About the SIS

The Society was formally constituted on 20 April 1983 in the course of a lively meeting at the Science Museum, South Kensington, when Gerard Turner was appointed Chairman, Brian Brass Treasurer (he would serve in that role for the next eleven years) and the late Jon Darius the first editor of the Bulletin. Amongst the ordinary committee members was Jeremy Collins the scientific instrument specialist at Christies.

The name of the Society was chosen carefully. It was not to refer to ‘Antiquarian’ or ‘Historical’. Its remit was to embrace gas chromatographs or Geiger counters as much as the aesthetically pleasing instruments beloved of the ‘Brass brigade’. In the words of our first press release, the Society aimed to contribute to historical knowledge and understanding through the collection, conservation and study of scientific artefacts. When the Microscopical Society of London (later the Royal Microscopical Society) was launched in 1839, its professed purpose was to afford ‘encouragement to microscopical investigations, by promoting that ready intercourse between those engaged in such pursuits, by which not only are great advantages mutually gained, but also information of the most valuable kind disseminated and perpetuated’.

That, mutatis mutandis, is just what we hoped would transpire when collectors, curators, dealers, restorers and other interested parties were brought together on the common ground of our new Society. The establishment of a new society always occasions trepidation enough: Would it attract enough members? (We already numbered over 100.) If so, would they be sleepers or participators? Would the avowed aims be fulfilled, or would the whole enterprise lumber along expending most of its energy in unproductive meetings and minutes, minutes and meetings? These thoughts, articulated by Jon Darius on the first page of the first Bulletin proved to be unnecessarily cautious.

Throughout its history the Bulletin has had only three editors and has grown into a respected publication, essential reading for serious scholars of the history of science and the material culture of scientific enquiry, experimentation, instruction and its industrial, medical or military applications. It has always been A4 format, was professionally typeset from issue no 2 and advertising has been carried since the beginning. 

The Committee is always keen to encourage fresh blood to get involved. New committee members can be co-opted at any time during the year (subject to approval at the next AGM) so please don’t hide your light under a bushel.


2005–2021 Paolo Brenni
2004 Howard Dawes
1994 Gerard Turner †


2017 Charles Miller
2012 Marcus Cavalier
2008 Patrick Mill †
2004 Ron Bristow †
2001 Gloria Clifton
1997 Stuart Talbot
1994 Howard Dawes
1993 Gerard Turner †
1989 Jon Darius †
1983 Gerard Turner †


2017 David Howarth
2013 Michael Stewart
2011 Marcus Cavalier
2009 Neil Handley

Bulletin EDITORS

1994 Willem Hackmann
1989 Allan Mills †
1983 Jon Darius †


2016 Alison Boyle
2011 Charles Miller
2010 Michael Wright
2009 Joyce Shaw
2006 Neil Handley
2003 Robert Warren
2002 Alexander Crum Ewing
2001 Ron Bristow †
1997 Gloria Clifton
1994 Stuart Talbot
1985 Howard Dawes
1984 David Boullin
1983 Carole Stott


2017 Louise Devoy
2013 Nigel Parkinson
2010 James Hyslop
2001 Peter de Clercq
2000 Silke Ackermann
1997 James Stratton
1992 Trevor Waterman
1990 Stanley Warren
1988 Jeremy Collins
1987 David Weston
1984 Trevor Waterman


2014 David Howarth
2010 David Riches
2007 Paul Goodman
2005 Patrick Mill †
2001 Simon Cheifetz
1994 John Didcock †
1983 Brian Brass


2016 Sarah Cavalier
2005 Peter Thomas
1993 Geoffrey Bennett


2021 Nicolàs de Hilster
2016 Boris Jardine
2010 Oronzo Mauro
2007 Neil Handley
to 2007 Stephen Johnston/Jane Bigos


2021– Nicolàs de Hilster
2019– Stephen Burt
2015– Boris Jardine
2015–2016 Piers Hugill
2013–2014 Peter Goddard
2012– Alison Boyle
2011–2014 Josh Nall
2011– Louise Devoy
2010– David Howarth
2010–2017 Nigel Parkinson
2010– Michael Stewart
2009–2013 / 2018–2019 James Hyslop
2008–2009 Joyce Shaw
2008–2009 Matthew Nunn
2007–2011 Michael Wright
2007–2014 Alison Morrison-Low
2007–2017 Marcus Cavalier
2006–2011 Richard Dunn
2005–2016 / 2017– Charles Miller
2004–2006 Joyce Taylor
2003–2006 Robert Warren
2003–2015 Patrick Mill †
2003–2008 Stephen Johnston
2003–2015 Neil Handley
2003–2010 Paul Goodman
2001–2005 Tom Newth
2000–2004 Sylvia Sumira
2000–2003 Tom Lamb
2000–2010 Peter de Clercq
1998–2007 Simon Cheifetz
1998–2001 / 2004–2008 Silke Ackermann
1997–1998 Colin Gross
1997–2004 Alexander Crum Ewing
1996–2001 Liba Taub
1996–2000 James Stratton
1995–1999 Jane Insley
1995–2004 Gloria Clifton
1994–1997 Alan Morton
1993–2001 John Didcock †
1993– Willem Hackmann
1992–1993 David Hughes
1992–1995 Kristen Lippincott
1992–1997 Mike Cowham †
1990–1992 Desmond Squire
1990–1995 Anthony Michaelis
1990–2000 / 2001–2008 Ron Bristow
1989–1992 Stanley Warren
1988–1994 Allan Mills †
1987–1992 / 1995–1998 Arthur Middleton
1987–1989 Jon Baddeley
1987–1990 Derek Howse
1986–1991 Stuart Talbot
1986–1987 Stephen Edell
1985–1988 John Dennett
1984–1993 David Weston
1984–1997 Howard Dawes
1983–1987 / 1991–2000 / 2001–2004 Trevor Waterman
1983–1984 Bernard Taylor
1983–1986 Carole Stott
1983–1987 / 2001–2003 Alan Stimson
1983–1986 Alan Miller
1983–1984 James Layte
1983–1984 / 1988–1991 / 1994–1995 Peter Delehar †
1983–1991 Jeremy Collins


2012– Nicolàs de Hilster
2012 David Bart
2010 Oronzo Mauro


Ron Bristow †
Marcus Cavalier
Gloria Clifton
Jeremy Collins
Howard Dawes
Adrien Dubuis †
Dominique Ferriot
Owen Gingerich
Patrick Mill †
Stuart Talbot
Peter Thomas


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