Benjamin Franklin Papers

To Benjamin Franklin from Cadet de Vaux, 13 February 1784

From Cadet de Vaux

ALS: American Philosophical Society

ce 13 fevr 1784


M.M. Quinquet et lange, auteurs de la lampe9 dont J’ai eu l’honneur de vous Parler, desirent avoir l’Avantage de la mettre à vos lumieres; ils S’Estimeront heureux Si leur dècouverte mérite votre approbation.

Je Suis avec un profond respect Monsieur Votre très humble et très obéissant Serviteur

Cadet de Vaux

[Note numbering follows the Franklin Papers source.]

9In fact, Antoine-Arnoult Quinquet and Ambroise-Bonaventure Lange (L’Ange) had adopted the basic elements of Ami Argand’s design of an oil lamp, for which see Le Roy’s letter of [Oct. 26?]. Quinquet, Lange, and Argand had discussed Argand’s invention while working together on Montgolfier’s balloon in the fall of 1783. After Argand left for London to obtain a patent and have the lamp manufactured, Quinquet and Lange assembled their version and began to market it. On Feb. 18, the Jour. de Paris ran an article about the device, praising the men for having improved the lamp of a “Physicien étranger, M. A. …” and noting where it could be ordered. On Feb. 21 the Frenchmen presented it to the Académie des sciences. The lamp generated much publicity and quickly became known as “lampe à la Quinquet” or simply “Quinquet,” despite continued disputes between Argand and his rivals about who could claim to be its inventor: DBF, under Lange; Académie des sciences, Procès-verbaux, CIII (1784), 37; John J. Wolfe, Brandy, Balloons, & Lamps: Ami Argand, 1750–1803 (Chrbondale and Edwardsville, Ill., 1999), pp. 2, 7, 21–5, 48–50.

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