Ancient Engineers' Inventions: Precursors of the Present

Front Cover
Springer, Mar 13, 2009 - Social Science - 340 pages
We live in an age in which one can easily think that our generation has invented and discovered almost everything; but the truth is quite the opposite. Progress cannot be considered as sudden unexpected spurts of individual brains: such a genius, the inventor of everything, has never existed in the history of humanity. What did exist was a limitless procession of experiments made by men who did not waver when faced with defeat, but were inspired by the rare successes that have led to our modern comfortable reality. And that continue to do so with the same enthusiasm. The study of the History of Engineering is valuable for many reasons, not the least of which is the fact that it can help us to understand the genius of the scientists, engineers and craftsmen who existed centuries and millenniums before us; who solved problems using the devices of their era, making machinery and equipment whose concept is of such a surprising modernity that we must rethink our image of the past.
 

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Contents

104 Railed cargo
162
105 The rails of Pompei
165
106 Ancient self propelled vehicles
167
107 Early ball bearings
170
108 Transport on water
172
1081 Early paddle wheeled boats
173
1082 Pneumatic boats
175
109 Cableways
179

223 Chorobate
17
23 The dioptre by Heron
18
24 The ancient odometers
21
242 The odometer by Heron
22
Observations
25
Chapter 3 MEASURING TIME
27
31 The sundial
28
311 Fixed sundials
30
3112 Horizontal sundials
31
312 Portable sundials
32
32 Water clocks
34
322 The water clock by Ctesibius
36
Observations
39
Chapter 4 ANCIENT COMPUTATION DEVICES
40
42 The mesolabio
43
422 The solution by Hippocrates and the mesolabio by Dürer
44
43 The mechanism of Antikythera
46
431 The history of the finding
47
432 Description of the mechanism
48
433 Technological aspects
53
434 Planetariums in ancient literature
54
435 A recent interesting finding
55
Observations
56
Part II USING NATURAL ENERGY
61
Chapter 5 WIND MOTORS
63
51 The wind mills
64
512 The Cretan mill
67
The sails
70
521 Evolution of the sail rig
74
522 The Chinese junk
76
523 The Flettner rotor
77
Observations
79
Chapter 6 HYDRAULIC MOTORS
80
611 The Greek mill
82
612 Vertical axis rotor with oblique blades
83
62 Water wheels with horizontal axis
86
621 Undershot water wheels
87
622 Overshot water wheels
88
6221 The wheel of Venafro
89
63 The floating mill
92
64 Water wheels in the Middle Ages and the Renaissance
94
Observations
96
Part III USING WATER
97
Chapter 7 LIFTING WATER
99
71 The early devices
100
72 The Archimedes screw
101
73 Norias
102
731 Scoop wheel
103
732 Chain norias
105
74 Pumps
107
742 Reciprocating pumps
109
Observations
118
Chapter 8 ADDUCTION AND DISTRIBUTION OF WATER
119
82 Penstocks
121
83 The great cisterns
122
831 The Piscina Mirabilis at Miseno
124
84 Water distribution systems
125
841 Piezometric turrets
126
85 Pipes
128
851 Dimensions of the lead pipes
130
861 Shutoff valves
131
862 Single control mixers
132
87 Hydraulic mining
133
871 The technique of ruina montium
135
872 Historical references
136
Observations
140
Chapter 9 UNDERWATER ACTIVITIES
142
92 Diving bell
146
Part IV COMMUNICATION AND TELECOMMUNICATION
149
Telecommunication devices
151
Chapter 10 LIFT AND TRANSPORTS
153
102 Gravity driven elevators
155
103 Roman carts
156
1010 The dawn of flight in antiquity
182
10102 Ancient gliders
184
10103 Ancient rockets
185
Observations
188
Chapter 11 TELECOMMUNICATIONS
189
112 Carrier pigeons
191
113 Optical telecommunication systems
192
1131 Systems based on image modification
193
1132 Systems based on brilliancy modification
197
114 Lighthouses
199
115 The water telegraph
202
Observations
205
Part V TOWARDS THE MODERN AGE
207
Chapter 12 SECONDARY MOTORS
209
121 Flexion elastic motors
211
1211 Metal spring flexion elastic motors
212
122 Torsion elastic motors
214
123 Pneumatic motors
218
1231 The air spring ballista
219
124 Small spring motors
222
1241 Locks and padlocks
223
125 Counterweight motors
226
1251 The trebuchet
227
126 Ancient steam engines
228
1262 The Architronitro
229
Observations
231
Chapter 13 SPINNING AND WEAVING
234
132 The spinning wheel
238
133 The mechanical spinning wheel
239
1332 The spinning frame by Arkwright
241
1333 The mule by Crompton
242
1334 The ring frame
243
1341 The first programmable loom
244
1342 The programmable looms of the 18th century
245
1343 The automatic loom
246
Observations
247
Chapter 14 SOME APPLICATIONS OF FIRE
249
141 Fire ignition
250
1411 Optical flints
251
142 Marine fire the Roman candle
253
143 Wind lanterns
255
144 Fire for warming
256
1441 Domestic heating
257
1443 Ancient samovar
260
145 Fire for warfare
262
1452 Flamethrowers
263
14522 A probable single cylinder pump flamethrower
264
14523 Incendiary projectiles
266
Asbestos
268
Chapter 15 AUTOMATA TOWARDS AUTOMATION AND ROBOTS
269
151 The Hellenistic Age
270
The repeating catapult
273
152 The Middle Ages
280
1521 Al Jazari and the Arabs
281
1522 The astronomic clock of Strasbourg
282
153 The Renaissance
283
154 The 18th century
289
155 The 19th century
295
156 Automata of the Far East
298
Observations
300
Part VI ANCIENT BUILDING TECHNIQUES
303
Opus quadratum
304
Opus incertum
305
Opus latericium
306
Opus vittatum opus listatum
307
Chapter 16 CONSIDERATIONS ON SOME ANCIENT BUILDING TECHNIQUES
308
1611 Construction criteria
310
1612 Theories on the reasons for polygonal work
317
162 Concrete
319
Bibliography
327
Index
335
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About the author (2009)

Prof. Ing. CESARE ROSSI

Curriculum Vitae et Studiorum

Cesare Rossi was born in Naples on 26 July1955. In 1973 was graduated at High School focusing on Humanities.

In 1979 received the Mechanical Engineer Degree cum Laude at the University of Napoli - "Federico II"; in the same year the doctoral thesis received the Asmeccanica (Italian Mechanical Engineering Association) award.

In the first years of his career he has worked at the Istituto di Meccanica Applicata alle Macchine (Applied Mechanics Institute) of the University of Napoli "Federico II, attending researches on traction fluids for variable speed gearboxes and cooperating at several doctoral theses. In that period he was research fellow of the A.T.A. (Automobile Technicians Association) at the same University Institute.

Then he has been the technical manager of a textile industry and later designer of tools for aircraft’s tests and maintenance at an aerospace industry.

In Dec.1983 he was appointed Ricercatore Universitario (Assistant Professor) at the Applied Mechanics Institute (then Department of Mechanical Engineering - D.I.M.E.) of the University of Napoli "Federico II".

In 1992 he has been appointed Associate Professor of Applied Mechanics and from 1 nov.1993 Associate Professor of Robot Mechanics. From those years he has established a Laboratory for experimental researches on Robot Mechanics at the D.I.M.E. and is a member of G.M.A (Italian Group for Mechanics of Machinery).

From 1 nov.2000 has been appointed Full Professor of Applied Mechanics at the same University.

Presently teaches Mechanics Fundamentals and Robot Mechanics both to Mechanical and Automation Engineering students. He is supervisor of Master and Ph.D. theses and professor at the Ph.D. coursed at the same University.

He participated to many International Conferences, often with invited lectures and as Chairman.

His research activities where carried on mainly in the topics of Tribology, Rotor Dynamics, Mechanical Vibrations, Chaotic Motions of Mechanical Systems, Robot Mechanics, Video Applications for Robotics.

Since several years he is interested in studies and researches on the History of Engineering and presently he cooperates with researchers (also on the field) mainly in which the Classic Age is concerned.

He is a member of the A.I.S.I (Italian Society for the History of Engineering).

Dott. Ing. FLAVIO RUSSO;

Curriculum Vitae et Studiorum

FLAVIO RUSSO was born in Torre del Greco (Naples) in 1947. He was graduated at High School focusing on Humanities and then received the Mining Engineer Degree at the University of Rome.

Has been studying military architecture and military history in general for the past thirty years, focusing especially on military technology.

For ten years he was member of Scientific Councils of the Italian Institute for the Castles and of National Committee for Studies of Fortified Architectures at the Italian Cultural Heritage Department.

He has given invited lessons and short courses at the Universities of Molise, Napoli "Federico II" and Salerno; at the same Universities he was co-supervisor of some doctoral theses.

For more than 20 years he cooperates with USSME (Historical Bureau HQ Italian Army) and is member of the committee for the editorial proposals.

He designed and built some full scale and working of Roman artilleries committed by the Cultural Heritage Department; these reconstructions are actually shown at the archaeological area of Saepinum.

He arranged several exhibitions on historical topics.

He writes for several national magazines focused on History, Technology, Achaeology and Militaria.In addition to a large number of scientific publications, he is also the author of many volumes on history and ancient technologies. Some of them were published for the Historical Bureaus of the Italian Army, Italian Navy and Italian Air Forces.

For the N.A.T.O. Allied Maritime Component Command he has recently published:

- 79 A.D. Corse for Pompeii, Inquiry on the death of an Admiral.

- POMPEI Course Toward Transformation - the forgotten contributions of roman naval technology.

Actually he is working at the reconstruction of a roman water wheel, starting from archaeological finds.

Sig. FERRUCCIO RUSSO

Curriculum Vitae et Studiorum

FERRUCCIO RUSSO was born in 1980 and is a student of History at the University of Napoli "Federico II". He has been working for several years with computer graphics, specifically with photo-similar three-dimensional virtual reconstructions of mechanical devices, archeological artifacts and architectural structures. His tables have also appeared in numerous national magazines.

He is autor of several illustrations and a book for the Historical Bureau of the Italian Army and for the Istituto Poligrafico e Zecca dello Stato (Italian Mint Institute).

He arranged several exhibitions in which graphical reconstructions of historical topics where shown.

He is co-autor of several books by Flavio Russo.