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Can be considered a novelty in the area of History of Science and Technology since it addresses attention to technical contents in the historical developments of Mechanism Design in Antiquity
It contains many generally described inventions that are less known or hardly known at all; the reconstruction of them is based on the classics, iconic references, and archaeological finds, mostly from, but not limited to, Pompei, Ercolano and Stabia
This book describes the inventions and designs of ancient engineers who are the precursors of the present. The period ranges mainly from 300 B.C: to 1600 A.D. with several exceptions. Many of the oldest inventions are documented by archaeological finds, often very little known, mainly from Pompeii, Herculaneum and Stabiae and reveal a surprising modernity in their conception.
Most of the inventions presented in the first four parts of the book were conceived up to the late Roman Empire and may be considered as milestones, each in their respective field. The fifth part concentrates on more recent centuries. The sixth part deals with some building construction techniques.
Generally, for each of the presented inventions, three elements of research and reference are provided: written documents (the classics), iconic references (coins, bas-reliefs, etc.) and archaeological findings.
The authors did not write this book for engineers only; hence they describe all the devices without assuming wide technical knowledge. The authors’ main aim is to try to communicate their enthusiasm for the inventions and the inventors of the past and to contribute to the fascinating study of the History of Engineering.
Content Level »Research
Keywords »Ercolano - Pompei - Roman Empire - Telegraph - ancient engineers - ancient inventions - archeology - automation - history of engineering - mechanism design
PART I : MEASURING THE ENVIRONMENT: Introduction; Ancient Greek units; Length units; Area units; Volume units; Weight/mass units; Roman units; Length units; Area units; Volume units; Weight/mass units;
Chap. 1 – MEASURING MASS: Introduction; 1.1 The balance scale; 1.2 The steelyard balance; Observations;
Chap. 2 – MEASURING DISTANCE : Introduction; 2.1 Jacobs’ staff, Astrolabe; 2.2 Range finders; 2.2.1 Groma; 2.2.2 Surveyors’ cross; 2.2.3 Chorobate; 2.3 The dioptre by Heron; 2.4 The ancient odometer; 2.4.1 The odometer by Vitruvius; 2.4.2 The odometer by Heron; Observations;
Chap. 3 - MEASURING TIME : Introduction; 3.1 The sundial; 3.1.1 Fixed sundials; 220.127.116.11 Equatorial sundials; 18.104.22.168 Horizontal sundials; 22.214.171.124 Vertical sundials; 126.96.36.199 Non-planar sundials; 3.1.2 Portable sundials; 3.2 Water clocks; 3.2.1 Early water clocks; 3.2.2 The water clock by Ctesibius; Observations;
Chap. 4 – COMPUTATION DEVICES: Introduction; 4.1 The abacus; 4.2 The mesolabio; 4.2.1 The mesolabio of Heratostenes; 4.2.2 The solution by Hippocrates and the Mesolabio by Dürer; 4.3 The mechanism of Antikitera; 4.3.1 The history of the finding; 4.3.2 Description of the mechanism; 4.3.3 Technological aspects; 4.3.4 Planetariums in ancient literature; 4.3.5 A recent interesting finding; Observations;
PART II – USING NATURAL ENERGY:
Chap. 5 – WIND MOTORS: Introduction; 5.1 The wind mills; 5.1.1 TheAfghan mill; 5.1.2 The Cretan mill ; 5.2 Wings on the sea: the sails; 5.2.1 Evolution of the sail rig; 5.2.2 The Chinese junk; 5.2.3 The Flettner rotor; Observations;
Chap. 6 – HYDRAULIC MOTORS: Introduction; 6.1 Water wheels with vertical axis; 6.1.1 The Greek mill; 6.1.2 Vertical axis rotor with oblique blades; 6.2 Water wheels with horizontal axis; 6.2.1 Undershot water wheels; 6.2.2 Overshot water wheels; 188.8.131.52 The wheel of Venafro; 6.3 The floating mill; 6.4 Water wheels in the Middle Ages and the Renaissance;Observations;
PART III – USING WATER:
Chap. 7 – LIFTING WATER: Introduction; 7.1 The early devices; 7.2 The Archimedes’ screw; 7.3 Norias; 7.3.1 Scoop wheel; 7.3.2 Chain norias; 7.4 Pumps; 7.4.1 Chain pumps; 7.4.2 Reciprocating pumps; Observations;
Chap. 8 – ADDUCTION AND DISTRIBUTION OF WATER: Introduction; 8.1 Open ducts; 8.2 Penstocks; 8.3 The great cistern; 8.3.1 The Piscina Mirabilis at Miseno; 8.4 Water distribution systems ; 8.4.1 Piezometric turrets; 8.5 Pipes; 8.5.1 Dimensions of the lead pipes; 8.6 Valves; 8.6.1 Shut-off valves; 8.6.2 Single control mixers; 8.7 Hydraulic mining; 8.7.1 The technique 'Ruina Montium'; 8.7.2 Historical references; Observations;
Chap. 9 – UNDERWATER ACTIVITIES: Introduction; 9.1 Scuba divers; 9.2 Diving bell;
PART IV – COMMUNICATION AND TELECOMMUNICATION: Introduction; The capstan; Telecommunication devices;
Chap. 10 – LIFT AND TRANSPORTS: Introduction; 10.1 Cranes and tackle; 10.2 Gravity driven elevators; 10.3 Roman charts; 10.4 Railed cargo; 10.5 The rails of Pompei; 10.6 Ancient self propelled vehicles; 10.7 Early ball bearings; 10.8 Transport on water; 10.8.1 Early paddle wheeled boats; 10.8.2 Pneumatic boats; 10.9 Cableways; 10.10 The dawn of flight in antiquity; 10.10.1 Legends and tales; 10.10.2 Ancient gliders; 10.10.3 Ancient rockets; Observations;
Chap. 11 – TELECOMMUNICATIONS : Introduction; 11.1 Acoustic; 11.2 Carrier pigeons; 11.3 Optical telecommunication systems; 11.3.1 Systems based on image modification; 11.3.2 Systems based on brilliancy modification; 11.4 Lighthouses; 11.5 The water telegraph; Observations;
PART V – TOWARDS THE MODERN AGE:
Chap. 12 – SECONDARY MOTORS : Introduction; 12.1 Flexion elastic motors; 12.1.1 Metal spring flexion elastic motors, 12.2 Torsion elastic motors; 12.3 Pneumatic motors; 12.3.1 The air spring ballista; 12.4 Small spring motors; 12.4.1 Locks and padlocks; 12.5 Counterweight motors; 12.5.1 The trebuchet; 12.6 Ancient