View Full Version : Bookwheel, The 16th Century Forerunner to The eBook Reader

01-31-2019, 10:47 AM
For many of us, the ebook reader was the next best thing to happen since Gutenberg’s printing press. The printing press made books widely available, and the ebook reader conveniently shrunk the same to such compactness that we can carry a thousand of them around wherever we go without discomfort. Such a concept would have been fantastic for someone born in the 16th century, but nevertheless, the idea did cross their minds—especially the mind of Agostino Ramelli.


Agostino Ramelli was an Italian military engineer. As a young man he served under the famous Italian warlord, the Marquis of Marignano, and became trained in mathematics and military engineering. Ramelli had a knack for solving mechanical problems, and as his reputation grew he left for France to serve under the Duke of Anjou, who later became King Henry III. When Ramelli successfully engineered a mine under a bastion and helped breach a fortification during the Siege of La Rochelle, he became very popular with the commander, the Duke.

Agostino Ramelli didn’t build a lot of machines, but he had a storehouse of ideas aimed at solving everyday problems, such as how to mill grains, or haul heavy objects, excavate a ditch, or defend a city. All his solutions involved some kind of a mechanical device. In 1588, he collected nearly two hundred of his best ideas and published a book entitled Le diverse et artificiose machine del Capitano Agostino Ramelli, or “The various and ingenious machines of Captain Agostino Ramelli.” The book contained 195 full-page engravings accompanied by detailed descriptions of each mechanism in both Italian and French. Ramelli devoted half the book to various methods to raise water, such as water pumps, water wheels and wells. Other designs included cranes, bridges, fountains, cofferdams, screw jacks, hurling engines, and so on. One of the most famous designs from this book was the bookwheel.


Bookwheel, The 16th Century Forerunner to The eBook Reader (LINK) (https://www.amusingplanet.com/2019/01/bookwheel-16th-century-forerunner-to.html?m=1)

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