Authorised form of namePapin; Denis (1647 - 1713); natural philosopher and inventor
Dates1647 - 1713
Place of birthChitenay, near Blois, France, Europe
Date of birthAugust 1647
Place of deathWhitefryors (White Friars Street), London, England, United Kingdom, Europe
Date of deathAugust 1713
Dates and placesBaptism:
Temple of Haut-Bourg St Jean, Blois, France, Europe (22 August 1647)
St Bride's Church, Fleet Street, London, England, United Kingdom, Europe (26 August 1713)
Research fieldTechnology
Angers (graduated 1669)
Assistant to Christian Huyghens (FRS 1663) in the laboratory of the Academie Royale des Sciences; moved to London (1675); assistant to Robert Boyle (FRS 1663) (1675-1679); Assistant to Robert Hooke (FRS 1663), Curator of the Royal Society (1679); returned to Paris (1680); Curator of the Accademia Sarottiana in Venice (1681-1684); Curator of Experiments at the Royal Society (1684-1688); Professor of Mathematics at the University of Marburg (1688-1695); moved to Kassel, where he first worked at the University of Marburg, then assisted the Landgrave of Hesse with his experiments (1695-1707); returned to London (1707); died of 'consumption' or tuberculosis at Whitefriars Street, London (1713)
Membership categoryFellow
Date of election31/12/1680
Age at election57
Royal Society activityCurator of the Royal Society (1679); Curator of Experiments (1684-88)
Other Royal Society activityCo-authored papers on air-pump experiments with Christiaan Hugyhens (1675)
RelationshipsParents: Denis Papin and Madeleine [Magdaleine] Pineau
Published worksRCN: 57935
RCN: 57933
RCN: 57931
RCN: 57926
RCN: 57932
RCN: 57928
RCN: 57936
RCN: R70294
RCN: 57934
General contextAs Huyghens' assistant, Papin helped with air pump experiments and lived at his aparments in Paris. Through him, Papin was introduced to Henry Oldenburg (FRS 1663), secretary of the Royal Society, and other Fellows such as Boyle (FRS 1663) and Brouncker (FRS 1663). Under his various appointments with Fellows , he produced some publications, such as the 'Nouvelles experiences du vuide' (1674) and 'Continuation of New Experiments' (1680). Although he had started as a medical doctor and then given up that profession in the pursuit of science, he maintained his interest and wrote a treatise in 1681 on painless operations. He is most well-remembered as an inventor and his work with the steam engine, a submarine, and the development of a first paddle boat. Papin was also a close correspondent with Gottfried Leibniz (FRS 1673) and was involved in a scientific controversy with him starting with a discussion of the motion of free falling bodies in 1681.
Related imagesDiscover a selection of related images in our picture library
Bulloch's Roll; DNB; DSB; ODNB; MacTutor History of Mathematics archive
London Metropolitan Archives Register of Burial - LMA reference for the Register containing the relevant entry is P69/BRI/A/01/Ms6540/3
Memorial established to Papin in Chitenay 2013 showing his 'Digestteur'
Home, R W. 2002. 'The Royal Society and the Empire: the colonial and Commonwealth Fellowship. Part 1. 1731-1847', vol. 56, pp. 307-332
McKie, D. 1956-57. 'Priestley's Laboratory and Library and Other of his Effects', in Notes and Records, vol. 12, pp. 114-136
Robinson, H W. 1947. 'Denis Papin (1647-1712)', in Notes and Records, vol. 5, pp. 47-50
Burial information from Register of Marriages & Burrials (sic) from 1695 to August 1714, London Metropolitan Archive, P69/BRI/A/01/Ms6540/3
Place and cause of death from Draft Burial Register, St Bride's Collection, London, Metropolitan Archive, P69/BRI/A/014/MS06550
Precise date of election not known - R has some time in 1682; DSB and Hunter, have late in 1680. Some sources have c.1712 as date of death. Payment made to him on 24 Mar 1712 (although Hunter says he was never in accounts). DNB says he was still alive 23 January 1712 (letter to Sloane at RS). Some sources have 22 August as date of birth, ODNB has it as baptism.
Virtual International Authority File
Royal Society codeNA5721
Archives associated with this Fellow
Reference numberTitleDate
CLP/18i/67Details of Denis Papin's new lock nd
CLP/18i/62Concerning the pump exhausted of air by means of gunpowder by Denis Papinnd
CLP/6/37/1Manuscript, concerning Denis Papin's experiment with forcing air out of a glass by Mr R A1685
RBO/6/106Dr Papin's account of improvements to his Digester5 May 1686
RBO/7/1'About a Cyder-Press' by Denis Papinnd
RBO/6/123'Dr Papin about an Improvement of the new Digester'nd
RBO/6/66'Dr Papin Experiments to Water passing through Wood and Leather'29 April 1685
RBO/6/53'Dr Papin's Experiment of Spirit of Wine and water purged of Air and mixt 'in Vacuo"25 February 1685
RBO/6/60'Dr Papin's Tryall of the strength of Plaster of Paris mixed with Gelly of Bones, compared with other Plaster'8 April 1685
RBO/6/57'Dr Papin's Experiment of Producing Sounds by a Factitious Air'18 March 1685
CLP/18i/25Of boiling fish in vacuo by Denis Papin23 June 1686
RBO/7/4Observations of the green gooseberries 'in vacuo' by Denis Papinnd
RBO/6/56'Dr Papin's Experiment to prove that the Air is necessary for Sounds'11 March 1685
CLP/18i/7Of the Water Engine at London Bridge by Denis Papinnd
CLP/18i/24Of burning in vacuo, and of preserving fruit, by Denis PapinJune 1686
EL/P1/88Paper on a machine to raise weights by gunpowder by Denis Papin 1688
CLP/18i/4How to make gelatine by Denis Papinnd
CLP/18i/11Dr Papin's experiment about a bird in compressed air; and about preserving raspberries and strawberries in gelly of bones 29 February 1686
RBO/6/31'Dr Papin's Experiment made at Mr Boyls About suspending water in a Bolt-head'18 June 1684
RBO/6/28Dr Papin's Experiments of dissolving Iron in the Open Air and 'in vacuo' May 1684
RBO/6/43'Dr Papin's Experiments of the effect of Spirit of wine, mixed with Syrup of Violets etc'19 November 1684
RBO/9/63Isaac Newton's opinion of Denis Papin's proposals for making a water-raising engine1707
RBO/6/76'Dr Papin's Draught of the Vessels designed for the hastning of Evaporations and Distillations by nicanes of a Vacuum'15 July 1685
RBO/6/71'Dr Papin's Proposal for making an Equicrural Syphon more usefull'27 May 1685
RBO/6/64'Dr Papin's Preparation of Plaster of Paris with Gelly of Bones'15 April 1685
RBO/6/135Experiment to show resistence of air to a moving pendulum by Denis Papin9 February 1687
CLP/18i/59Of the Camera Aeolia by Denis Papinnd
RBO/6/36Dr Papin's Experiments in the digester for taking Impression in Relief 16 July 1684
CLP/18i/56Of the relative swiftness of sound and cylindrical bullets by Denis Papinnd
RBO/6/33'Dr Papin's Experiment with Soap and Salt water (for washing linnen at Sea) by dissolving them in the Digesting Engin'25 June 1684
RBO/6/73'Dr Papin's Experiments about keeping Plants in Turpentine And A Pear kept 'in vacuo' Ten months'24 June 1685
RBO/9/101'Some Remarks upon Dr Papins Paper concerning an Invention to Improve Clockwork' by Richard Waller1711
RBO/9/86'An Answer to an Objection against the Chamber for comprest Air' by Denis Papin1708
RBO/7/5Observations of distilling 'in vacuo' by Denis Papinnd
CLP/18i/35Of the Velocity of Air passing into an Exhausted receiver by Denis Papin24 November 1686
RBO/6/29Dr Papin's Experiment of the Suspension of water purged of Air in a Pipe4 June 1684
RBO/6/77'Dr Papin's triall of Monsieur Villermonts way of seperating the Grease and foulness from Lye that had been used'29 July 1685
RBO/6/41'About the Suspension of Mercury in a Tube higher then 31 Inches' by Denis Papin5 November 1684
RBO/6/37Dr Papin's Experiments on Horn in the Digester - a further trial23 July 1684
RBO/6/25Dr Papin's Experiment for the swelling the Lungs, Kidney 'in Vacuo'30 April 1684
RBO/9/99'Some Few Remarks on Dr Papin's New Improvement of the Hassian Bellows' by Richard Waller1711
CLP/18i/77Effect of the first model of the new clock by Denis Papinnd
RBO/6/34Another Experiment by Dr Papin about the Suspension of Water 'in vacuo' made at Mr Boyle's1684
CLP/18i/80Proposals about the machine for raising water by the force of fire by Denis Papinnd
CLP/18i/45Of a jet d'eau in vacuo by Denis Papin9 March 1687
RBO/6/68Dr Papin's Experiments made with an Equicrural Syphon of Ten Foot high'13 May 1685
RBO/6/45'Dr Papin's Contrivance for the casting of Medalls 'in vacuo'3 December 1684
RBO/6/47'Dr Papin's Syphon that answers all the Proprieties of the Sypho Wurtembergiens'17 December 1684
RBO/6/49'Dr Papin's Experiment of keeping a Candle Burning under Water'21 January 1685
CLP/18i/30Concerns the making of a barometer free from air by Denis Papin28 July 1686
RBO/9/103'Description of second Instrument for extracting Oil of Sulphur per Campanam' by Denis Papin1711
RBO/6/65'Dr Papin Experiments relating to the height the water will probably rise to in an Equicrural Syphon'22 April 1685
RBO/6/86'Dr Papin account of his Engine that circulates water'13 January 1686
RBO/6/87'Dr Papin's Engine for raising water out of a mine'nd
CLP/18i/73Proposals for improving sea clocks by Denis Papinnd
RBO/6/40'Dr Papin's Experiment to prove that suction proceeds from the pressure of the Air'29 October 1684
RBO/6/46Dr Papin's Experiment about the Sypho Wurtembergiens10 December 1684
RBO/6/44'Dr Papin about the Florentine Experiments etc'26 November 1684
RBO/6/32'Dr Papin's Experiment About air caused by a Dissolving body in a Florence Flask'18 June 1684
RBO/6/22Details of two experiments by Dr Papin: 'Some Alteration or Improvement in his Pnewmatick Engin' and 'Of the Air's driving the water in an Exhausted Bolt-head in a Cylindrical Form' 9 April 1684
RBO/6/75'Dr Papin's Further Proposal about Crystallizations 'in vacuo' And Insects dying in factitious Air'8 July 1685
RBO/6/52'Dr Papin's further Experiments of the use of the Filtrations aforementioned'18 February 1685
CLP/18i/68Proposals for some new inventions by Denis Papinnd
RBO/6/30Dr Papin's Experiment about the Adhesion of a Glass Cover to an Exhausted Receiver against the pretended Attraction 'motu vacui'11 June 1684
RBO/6/55'Dr Papin's Experiment of Shutting up Water or Spirit of Wine 'in Vacuo' and making them boile by putting them in Ice'14 January 1685
RBO/9/97'Proposals for establishing a Company for new Inventions' by Denis Papin1711
RBO/6/39'Dr Papin's Experiment with the Muscle of a Man 'in vacuo' etc and a mercury gage to find the Quantity of Air Produced' from the muscle20 September 1684
CLP/18i/75Design of a box to keep the new clock at sea from the alterations of the air by Denis Papinnd
CLP/18i/13Dr Papin's Experiments about shooting in a longer Cylinder evacuated of Air10 March 1686
RBO/6/42'Dr Papin about the Florentine Experiments at the Academie del Cimento'12 November 1684
RBO/6/112Experiments to preserve fish by boiling and keeping 'in vacuo' by Denis Papin23 June 1686
RBO/6/59'Dr Papin's comparions of the Jesuits Bark Digested in Water, Wine and spirit of Wine: and Way of making Medal with the Gelly of Bones'1 April 1685
RBO/6/74'Dr Papin's Experiments of keeping Insects in Turpentine And of Crystallizations 'in vacuo"1 July 1685
RBO/6/109'Dr Papin about softning Rice'19 May 1686
RBO/9/100'Dr Papin's Improvement of the Hassian Bellows'1711
CLP/18i/79Denis Papin's answer to Richard Waller's criticisms of the clock design made in December 1712nd
CLP/18i/70New improvements of the Hessian bellows by Denis Papinnd
CLP/18i/34Concerning improvements to the Digester by Denis Papin17 November 1686
RBO/7/15'Dr Papin about the comparative Velocity of a Cylinder and Bullet'nd
CLP/18i/43Of Phosphorus kindled in vacuo by Denis Papinnd
CLP/18i/50Of the Firing of Gunpowder in vacuo by Denis Papin nd
CLP/18i/64Concerning the experiment to fire gunpowder in vacuo by Denis Papinnd
CLP/18i/57To Purify Foul Air by Denis Papinnd
CLP/18i/3Une maniere de fontaine ou jet d'eau by Denis Papinnd
RBO/7/6'About saving the materialls of Gunpowder' by Denis Papinnd
CLP/18i/20The Digester used for cooking Rice by Denis Papin19 May 1686
CLP/18i/53Of an arrangement for distillation in vacuo by Denis Papin27 April 1687
CLP/18i/48Of sound pipes for Denis Papin's engine23 March 1687
RBO/6/88'Mr Papin's Account of the Water Engine at London Bridge and his thoughts thereupon'13 January 1686
CLP/18i/31Concerns the making of a barometer free from air by Denis Papin4 August 1686
RBO/6/96'Dr Papin's Experiment about the relieving a Bird shutt up in a small space till sick with the windgunn'nd
RBO/6/117Concerns the making of a barometer free from air by Denis Papin4 August 1686
RBO/6/131'About Air produced by fireing Gunpowder' by Denis Papin5 January 1687
RBO/6/113Experiment of preserving juices of plants and fruits by boiling and keeping 'in vacuo' by Denis Papin30 June 1686
CLP/18i/29How to fill a barometer tube exactly by Denis Papin21 July 1686
RBO/6/118Experiment to increase evaporation in production of wares by Denis Papinnd
RBO/7/11Details of an experiment to clear the air of noxious fumes by Denis Papinnd
RBO/6/116Experiment to fill barometer with quicksilver and no air by Denis Papin21 July 1686
RBO/6/100'Dr Papin's Experiments about firing Bodies 'in Vacuo"nd
RBO/6/110'Dr Papins Contrivance for Filtration'26 May 1686
CLP/18i/44Experiment to determine the source of air produced when firing gunpowder 'in vacuo' by Denis Papinnd
CLP/18i/54The Products of gunpowder fired in vacuo by Denis Papinnd
RBO/6/115Experiment to shoot by rarefaction of the air by Denis Papinnd
CLP/18i/71Second instrument for making spirit of sulphur by Denis Papinnd
RBO/6/126'A Demonstration of the Velocity wherewith the Air rushes into an Exhausted Receiver, lately produced before the Royal Society' by Denis Papin24 November 1686
CLP/18i/58Of Purifying the Air and Distilling Water in Vacuo by Denis Papinnd
RBO/9/62'Proposals for making an Engine to raise Water by the help of Fire' by Denis Papinnd
CLP/18i/16Experiments on chocolate etc, boiled in vacuo by Denis Papinnd
CLP/18i/38Of Shooting a Spherical Bullet by Denis Papin22 December 1686
RBO/6/129'Dr Papin about Flint and Steel 'in vacuo"nd
RBO/7/7Details of instrument for the making of sulphur by Denis Papinnd
CLP/18i/8Of an engine for removing water out of a mine by Denis Papinnd
RBO/6/136Experiment to show whether phosphorus 'in vacuo' will ignite by Denis Papinnd
CLP/18i/42Experiment to show resistence of air to a moving pendulum by Denis Papinnd
RBO/6/97'An account of an Experiment shown before the Royal Society of Shooting by the Rarefaction of the Air' by Denis Papin3 March 1686
RBO/6/99'Dr Papin's Experiments about shooting in a longer Cylinder evacuated of Air'10 March 1686
RBO/6/105Concerning the instrument for distillation described in the Digester Book by Denis Papin21 April 1686
CLP/22i/29Paper, Account of the second book of Denis Papin's new digester c.17th century
RBO/6/103Concerning West Indian ware made from the pith of trees by Denis Papinnd
CLP/18i/22Further Improvements and Simplification of the Digester by Denis Papinnd
CLP/18i/63Concerning the instrument to rarefy air using gunpowder by Denis Papinnd
RBO/7/18'Mr Papin about using gunpowder to raise weights' nd
RBO/6/54'Dr Papin's Experiment Preparation of the Juice of licorish and Water made in the Digester; Also a Composition of it with the Gelly of Bones'4 March 1685
CLP/18i/55Of making Spirit of Sulphur underwater by Denis Papinnd
RBO/6/133Experiment to show whether particles struck off by the collision of Steel and flint 'in vacuo' can be melted into globules by Denis Papinnd
CLP/18i/69Dr Papin's New Fashion of Clock wheels and Pinionsnd
RBO/7/13'Mr Papin's Camera Aeolica'nd
RBO/6/138Answers to objections concerning a new way of raising water by Denis Papinnd
RBO/6/130'About shooting a Sphericall Bullet' by Denis Papin22 December 1686
RBO/6/80'Dr Papin's Demonstrations of a Problem of Stevinus to prove that water included in a slender Pipe will press upon a large Basis as much as a Pillar of water as large as the Basis and as high as the slender Pipe'11 November 1685
CLP/18i/66Proposals to make an 80 tun ship made by Denis Papinnd
RBO/6/108'Dr Papin about brewing in his Digester'12 May 1686
RBO/7/3Reasons why the 'jet d'eau in vacuo' did not reach very high by Denis Papinnd
RBO/9/98Dr Papin's New Fashion of Clock wheeles and Pinions'1711
RBO/6/26Dr Papin's Experiment of driving Plaister into the Lungs And An Instrument for drying the parts of the Body, when they are most swelled 'in vacuo'7 May 1684
CLP/18i/1Explication des pieces de l'harquebuze a ventnd
CLP/18i/14Firing gunpowder in vacuo by Denis Papin31 March 1686
CLP/18i/33Experiment to preserve cherries 'in vacuo' without sugar by Denis Papin 17 November 1686
CLP/18i/18Improvements in the Digester of five years ago by Denis Papin5 May 1686
CLP/18i/26Further experiments on boiling juices of plants and fruits etc in vacuo by Denis Papin30 June 1686
CLP/18i/76Third improvement of the clocks by Denis Papinnd
CLP/18i/12Shooting by Rarefaction of Air by Denis Papin3 March 1686
CLP/18i/27Experiments to refine sugar in vacuo by Denis Papinnd
CLP/18i/15Of fruits preserved after boiling in vacuo: of firing gunpowder in vacuo by Denis Papinnd
RBO/6/124Experiment to preserve cherries 'in vacuo' without sugar by Denis Papinnd
IM/003420Papin, Denis 'A new digester or engine for softening bones'2002
CLP/18i/41Measuring the air produced by firing gunpowder in vacuo by Denis Papinnd
RBO/9/83'Of the working Dr Papin's improvement' by Thomas Savery1709
RBO/6/51'Dr Papin's Experiment of making Filtrations through Cap Paper by means of the Pnewmatick Engine'11 February 1685
M/181Papin, Denis1852
CLP/18i/23Further Experiments with chocolate by Denis Papinnd
CLP/18iVolume 18i of classified papers, 'Papin and Hauksbee papers'1678-1712
CLP/3ii/8Paper, 'Some few remarks on Dr Papin's new improvement of the Hessian bellows' by Ric [Richard] Waller[1711]
CLP/20/76Paper, Raising water by rarefaction and the imperfection of Dr. [Denis] Papin's engine for raising water by Robert Hooke20 July 1687
CLP/3ii/6Paper, 'New way to get good air for respiration and vegetation' by [Denis Papin][1708]
RBO/6/27Dr Papin's Experiment to examine the specific Gravity of the Air comparatively to water and what effect Heat and moisture hath on the gravity of Air14 May 1684
CLP/18i/47An Improved Cider Press by Denis Papinnd
RBO/6/50'Dr Papin's further use of the foregoing Apparatus in drawing of Spirit of Sulphur'4 February 1684
RBO/7/2Concerning preservation of green pease by Denis Papin6 April 1687
RBO/6/85'Some further Remarks on the Instrument proposed by an Anonymous French Author, for effecting a perpetuall Motion'28 October 1685
RBO/6/35Dr Papin's Experiment about softening the Box and Lignum Vitae in the Digesting Engine2 July 1684
RBO/6/93'Mr Papin's Experiment of the Compression of Air in the Windgun'17 February 1686
RBO/6/38Dr Papin's experiments in the Vacation time during the Recess of the Royal Society1684
RBO/6/23Dr Papin's experiment 'upon petrified Wood calcined applying to the Lodestone or tinging with Galls' 16 April 1684
CLP/18i/37Of Flint and Steel struck in vacuo by Denis Papinnd
RBO/6/134Revision of the experiment to fire gunpowder 'in vacuo' by Denis Papinnd
RBO/6/111Two experiments with the new Digester by Denis Papinnd
RBO/9/82'Letter to the Reverend Dr John Harris FRS relating to a pretended Invention of Dr Papin FRS' by Thomas Savery1709
CLP/6/37/2Drawing, Engine for circulating water by Denis Papin1685
CLP/18i/60Velocity of the Air in Bullet firing etc by Denis Papinnd
CLP/18i/40Of the form of the particles produced by flint and steel in vacuo by Denis Papinnd
CLP/18i/17Experiments on lemon peel and quinces by Denis Papin21 April 1686
CLP/18i/21How to filter quickly, with the aid of the pneumatic Engine by Denis Papin26 May 1686
CLP/18i/65Use of gunpowder to raise weights by Denis Papinnd
CLP/3ii/7Paper, 'Answer to an objection against the cammer [chamber] for compress't air' by D [Denis] Papin[1708]
CLP/18i/2Double airpump and a new lamp by Denis Papinnd
CLP/6/61Letter, 'Relateing to a pretended invention of Dr [Denis] Papin' by Thomas Savery to Dr John Harris[1709]
EL/P1/90Letter from Denis Papin31 January 1709
EL/R1/41Salomon Reisel, dated at Stutgart, to Denis Papin1 July 1686
CLP/18i/74Relation of the experiment concerning the advantage of cylindrical teeth for clock wheels by Denis Papinnd
CLP/18i/72Experiment to compare the old wheels and pinions with the new ones by Denis Papinnd
EL/P1/91Denis Papin to Hans Sloane16 May 1709
EL/P1/93Denis Papin to Hans Sloane31 December 1711
CLP/18i/46Answers to Objections against Denis Papin's engine for Raising water by rarefaction of airnd
CLP/3ii/5Paper, 'Proposals about the machine to get good air for respiration and vegetation' by D [Denis] Papin[1709]
EL/P1/92Denis Papin, dated at London, to Hans Sloane21 April 1711
EL/P1/94Denis Papin to Hans Sloane23 January 1712
RBO/6/114Details about refining sugar by Denis Papin7 July 1686
RBO/6/70'Dr Papin Experiments made with Mr Molyneux his Hygroscope And Of Animals in Factitious Air'27 May 1685
RBO/7/12'About clearing the Air from fumes, and Distilling 'in vacuo" by Denis Papinnd
RBO/6/137Experiment to determine the source of air produced when firing gunpowder 'in vacuo' by Denis Papinnd
RBO/6/102Dr Papin's experiments to preserve fruit in 'gelly' 7 April 1686
CLP/6/37Paper, regarding Denis Papin's experiment with forcing air out of a glass by Mr R A1685
RBO/7/3aObservations of an experiment to burn gunpowder 'in vacuo' by Denis Papinnd
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