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Lower-division undergraduates. Strauss, Choice, Vol. The book is divided into eight chapters which are presented in chronological order. The book is instructive, well readable and a good introduction into the historical development of machines and mechanisms Help Centre. My Wishlist Sign In Join. Be the first to write a review. Add to Wishlist. Ships in 15 business days. Link Either by signing into your account or linking your membership details before your order is placed.

Description Table of Contents Product Details Click on the cover image above to read some pages of this book! In Stock. On Popular Machines 13 On Popular Machines In rural environments machines are sometimes used whose designs show interesting variations of mechanisms that are already described in ancient treatises.

It is difficult to know up to what point these rural craftsmen reinvented the machines or whether they started out from existing mechanisms. This problem of multiple origins within cultural dissemination is typical in ethnology when similar features are found in cultures that are far from each other. However, it is worth noting that in their treatises, ancient authors wrote about machines that were used in their times as well as about other machines that were developed by well-known persons.

Therefore, it seems not only fair to mention, even if only in a brief outline, the contributions of machines that were developed by the anonymous, inventive genius of ordinary people. Since the parts turning in Fig. The machine itself, made with perishable materials, is unlikely to have resisted time. The same considerations can be made for popular textile machinery Fig.

When mankind evolved to the Stone Age, several mechanisms became necessary to make metallurgy furnaces work. Ones of these were the bellows Fig. Those devices depended of the invention of a valve system that permitted fluid to pass along in Fig. The step from manual operation to the use of hydraulic energy as the driving force was only a question of time, but above all, it was due to a need for greater power.

But when hydraulic energy was already being used to supply furnaces with air, popular ingenuity came up with a new system that supplied the furnace 16 Fig. An upright siphon Fig.

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In Compludo, which is a place close to Leon, there is a seventh century foundry that is still in use with this blast system, although nowadays it merely operates as a tourist attraction. It was not until the eighteenth century that Venturi explained the effect on which this system was based. A further example of popular ingenuity is the use of tidal energy for operating mills. In the eleventh century, along the European Atlantic coast mills had been built by using the periodic changes in sea-levels as a power source Fig.


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This new power source included changes to the mill design that were operated by river currents, as already described in Antiquity. The mill design in Fig. Chapter 2 Chinese Inventions and Machines For over 2, years Chinese society was pre-eminent in technological development. It was only at the beginning of the fifteenth century that it began to decline and was passed by Europe. Its technology began with agricultural, textile, and war machines; it was enhanced with hydraulic machines; and it was completed with the ingenious clocks and automatons that were built while the rest of the world was just waking up.

It contains the knowledge gathered up to that time concerning astronomy, biology, mathematics, physics and engineering. Since then, Chinese technological development has constantly evolved with the help of explanations that were included in texts on manufacturing weapons, bells, dyeing processes, and irrigation devices. This book is a collection of the most important military techniques of the time and it includes diagrams of machines. Among these diagrams are some catapults that have evolved considerably as compared to the first ancient models.

Regarding hydraulic engineering, the golden age can be identified somewhen between the tenth and fourteenth centuries. The last one is outstanding for the quality of its almost diagrams and illustrations of the tools and machines for agriculture. These books deal at most with milling and water raising machinery, ranging from hand-operated mortars and crank-operated stone milling machines to crank winches for cranes.

Chinese influence in surrounding countries was reflected at all levels, both scientific and cultural. An excellent example in the machinery field is the Japanese tea-serving automaton where the mechanics and assembly precision somehow overcame Chinese techniques. With a few exceptions, there was no custom in Chinese culture of providing texts with drawings even though they dealt with technical matters. However, this changed due to the influence of European culture through the first Jesuit missionaries who tried not only to convert the Chinese people to Christianity but also to set Chinese culture towards European standards.

Regarding machine techniques, European books dealt both with practice, like G.

A Brief Illustrated History of Machines and Mechanisms (History of Mechanism and Machine Science)

At the same time, they attempted to understand the Chinese machines with the same vision. Since the influence of the Jesuits, Chinese experts learnt to draw machines in order to show technical features. This is why many ancient books have no drawings of described machines and illustrations are included from later editions that were produced in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries.

On War Machines One of the first known Chinese inventions is the catapult. Little is known about its origins but it was based on the principal of the lever Fig.

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The mechanism looks very like that of the Shadoof used by the Arabs Chapter 4. The Chinese army dominated its rivals for millennia thanks to its superiority in weaponry. It was able to expand its territories by means of rapid growth and control that were based on military supremacy and its geographical borders stretched from Tibet to the Pacific Ocean. The catapult was a basic element in ancient wars and the first known written reference to it is in the Mohist texts from the Period of the Warring States fifth to third century BC. These texts describe the first version of what was later to be identified as a human powered catapult.

These catapults were used to defend city walls by launching burning coals and logs or bottles of poison gas against the enemy. This was a rotary catapult almost 2 m high that required the power of two men for an efficient launch based on the rotation of a horizontal shaft which drove an upright shaft and the projectile. For greater effectiveness, a series of catapults set in a row were used to launch more projectiles in less time.

On War Machines 21 Fig. The so-called tension catapults stored energy by tensing a bow of wood. Torsion catapults took their energy from the spin of skeins of rope or tendons, while traction catapults were powered by human efforts. Examples are given in Fig. The illustrations in Fig. The first illustration consists of an attack catapult which was used to launch or lift men. The operation power is obtained by human soldiers.

Book A Brief Illustrated History Of Machines And Mechanisms

The second illustration in Fig. Large pebbles, animals, or grenades that exploded when launched were used as projectiles. It is believed that there were approximately 5, catapults in China around the year AD. This gives an idea of the use and need for this type of machine. Another Chinese invention was the crossbow.

It was used for the first time in BC during the battle of Ma-Ling, although some scholars think that it was invented 22 Fig.


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The crossbow evolved from the conventional bow and was widely used until gunpowder appeared on the scene, as another Chinese invention. The crossbow consists of a horizontal bow and a release mechanism whose aim is to keep the arrow in place while the bow is tensed. When the release mechanism is triggered, the energy stored by the tension in a string is transmitted to the arrow which is launched with that energy. Usually, these crossbows had a longer reach than normal bows so that they were more effective than convention bows during battles.

Summarizing, the described war machines involved the development of mechanisms for an efficient use of human energy. A lever enabled the multiplication of the launching speed. Both the heavy carriage and crossbow are based on the principle of energy accumulation in inertial or elastic form according to the reported examples , which is released instantaneously on launching command. On Textile Machinery The manually operated distaff was the original concept for designing machines with three, five, and even ten spindles. Thus, efficiency of the manufacturing process increased so much that it was possible to supply all the population with clothes.

But since Antiquity, silk clothes were exported to the Roman Empire.

Book A Brief Illustrated History Of Machines And Mechanisms

The textile machine in Fig. This machine was used mainly in the silk industry since it guides the silk threads to spools that are used by weavers.

The mechanism is a multiple winder that is driven by a belt between the pulleys at each end. At one side, spindle shafts are operated by friction action. In addition, the shaft of a small pulley is operated with the aim of transmitting the movement to the shaft of the reels by means of another crossed-pulley system that permits a right-angle joint and, at the same time, a proper relationship between the rotations of the winder and spindles.

The design of this type of machine, together with similar spinning machines, can be compared to the first developments in textile machinery that appeared during the Industrial Revolution.

The design in Fig. The powerful Chinese textile industry was forced to seek new energy sources as an alternative to human power, by giving important impetus to hydraulic power. On Textile Machinery 25 Fig. By using hydraulic machines as power sources for the textile industry, China advanced with respect to other cultures that do not use the same process, until several centuries later.