THE PEAK OF RENAISSANCE TECHNOLOGY
Schatzkammer, Mechanischer Künste, des Hoch=und Weitberühmeten Capitains, Herrn Augustini de Ramellis, de Masanzana, Königlicher Majestät in Frankreich und Polen vornehmen Ingenieurs Darinnen viel unterschiedene Wunderbare, Kunstreiche Machinæ zubefinden, so man zu Friedens und Kriegesszeiten, in= und ausserhalb Vestungen, Auch sonsten hochnützlichen und wol gebrauchen kan...Jetzo...deutsche versetzet, und mit zugehörigen Kuppferstücken zum druck beforderten. Durch Henning Groszen den Jüngern.
(Leipzig, henning Groszen, Gedruckt durch Georgium Liger), 1620. Folio. 32x20,5 cm. Bound in a beautiful recent full long-grained red morocco with raised bands, an immitation of a Renaissance-binding. Boards with rectangular blind-tooled line-borders, blind-tooled decorations and corner-pieces. All edges gilt. Title-page with broad engraved title-border. Dedication (4) pp. - Vorrede (12) pp. and 462 pp. of text and last leaf (recto) with large woodcut printer's device, year, printer, and publisher. Engraved portrait of Ramelli (engraved by Andreas Breitschneider anno 1620 after the original) and 195 engravings (numb. 1-195) of which 14 are on plates, 8 double-page, the others in full-page (except no. 148/49 on one). Engravings in sharp good impressions. Slightly paper-browned and a few scattered brownspots. Old name on bottom of title-page. Dedication-leaves with old underlinings.
First (and only) German edition of Ramelli's remarkable landmark work of Renaissance technology, which anticipated many devices that were successfully manufactured centuries later. Only two editions of this work were published, the original from 1588 (Paris) with text and explanations in both Italian and French, and this German translation for which the illustrations were re-engraved by Andreas Bretschneider, preserving the details of the illustrations, for which the work is so well known. The German edition is very rare, and both are esteemed and sought after.
The engravings, which are among the most frequently reproduced in scientific and technological literature, depict pump design, mill construction, hydraulic machinery, all manners of derricks, looms, cranes, saws, siege machinery, fortification and foundry equipment. There is also an illustration of an elaborate "book-wheel" or reading machine.
"Another work even more remarkable, in that it anticipated with detailed sketches a number of devices which were successfully manufactured and marketed two or three centuries later, is "Le Diverse et Artificiose Machine del Capitano Agostino Ramelli", published in Paris in 1588. Ramelli (1530?-90) gained his capacity for service under the Marquis de Marignan, who quite possibly studied under Leonardo da Vinci. The handsome quarto volume contained one hundred and ninety-five full-page illustrations, artistically rendered, and described both in French and Italian." (Wolf, A History of Science, Technology and Philosophy in the 16th and 17th Centuries, II:539).
Ramelli was a true man of the Renaissance. He was greatly influenced by the increasing importance placed upon mathematics and geometry as an important tool for engineers and artists, and particularly by the writings of Guidobaldo del Monte (1545-1607) and Petrus Ramus (1515-1572). Ramelli's interest in mathematics is demonstrated in the preface to his book, "On the excellence of mathematics", in which he shows the necessary of mathematics to the learning of all liberal arts.
Ramelli was captain of engineers to the kings of France and Poland. His reputation grew and he eventually left France to serve under the Duke of Anjou, later King Henry III.
Dibner, Heralds of Science No 173 (1588-edition); Wellcome No. 5324; Sotheran I: 3882; Klaus Jordan Nr. 3045.
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