16th Century Kindle

16th Century Kindle

Agostino Ramelli (1531–1600) designed many wonderful engines, among them a device that let the reader refer to many texts at the same time:

“In his own book, published in 1588 and modestly titled The Various and Ingenious Machines of Captain Agostino Ramelli, the designer outlined his vision for a wheel-o-books that would employ the logic of other types of wheel (water, Ferris, “Price is Right”, etc.) to rotate books clockwork-style before a stationary user. Ramelli planned to use epicyclic gearing — a system that had at that point been used only in astronomical clocks — to ensure that the shelves bearing the wheel’s books (more than a dozen of them) would remain at the same angle no matter the wheel’s position. The seated reader could then employ either hand or foot controls to move the desired book pretty much into her (or, much more likely, his) lap.”

— “Behold, the Kindle of the 16th Century,” Megan Garber, The Atlantic  [links added]


“The various and ingenious machines of Captain Agostino Ramelli (16th Century),” Jose Antonio, facsimilium

“Original Drawings for Agostino Ramelli’s Le diverse et artificiose machine,” Ronald Brashear, Smithsonian Special Collections


Short link: http://wp.me/p6sb6-g4T

Image (“Bianca Cappello De Medici with Her Kindle, after Alessandro Allori”) by Mike Licht. Download a copy here. Creative Commons license; credit Mike Licht, NotionsCapital.com

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