Papin, Denys

, an ingenious physician, the son of Nicholas Papin, also a physician, was born at Blois. He took the degree of doctor, and travelled to England, where he was elected a fellow of the Royal Society, in December 1680. He passed the following year in London, and published in English an account of a machine which he had invented, and which still bears his name: this was “The New Digester, or Engine for the softening of Bones,1681, 4to. It soon appeared in French, with the title of “La Maniere d’amollir les Os, et de faire cuire toutes sortes des Viandes en peu de terns et a peu de fraix,Paris, 1682. The machine consists of a very strong metal boiler, with an air-tight cover screwed down with great force; hence the contained matter, being incapable of escaping either by evaporation or by bursting the machine, may be heated to a degree far beyond that of boiling water, so as to dissolve the gluten of bones and cartilages. He afterwards improved this digester, and it has since been much employed in chemical and philosophical experiments. He assisted Boyle in various experiments, of which an account is given in the history of the Royal Society. Papin was a protestant, and being therefore prevented from returning home by the revocation of the edict of Nantes, he took up his residence at Marpurg, where he taught the mathematics, and published a “Fasciculus Dissertationum dequibusdam Machinis Physicis,1696, 12mo; and in 1707 he published at Francfort an account of a machine which he had invented for raising water by the action of fire, entitled “Ars nova ad aquam ignis adminiculo efficacissime elevandam.

His father, Nicholas Papin, was author of several works, which, however, are nearly forgotten. Two of them related to the powder of Sympathy, which he defended; and one to the discovery of Harvey, which he opposed. 1

1

Moreri.—Eloy, —Dict. Hist. de Medicine.—Rees’s Cyclopædia.