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Adapting to Change

Simon Stevin’s Multifunctional Pivoted Sluice Lock and the Dutch Revolt

In: Vulcan
Author: Robert Tiegs1
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  • 1 Louisiana State University
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This paper examines an invention by Simon Stevin (1548–1620) which was intended for use in fortifications and economic activities in the Dutch Republic. Stevin was a prominent innovator and engineer who served as an important link between the military and public spheres. He published his ideas for his new invention in New Manner of Fortification through Pivoted Sluices (1617) detailing how his device could help maintain the wet ditches surrounding the Republic’s towns and defenses. These ditches were an important component of the Netherlandish style of fortification developed by Stevin and others. Simultaneously, Stevin also believed that his device could be employed beyond military purposes. In particular he argued that his pivoted sluice lock could benefit the Dutch economy through its use in navigation, land reclamation, and peat harvesting. In short, Stevin envisioned a system in which the military and economic needs of the Republic could be harmoniously combined.

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