Isaac Brouckner

(c1686 - 1762)

A globe-maker from Basel, who worked extensively in Paris and St. Petersburg, Isaac Brouckner had originally been apprenticed as a clasp and belt maker, die cutter and mechanic. He was accepted into the Basel guild of household members in 1712.

Bruckner built his first wooden globe in 1722, and between 1722 and 1725 he succeeded in developing a swivel mount for the globe. On the recommendation of the Basel mathematician Johannes Bernoulli, he then traveled to Paris. There he presented a globe made of copper to the members of the Académie Royale des Sciences. They were so impressed, that Bruckner was immediately appointed a corresponding member of the academy. He gave the globe to King Louis XV, who in return, endowed him with the title of Géographe du Roi.

In 1733, Leonhard Euler, a well-known mathematician from Basel teaching in St. Petersburg, commandeered Brouckner to the Academy of Sciences to be master of mathematical instruments. There he taught mechanics and created ingenious mechanical devices, scientific tools, and maps. The Russian Empress Anna Ioannova, commissioned him to design a mill for grinding stone at the state-run stone masonry, Peterhofer Fabrik.

From 1745, Brouckner travelled to Vienna and Berlin, where he published his Nouvel Atlas de Marine, the first Prussian marine atlas, in 1749. He visited England and the Netherlands before returning to Basel in 1752. There, in collaboration with the mathematician and physicist Daniel Bernoulli, between 1754 and 1755, he created a world map and a globe made of gold-plated copper for the Basel Council, subsequently displayed in the Zur Mücke building. Brouckner taught geography, mechanics and geometry at the University of Basel.