Tree sap

Cane pulp

Drinks with herbs, roots, spices

Drinks that serve the purpose of both food and hydration

Thin drinks

Nourishing water

Strengthening drink

Production of drinks

Aging of drinks (up to 40 years)

Experimental Breweries
Bakehouses Breads of grains, roots, kernels

Breads with meat, fish

Leavenings

Seasonings

Strengthening bread

Production of breads Experimental Kitchens
Kitchens Tenderized meat

Strengthening meat

Production of meats Experimental Kitchens
Dispensatories Plants

Living creatures

Simples

Drugs

Medicine ingredients

Heating equipment

Percolating equipment

Strainers

Aging of medicine

Fermentation of medicine

Distillation

Separation

Clincs
Factories Papers

Linen

Silks

Tissues

Feather work

Dyes

Patterns

Production of manufactured goods
Furnaces Fierce and quick heat

Strong and constant heat

Soft and mild heat

Blown, quiet heat

Dry, moist heat

Heat which imitates the sun

Creation of various types of heat
Perspective-houses Glasses

Spectacles

Demonstration of lights and radiations

Production of light

Manipulation of perspective

Magnification of objects

Creation of light effects (rainbows, halos, reflections, refractions)

Observatories/Laboratories
Precious stones

Crystals

Glass

Metals

Fossils

Minerals

Lodestones

Rare stones (natural and artificial)

Sound-houses Harmonies

Instruments of music

Hearing aids

Echoes

Equipment to convey sound (trunks, pipes, lines)

Demonstration of the generation of all sounds and all sounds

Imitation of all sounds and letters

Observatories/Laboratories
Perfume-houses Confiture-house Practice of taste

Imitation of tastes

Practice of smell

Multiplication of smells

Imitation of smells

Production of sweet-meats

Production of wines, broths, sallets

Observatories/Laboratories
Engine-houses Weapons exceeding cannons and basilisks

Instruments of war

Gunpowder

Fireworks

Submersible ships and boats

Swimming supporters

Clocks

Perpetual motion machines

Production of engines and instruments of motion

Creation of deadlier weaponry

Imitation of birds, flying

Imitation of motions of living creatures

Observatories/Laboratories
Mathematical-house Geometry

Astronomy

Houses of Deceits Juggling

False apparitions

Impostures

Illusions

Observatories/Laboratories

Roles

Roles of members of Salomon's House are listed in order of appearance in the text below:[3][4]

Title of Role[3] Number of Members[3] Duty[3][4]
Father of Salomon's House
Merchants of Light 12 Travel to foreign countries

Procure books, abstracts, patterns of experiments

Depredators 3 Collect experiments from books
Mystery-men 3 Collect experiments of mechanical arts

Collect experiments of liberal sciences

Collect practices not in arts

Pioneers/Miners 3 Execute new experiments
Compilers 3 Create titles and tables based on collected data
Dowry-men/Benefactors 3 Extrapolate experimental data
Lamps 3 Direct new experiments based on data
Inoculators 3 Execute and report second round of experiments
Interpreters of Nature 3 Interpret new experimental data

Create laws and axioms

Novices

Apprentices

Servants

Attendants

Serve titled members

There are two notable imbalances in the information given. Firstly, the imbalance between the amount of equipment and the amount of manpower to operate it. Secondly, the ratio of roles collecting data to roles producing data.[5]

Ordinances and Rites

The ordinances and rites followed by the members of Salomon's House are described below:

Galleries

First Gallery includes the patterns and samples of notable inventions.[3]

Second Gallery holds statues of notable inventors. Notably, the only inventor mentioned by name is Columbus, who is credited with discovering the West Indies. The other inventors are listed as the inventor of their invention. Statues in this gallery are made of various materials including but not limited to brass, marble, cedar, silver, and gold.[3]

Hymns and Services

Daily hymns and services include praising God as well as requesting His aid.[3]

Circuits and Visits

Members of the Salomon's house travel throughout the kingdom and perform three major actions. Firstly, they publish new inventions. Secondly, they divine natural disasters. Thirdly, they counsel the populace.[3]

References

  1. ^ a b Colie, Rosalie L. (1955). "Cornelis Drebbel and Salomon de Caus: Two Jacobean Models for Salomon's House". Huntington Library Quarterly. 18 (3): 245-260. doi:10.2307/3816455. ISSN 0018-7895.
  2. ^ Weinberger, Jerry (2018-07-30), "On the miracles in Bacon's New Atlantis", Francis Bacon's New Atlantis, Manchester University Press, ISBN 978-1-5261-3738-8, retrieved
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p More, Thomas, Saint (2008). Utopia. Susan Bruce, Francis Bacon, Henry Neville (Reissued 2008 ed.). Oxford. ISBN 978-0-19-953799-0. OCLC 244652520.
  4. ^ a b c d e Suter, Rufus (1948). "Salomon's House: A Study of Francis Bacon". The Scientific Monthly. 66 (1): 62-66. ISSN 0096-3771.
  5. ^ Kendrick, Christopher (2003). "The Imperial Laboratory: Discovering Forms in The New Atlantis". ELH. 70 (4): 1021-1042. doi:10.1353/elh.2004.0007. ISSN 1080-6547.

External links


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