The Gribeauval system, or the issue of standardization in the 18th century

Abstract : From the Revolution to the Napoleonic Empire, French armies had the upper hand in Europe — mainly owing to the standardization of the artillery at the end of the 18th century by Jean-Baptiste Vaquette de Gribeauval (1715-1789), an officer and engineer. This standardization of the caliber of canons and the design of carriages (wheels and axles) presupposed techniques of production and measurement, and implied training artillery officers in the basic and applied sciences. Everything had to change at once: military doctrine, industry and techniques. Like the Querelle des Bouffons in opera, this highly controversial shift sparked a major controversy during the last years of the monarchy: the so-called Quarrel of the Reds and Blues, with reference to the color of gunners’ uniforms before and after the reorganization of the artillery. Initially backed by the king, Gribeauval fell out of favor but was then reinstated and conducted his reform successfully. A presentation of this first big battle of industrial standardization in its historical context…
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Submitted on : Saturday, September 16, 2017 - 2:49:31 PM
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Héloïse Berkowitz, Hervé Dumez. The Gribeauval system, or the issue of standardization in the 18th century. Gérer et Comprendre English Language Online Edition, 2017, pp.20-27. ⟨hal-01588689⟩

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