The Precision Instrument Industry in pre-Unification Italy

For the entire first half of the 19st century the production of scientific instruments in Italy was limited, and often mediocre in quality. A territory still politically divided and a late industrialization restricted to a few centers, are only some of the reasons that hindered the rise of important manufacturers in this field. The best instruments for physics, astronomy and topography came from abroad, mainly from Paris. But in Italy too there existed expert "mechanics" who, often at the service of the university physics cabinets or astronomical observatories, were able to furnish instruments of good quality. However, their production remained restricted to the local sphere. The only noteworthy exception was the optician Giovanni Battista Amici, whose instruments (microscopes in particular) were in great demand and highly esteemed even outside of Italy.