Вы находитесь на странице: 1из 41

A Medieval Dragon Automaton

A Medieval Dragon Automaton Laurel Prize Research and Documentation Competition 2012 Antonia di Lorenzo

Laurel Prize Research and Documentation Competition 2012

Antonia di Lorenzo

A Medieval Dragon Automaton

Contents

Introduction

3

Part 1: The History and Technology of Automata and Geared Mechanisms

4

Artisans and the Role of Automata in the Courts

5

The History of Geared Mechanisms and Automata

7

The Use and Technology of Fire in Medieval Entertainment

10

Mechanisms and Materials in Medieval Automata

12

Part 2: Design, Construction and Testing of the Dragon Automaton

14

Design and Construction

15

Project Notebooks

20

Discussion

21

Appendix: Timeline of Geared Mechanisms and Automata

23

Bibliography

25

Guide to Illustrations in the Text

34

Guide to Illustrations in the Supplement

36

1

A Medieval Dragon Automaton

The documentation for this project is divided into two sections.

Part 1 examines the role of automata in medieval and Renaissance courts as symbols of wealth, power and technological superiority; the history of the technology used in building automata, from the Hellenistic period to the Renaissance; and the use of fire in medieval and Renaissance entertainment.

Part 2 documents the design and construction of a fire-breathing dragon automaton based on this research and contains some additional notes on the materials and construction techniques used in medieval automata.

The bibliography includes links to the source material wherever possible. Due to the large volume of material, the bibliography is grouped in the same sections as the notes, and sources are repeated if they are used in more than one section. If you have an electronic version of the notes the internet references are hyperlinked, and library books are listed with their (Melbourne) shelf references. Any source that does not have a link or a library reference is from my personal library.

In addition to the illustrations in the main essay there is an illustration supplement, which allows easier back and forth comparison than having the images embedded in the text. Note that a number of these illustrations are copyright. If copying the paper for distribution a separate guide to the illustrations is available, with thumbnail images and links instead.

the paper for distribution a separate guide to the illustrations is available, with thumbnail images and

2

A Medieval Dragon Automaton

Introduction

In the late middle ages and Renaissance, court artists were not only expected to paint images of their patrons, decorations for the palaces, and religious works such as altarpieces, but to design and stage spectacles for the court. This included designing costumes, scenery, stage machinery and special effects; making banners, hangings, parade shields and helmet crests; and creating prestigious diplomatic gifts to be sent to other courts 1 . While many paintings have survived to the present day, nearly all of the more ephemeral creations are known only from sketches or descriptions.

In previous projects I explored a number of these aspects of the court artist’s work: religious paintings and court portraiture, illuminated manuscripts, board games, helmet crests, and subtleties and poetry for court entertainments. This paper examines the history and technology of automata and geared devices, as a prelude to designing and building an original automaton based on the technology available in the 14th-16th centuries.

Undertaking the research on the history of technology for this project was fascinating. There were many more extant examples than I had thought, and in addition to the usual written and photographic resource material there were a number of documentary films which included reconstructions or computer animations of the mechanical devices they discussed. These films provided useful background information and context to supplement higher quality source material.

I had not previously appreciated how far back in time some of the technology went, such as precision astronomical instrument-making in ancient Greece 2 or industrial-scale manufacturing in medieval China 3 ; nor of the continuity of the timeline of its development - the perception is often that devices such as mechanical clocks emerged fully-developed with no antecedents, or that engineers such as Leonardo da Vinci developed their inventions in isolation. In part this represents a continuing power struggle in both general reference books and in academic research over historical “ownership” of particular technologies.

The research also raised issues which I had not even realised existed, such as the frequent problem of engineers and artisans not being paid by their patrons for their work 4 (or for materials they had purchased) despite written contracts or other agreements; and the difficulty of ongoing maintenance of high technology engineering works. Many famous examples, such as Giovanni de’ Dondi’s 14th century astrarium clock 5 and Gianello Torriano’s 16th century waterworks in Toledo 6 , fell into permanent disrepair after a relatively short time due to neglect.

1 Stefano Zuffi European Art of the Fifteenth Century

2 Nature Video Channel Antikythera mechanism [video]

3 History Channel Ancient Discoveries - Machines III [video]

4 Benvenuto Cellini Autobiography

5 Elizabeth King Clockwork Prayer

6 Wikipedia Artificio de Juanelo

3

A Medieval Dragon Automaton

Part 1: The History and Technology of Automata and Geared Mechanisms

A Medieval Dragon Automaton Part 1: The History and Technology of Automata and Geared Mechanisms 4

4

A Medieval Dragon Automaton

Artisans and the Role of Automata in the Courts

In the later middle ages and Renaissance, technology, culture and politics were closely linked.

Political power relied not just on military might but upon reputation, and required the display of wealth and intellectual and technological superiority. European and non-European courts alike gathered around them scholars and technologists such as astronomers, mathematicians, engineers and artisans to help create and publicise this image. 7 8

One significant area where wealth and technological superiority could be demonstrated was in the creation of automata - artificial objects that are, or appear to be, self-moving (from the Greek automatos - that which runs by itself). Often perceived as mere toys or amusements 9 , medieval examples include entire orchestras of mechanical musicians operated by hydraulic mechanisms; jewelled table fountains which poured wine and played music 10 ; nefs which moved around the banquet table and fired miniature cannons 11 ; mechanised animals and singing and flying birds; and elaborate tower clocks which displayed astronomical information while wooden or metal figures jousted or played out biblical scenes, and rang the hours on bells or gongs.

A good example of the way in which this type of technology was used for political purposes is

the astronomical clock designed and built by Abbot Richard of Wallingford for the Abbey of St Albans in the 14th century. Richard became abbot in 1327 after studying theology, mathematics and astronomy at Oxford, at a time of political instability just before the deposition of King Edward II by his wife Isabella. The abbey buildings were crumbling, and earlier in1327 the citizens of the local town had won an end to compulsory milling of their grain by the abbey’s mills, resulting in the loss of a significant source of income for the abbey.

In 1330 Isabella’s son Edward III seized power, and in 1331 Richard re-established the abbey’s milling monopoly, confiscating about 80 hand mills from the town and cementing them into the abbey floor. Having put the abbey back into a firm financial position, he then elected to build an elaborate tower clock rather than repair the abbey. The clock, its mechanism based on geared astrolabes, showed astronomical information such as star positions and phases of the moon on its face and chimed on the hour. At the time it was built it was the most accurate clock in England and was able to predict lunar eclipses and other astronomical events.

One historian 12 asserts that it was built as piece of propaganda. The heavy gear technology in the clock is very similar to the gear technology in the abbey’s mills, but with its ability to predict events such as eclipses, took that technology into celestial realms. Whyte states that Richard’s intention appears to have been to demonstrate that the Abbey was not only powerful, but had direct connections to the heavens. Unfortunately for Richard the clock was not completed until

7 William Eamon Science and the Secrets of Nature

8 Thomas Misa Leonardo to the Internet

9 Silvio Bedini The Role of Automata in the History of Technology

10 The Cleveland Museum of Art 14th Century French Table Fountain

11 The British Museum The Mechanical Galleon

12 Nicholas Whyte The Astronomical Clock of Richard of Wallingford

5

A Medieval Dragon Automaton

1356, 20 years after his death. During the Peasant’s Revolt of 1381 the hand mills were dug up from the abbey floor, and the clock itself was destroyed or dismantled at the time of the dissolution of the Abbey by Henry VIII in 1546.

Another example is the mechanical lion built by Leonardo da Vinci for King François I in 1515. In his book on the history of technology and culture 13 , Thomas Misa includes a description of the automaton by Leonardo’s assistant Francesco Melzi: “A lion with a bristling mane, it was led by a hermit. On its entrance…women in the audience drew back in terror; but when the king touched the lion three times with a magic wand handed to him by the hermit, the lion-automaton broke open and spilled at the King’s feet a mound of fleur-de-lys”. Misa explains that everyone in the audience would have understood the symbolism: the lilies as a symbol of the French royal house and the lion as a symbol of the Florentine court.

Automata and religious ceremonies

In court entertainments automata were used openly. It was always clear that they were man-made novelties: ingenious, but not supernatural. The importance of this distinction can be inferred from examples such as the title of Gianbattista della Porta’s work: Magia Naturalis 14 - “natural magic” (ie science) as opposed to supernatural magic. Any hint of dabbling in the supernatural could rapidly draw the attention of authorities such as the Inquisition, with the risk of imprisonment, torture and execution.

There is evidence for automata and other mechanical devices being used covertly from ancient times to create special effects in religious ceremonies. Many of Heron of Alexandria’s devices were for temple use, such as doors which opened when an altar fire was lit. Statues which appeared to move, talk, cry or spout milk from multiple breasts were among the documented examples in the Hellenistic period.

In the 16th century, a supposedly miraculous crucifix caused outrage when it was exposed as an automaton. The Rood of Grace at Boxley Abbey in Kent 15 , was a figure of Christ on the cross which moved its head, rolled its eyes, shed tears, moved its lips and foamed at the mouth. It was worked by means of wires through small tubes in the panel on which it was mounted. The abbey benefited greatly from pilgrimages to the abbey and gifts from grateful patrons. After the deception was exposed a large number of angry letters were written and the crucifix was pulled down, broken up and burned.

13 Thomas Misa Leonardo to the Internet

14 Gianbattista della Porta Magia Naturalis

15 Phillip Butterworth Magic on the Early English Stage

6

A Medieval Dragon Automaton

The History of Geared Mechanisms and Automata

There are legends describing robot-like mechanical devices as far back as Homer’s Iliad (800-700 BCE), which precede actual examples of complex machinery by several hundred years. Some of the earliest physical examples of the constructions described in ancient writings are the steam-powered pigeon of Archytos of Tarentum (5th century BCE), Archimedes’ hydraulic organ and Ctesibius’ clepsydra, a type of water clock (both 3rd century BCE), and Heron of Alexandria’s numerous devices including his aeolipile (steam powered engine), coin operated holy water dispenser and string-controlled, automated puppet theatre (1st century CE).

automated puppet theatre (1st century CE). By the 2nd century BCE complex geared mechanisms such as
automated puppet theatre (1st century CE). By the 2nd century BCE complex geared mechanisms such as

By the 2nd century BCE complex geared mechanisms such as astrolabes and the Antikythera Mechanism (xray of mechanism, above left) were being developed, both used for astronomical calculations. The Antikythera Mechanism is named for the island of Antikythera in the Mediterranean where it was found aboard a shipwreck. It is severely corroded and in several pieces, but studies including xrays and detailed surface photography have shown that it has as many as 72 bronze gears, including epicyclic gears (gears whose axis is another gear). Nothing approaching this level of complexity is seen elsewhere until the 14th century.

Scientific research and the development of mechanics slowed significantly between the end of the Hellenistic period and the rise of Islam in the 7th and 8th centuries. During the period of the Islamic translation movement (800-1150 CE), a concerted effort was made by Islamic scholars to seek out Greek and Syriac texts and translate them into Arabic, leading to a revival in mechanical technology (unfortunately many of these works were destroyed after the Christian reconquest of Spain). From the 9th century we have the Kitab al-hiyal (Book of Ingenious Devices) by the brothers Muhammad, Ahmad and al-Hasan bin Musa ibn Shakir, describing a number of trick vessels which use sophisticated hydraulic and pneumatic principles. They wrote another book, now lost, on mechanics. From the 10th and 11th centuries there are the earliest preserved astrolabes (Persian geared astrolabe, 1221 CE, above right); treatises on devices including automata; mining machinery, and astronomical devices including planetaria.

7

A Medieval Dragon Automaton

A Medieval Dragon Automaton In the 12th century Abu al-'Iz ibn Isma'il ibn al- Razaz al-Jazari

In the 12th century Abu al-'Iz ibn Isma'il ibn al- Razaz al-Jazari (al Jazari) wrote his famous Kitab fí ma'rifat al-hiyal al-handasiyya (Book of Ingenious Mechanical Devices), which includes drawings and instructions for such things as a hydraulically operated troupe of musicians, and large complex clocks such as the elephant clock.

Simultaneously but using independently developed technology, the Chinese built empires which made extensive use of mass production through heavy industrial technology, and developed complex astronomical clocks, the most famous of which is the water-driven tower clock of engineer Su Sung from the 11th century (at left).

There is also evidence of automata in medieval India. A 12th century Sanskrit manuscript, the Samararigana-sutradha-ra, gives a detailed description of humanoid automata which could perform various simple tasks 16 .

Islamic knowledge gradually filtered through to Europe via Islamic Spain and Byzantium; and Chinese knowledge through captured prisoners 17 and along trade routes 18 . The astrolabe was said to have been introduced into Europe in the 11th century by Gerbert of Aurillac (later Pope Silvester II), who studied in Toledo.

In 13th century Europe there were examples of water-powered saws and weight-driven clocks designed by Villard de Honnecourt; and fountains and other water features, plus mechanical apes, in the gardens of Duc Phillipe, Count of Artois, at Hesdin Castle.

By the 14th century mechanical technology was well established in Europe, with tower clocks featuring astronomical information on the clock faces and moving figures (jaquemarts); automated carillons; and industrial machinery such as grain mills, power hammers and saws (15th century manuscript illustration of a tower clock at right).

century manuscript illustration of a tower clock at right). 1 6 Srikumar Gopalakrishna India’s Tradition of

16 Srikumar Gopalakrishna India’s Tradition of Flying Machines

17 Chinese prisoners in Samarkand after the 751 Battle of Atlakh introduced papermaking and water-powered trip hammers

18 Lena Cansdale The Radhanites: 9th Century Jewish International Traders

8

A Medieval Dragon Automaton

Richard of Wallingford’s tower clock and the astrarium table clock of Giovanni de Dondi date from this time. This period also saw the emergence of very fine quality automata made by jewellers, such as the French table fountain which will be discussed in the next section.

From the late 15th century onwards there was a flowering in the development of automata. This was partly a continuation of earlier medieval technological developments, but also the result of the humanist movement and the translation from Greek, Syriac and Arabic of many earlier texts. Andrea del Verrocchio, Florence’s premier armourer, designed and built an automaton clock, and several knight automata have armour based on his designs. His pupil Leonardo da Vinci made huge contributions to this field in areas such as coil springs, control mechanisms, and realistic movement based on anatomical studies. He invented a mechanical lion (previously described), and a robotic knight which stood up, moved its head and arms and opened its visor to reveal a face with an articulated jaw so it would appear to speak.

There are numerous extant examples and descriptions of automata from the 16th century (eg the Italian automaton at right), including tabletop automata designed by engineer Gianello Torriano (who also worked on larger scale projects such as the Toledo waterworks) and locksmith Hans Bullman; a wooden flying beetle made by astrologer John Dee; a mechanical prosthetic hand designed by surgeon Ambroise Paré (left); and the infamous Rood of Grace at Boxley Abbey.

(left); and the infamous Rood of Grace at Boxley Abbey. Most of the Chinese clock technology
(left); and the infamous Rood of Grace at Boxley Abbey. Most of the Chinese clock technology
(left); and the infamous Rood of Grace at Boxley Abbey. Most of the Chinese clock technology

Most of the Chinese clock technology was lost by the 14th century because of a combination of poor maintenance and deliberate destruction in dynastic struggles. Clockwork technology was re-introduced to Japan, India and China through Jesuit missionaries in the 16th and 17th centuries. This influence can be seen in the similarities between 16th century European automata and 18th century Japanese manuscript descriptions of a tea-serving automaton.

9

A Medieval Dragon Automaton

The Use and Technology of Fire in Medieval Entertainment

Fire-related special effects were very popular in medieval and Renaissance entertainment:

theatrical productions, pageants and feasts. The effects included showers of sparks from slow- burning black powder fireworks, flame-throwing using either liquid or dry powder fuels, [suitably protected] actors and props soaked in flammable substances and set alight, fire balls, and battle scenes outlined in burning fuses (quickmatch). Philip Butterworth’s book, Theatre of Fire, discusses the history and technology of these special effects in early English and Scottish theatre in great detail. Here I’ll discuss the aspects relevant to creating a fire-breathing effect.

Subtleties: fire breathing birds

In his 15th century cookbook, Cuoca Napoletana 19 , Maestro Martino gives instructions on how

to serve a roast peacock so that it seems to breathe fire, using camphor and aquavitae (brandy) on

a piece of cotton wool placed in the bird’s beak and set alight. Gianbattista della Porta’s

instructions in his 16th century Magia Naturalis 20 are almost indentical and are probably derived from this earlier source. These produce a static flame. To throw a flame a moving source of air is required, either from a bellows, or exhaled air directly from the mouth or via a tube.

Flame throwing using liquid fuels

Various flammable liquids were used for flame effects, mostly alcohol- or hydrocarbon-based, for example aquavitae (alcohol) with or without turpentine or brimstone, and brimstone plus orpiment and oil. Mineral oils sourced in the Middle East had been known and used since ancient times.

Alcohol alone produces a flame which is clear and requires additives to colour it. The common colouring agents used in the middle ages for this purpose were verdigris and sal ammoniac (green), vermillion (red), and orpiment (yellow). These latter additives are highly poisonous.

Flame throwing with dry powder

Della Porta’s Magia Naturalis gives instructions on how “to cast a flame

a great way” using finely powdered colophony (rosin), frankincense or

amber thrown at a candle flame 21 . In Giovanni Isacchi’s 1579 manuscript

Inventioni…nelle quali si manifesto varij Secreti, & vtili auisi a persone di gverra, e per i tempi di piacere (Inventions…in which are revealed various secrets and useful information for military use and in times of peace) a special trumpet with a reservoir for blowing the powder fuel over

a flame is described and illustrated 22 (illustration at right).

described and illustrated 2 2 (illustration at right). 1 9 James Matterer Gode Cookery Presents Incredible

19 James Matterer Gode Cookery Presents Incredible Foods, Solteies, and Entremets

20 Gianbattista della Porta Magia Naturalis: Volume 14 Of Cookery Chaper 9

21 Gianbattista della Porta Magia Naturalis: Volume 12 Artificial Fire Chapter 11

22 Phillip Butterworth Theatre of Fire pp 39-40

10

A Medieval Dragon Automaton

Another technique was to wrap a quantity of wood flour (very fine sawdust) in a piece of silk, cut a slit in the silk and set the wood flour smouldering using a candle or ember. The bundle was then put into the mouth and held firmly with the teeth while blowing, to create the effect of fire breathing. As an alternative to wood flour, tow (chopped up rope fibres) soaked in alcohol could be used.

Modern versions of this firebreathing technique use powdered sugar, wheat starch (eg cornflour or custard powder), coffee creamer, powdered milk and lycopodium. In fact any substance which is flammable when finely powdered and aerated will work. Flammable dusts are a major fire and explosion hazard in workplaces such as coal mines, flour mills and sawmills, so the principle would have been well understood in medieval times.

Lycopodium

have been well understood in medieval times. Lycopodium A number of the Lycopodium clubmosses 2 3

A number of the Lycopodium clubmosses 23 have spores which are flammable due to their naturally high fat content. They grow widely across Europe and have been known since ancient times. Lycopodium selago was described by Pliny the Elder in his 1st century CE Naturalis Historia. Lycopodium clavatum (wolf’s foot clubmoss) is referred to in the 1554 herbal Cruydeboeck by Flemish physician and botanist Rembert Dodoens 24 . In the classical and medieval periods lycopodium was used for medicinal purposes, and continues to be used today in various herbal and homeopathic remedies.

The first reference I could find to the use of lycopodium as a flammable agent was in an 1806 report to the French Sciences Academy on the prototype internal combustion engine, the pyréolophore, patented by French brothers Nicéphore and Claude Niépce in 1807 25 . The report states “the fuel ordinarily used by M. M. Niépce is made of lycopodium spores, the combustion of which being the most intense and the easiest one; however this material being costly, they replaced it with pulverised coal and mixed it if necessary with a small portion of resin”. Later in the 19th century there are several accounts of using forge bellows to blow lycopodium over lit braziers as a theatrical fire effect 26 . Although it is probable that its flammability was noted during the middle ages and Renaissance, any suggestion of lycopodium being used for pyrotechnics in this period is purely speculative as it is not mentioned in contemporary books of secrets or other pyrotechnic information. I had some discussions with the author of Theatre of Fire, and unfortunately he was not able to add any further information on pre-19th century use of lycopodium.

23 Clubmosses are not mosses. They are related to ferns.

24 Charles Morren Dodonæa: ou, recueil d'observations de botanique

25 The pyreolophore Niépce House website

26 Phillip Butterworth Theatre of Fire p81

11

A Medieval Dragon Automaton

Despite this lack of documentability I chose lycopodium as the fuel for this project. After testing various options it was by far the most consistently performing fuel and also relatively safe. It is only flammable when dispersed in air in the presence of a flame, and spills and stored fuel will not burn. As noted by the Niépce brothers, though, it is quite expensive, at $20 for a 30ml bottle 27 . There is further discussion on my choice of lycopodium as a fuel in the section on design and construction of the dragon.

Mechanisms and Materials in Medieval Automata

For discussion purposes I have divided the external appearance and materials used for automata into three groups: fine, jeweller-quality work which includes table fountains, moving nefs and table clocks; larger scale, sturdy mechanisms such as tower clock jacquemarts; and performance automata such as Leonardo da Vinci’s lion and theatrical props.

such as Leonardo da Vinci’s lion and theatrical props. The jewellery-quality automata such as the 14th
such as Leonardo da Vinci’s lion and theatrical props. The jewellery-quality automata such as the 14th
such as Leonardo da Vinci’s lion and theatrical props. The jewellery-quality automata such as the 14th

The jewellery-quality automata such as the 14th century French table fountain (above, left 28 ) draw on the same design and construction techniques as standing cups and reliquaries and were made of brass, bronze and silver, often with enamelling, niello and gilding. The mechanisms used precision metal gears and cams, and in the case of table fountains, hydaulic mechanisms. Table clocks and other 16th century automata were often powered by coil springs.

Jacquemarts and tower clock automata (above, centre 29 ) needed to be much sturdier. They were made of cast iron, bronze/brass and carved wood, and were usually painted. The mechanisms, like the clocks they were part of, were made of cast or forged iron and brass.

Performance automata like the 16th century cittern-playing woman (above, right 30 ) fell somewhere in between. Smaller tabletop automata usually had the same type of metal precision

27 Bernard’s Magic Shop, Melbourne

28 Getty Museum 14th century table fountain

30 Kunsthistorisches Museum, Vienna

12

A Medieval Dragon Automaton

A Medieval Dragon Automaton mechanisms as table clocks, whereas a large automaton produced for a one-off

mechanisms as table clocks, whereas a large automaton produced for a one-off pageant might have a cheaper wooden mechanism. The working parts were housed in a body made of wood or or pasteboard (a type of cardboard or papier-mâché), or a wooden, cane or metal frame covered with paper, cloth, leather or fur (in the case of animal automata). Human automata were dressed in sewn clothing and/or metal armour. The illustration at left shows a monk automaton with wooden body shell fitted with a metal mechanism. Over this the figure wears a monk’s habit and carries a rosary.

When it came to examining which mechanical parts it might be appropriate to use, it became apparent that it was more a case of what could not be used. Most types of gear can be documented, including bevel gears, worm gears, epicyclic gears (gears which have their axis on another gear), segmental gears (gears which have teeth part on only part of their circumference) and non-circular gears; but not helical gears.

and non-circular gears; but not helical gears. Most medieval metal gear wheels had a triangular tooth

Most medieval metal gear wheels had a triangular tooth profile which was easy to shape with a file. Modern gear teeth have an involute profile, where the teeth are shaped so that the load is spread more evenly throughout the period of tooth contact between adjacent gears.

the period of tooth contact between adjacent gears. Wooden gears were either made as spur or

Wooden gears were either made as spur or crown gears or by laminating pieces of timber together, in both cases so that the force on the gear teeth was not acting along the grain line (which risks shearing off the gear teeth). Spur and crown gears were paired with lantern gears, which resemble a hollow cage (at left).

Cams and followers, cranks, ratchets, pulleys and the geneva stop were all mechanisms in use during the 14th to 16th centuries. Treadle powered lathes and grinding wheels were used in addition to hand tools for shaping wooden and metal parts. There were also specialty machines for making coil springs, screw threads and metal files.

Although small rubber and plastic belt and pulley systems are often found in modern automata, the materials available in the middle ages for pulley belts - leather and rope - were only suitable for larger scale machinery where slight slippage did not matter. Similarly chain drives were used, but only in large machinery.

To provide an air source to blow instruments etc, most of the early automata used hydraulic mechanisms to alter air pressure. There is at least one example of bellows being used, however, in a 16th musical galleon 31 (at right).

31 British Museum

least one example of bellows being used, however, in a 16th musical galleon 3 1 (at

13

A Medieval Dragon Automaton

Part 2: Design, Construction and Testing of the Dragon Automaton

A Medieval Dragon Automaton Part 2: Design, Construction and Testing of the Dragon Automaton 14

14

A Medieval Dragon Automaton

Design and Construction

Having researched what materials and mechanisms I could use, I turned to a contemporary book 32 and several websites 33 on designing and making automata to assist with the design process. My initial plan was to make the dragon with a hollow wooden body, a sheet metal (brass or copper) head and thin leather wings similar to a bat’s. I was not sure whether to try to fit all the mechanisms inside the dragon, or have them underneath, concealed within a “rock” or “pile of treasure”. I was also unsure whether I would be able to have the dragon powered by a wind-up mechanism using a coil spring, or simply by an external crank handle.

The tail design was inspired by an articulated toy wooden snake, and was going to be covered in overlapping leather scales which would still allow it to flex. The fire-breathing would use a tiny bellows to blow fuel over an external flame source such as a candle. In addition to tail and wing movement, I considered having the neck move up and down, and some finer scale movements such as eyelids or claws.

As the following discussion will show, the original plans had to be modified quite a bit as I proceeded.

plans had to be modified quite a bit as I proceeded. The first step was to
plans had to be modified quite a bit as I proceeded. The first step was to

The first step was to make a rough model to work out the size and proportions of the dragon. For this I used soft drink bottles, cardboard and tape (above left). I then constructed a raised platform on a plywood base to mount the individual mechanisms for testing, keeping all the working parts within the size envelope of the original model (above right). While I was developing and testing mechanisms I was trying to find an elongated wooden bowl to use for the body shell to avoid having to make something from scratch. Although I eventually found one that worked well, it would probably have been better to have made a body shell myself right at the start so that the test rig would be exactly the same size. As it was, I got the mechanisms to work well but then had to completely rework them to fit inside the actual body.

32 Robert Addams How To Design and Make Automata, available to purchase online as a pdf file

33 Robert Ives Designing Paper Animations [website]

15

A Medieval Dragon Automaton

I chose to work on the wings first. These pivot on small bars in the body wall, and are linked inside the body so that they move together when pulled by a cord. As I was still unsure whether the mechanism would be inside or outside the dragon, in the test version the cord ran through the test platform to an offset cam turned by a handle. By the time it came to the final version, I had pared down the number of mechanisms sufficiently that I could fit them inside the body, so the cord now runs to a pulley on the belly of the dragon, under the bellows to a second pulley, then up to a crank on the main driveshaft. As the crank turns it pulls the wing cord and moves the wings upward. The return to the downward position is assisted by gravity.

The prototype wings were made of cardboard with the lever arms in laminated wood (paddle pop sticks). The first version was too heavy, so I had to reduce the wing size quite a bit. I realised from the start that the wings would need to either fold or be removable for ease of packing, so the final design was planned to have the wing mechanism end in stumps to which the actual wings could be attached. In line with the original plan, the wings are made from a fairly thin flexible leather (which is also used for the bellows). The “finger bones” of the wings are formed from three thin hollow brass rods. I considered using cane, but thought this would be too much at risk of breakage with repeated handling. One end of each rod was flattened so that all three would fit into a joint formed from the metal part of an electrical terminal block, and held in place by the terminal block screw. Ideally this joint should be hard soldered. The “arm bones” are made from heavier brass rod held in the other side of the terminal block, and end in a connector for joining to the body.

block, and end in a connector for joining to the body. Next was the tail. The

Next was the tail. The toy snake which was the inspiration for this consisted of a number of hemicylindical pieces glued along a central strip of cloth or leather so that it could flex from side to side. Another possible design, also based on a toy snake, had the segments hollowed at each end and joined by pins. This could be made from wood, hollow bamboo, or sheet metal, but would have been more difficult to make, so I stayed with the original design. The protoype tail was made from a leather strip and balsa wood segments (chosen because it was easy to work).

balsa wood segments (chosen because it was easy to work). Three possible mechanisms were considered to

Three possible mechanisms were considered to convert the

turning of the drive shaft to a side to side movement of the tail:

a skewed cam, described in Robert Addams’ automata book; a

drum cam based on a drawing from one of Leonardo da Vinci’s notebooks (one of the mechanisms for the robot knight); and a pair of egg-shaped cams offset by 180˚ which would push a bar from side to side. I made a drum cam, but this was fairly difficult to shape with hand tools, so I moved on to the skewed

cam. Parts of this cam need to be very thin, and in the prototype

I used very thin timber and plastic. The tail mechanism worked

well with this combination, and I decided to use this for the

16

A Medieval Dragon Automaton

A Medieval Dragon Automaton final version, substituting metal for the thin wood, which was too fragile,

final version, substituting metal for the thin wood, which was too fragile, and the plastic. The skewed cam is linked to the main drive shaft by a spur and crown gear train. One advantage of these gears is that you can have a 1:1 gear ratio with one gear (the crown gear) larger than the other, making it ideal to fit in the sloping space of the back section of the body.

The gaps left between the balsa wood segments to allow the tail to flex were a bit large and the tail tended to droop down too much, so for the next version I made the gaps wedge- shaped so that less leather was exposed. For this tail I used tasmanian oak dowel tapered with a spokeshave, cut longitudinally down the centre and then into segments which were shaped using a power sander. I carved a specially shaped piece for the end of the tail, and left leather “spines” sticking up from the top of the tail. This version was much heavier, and didn’t work at all well with the skewed cam. The extra weight meant that because the two sides were not perfectly balanced it wouldn’t move properly with the small side-to-side movement generated by the cam. I did try to design an alternative mechanism which would rotate the tail slightly, allowing the weight of the tail to then flick it around. This was not sucessful, so I went back to the skewed cam, and lightened the tail by removing a segment at the base and paring down the tip.

by removing a segment at the base and paring down the tip. The bellows were probably

The bellows were probably the easiest part of the design and construction. The design is based on hinged fire bellows, but because of the small size the outlet is located on one of the sides rather than at the hinged end. They are made from 5mm plywood and leather glued with contact cement. One piece of leather forms the movable section of the bellows, and a second piece forms the hinge. This is reinforced with a brass hinge. The inlet valve is made from a leather flap on the inside. The inlet and outlet are offset so that they are not directly opposite each other, and the outlet has a small brass fitting glued in place to connect to the outlet tubing (because the wood is too thin to hold a metal tube in place). Although the bellows worked perfectly I had to make a second set as the first ended up being too large to fit the other mechanisms alongside it. The bellows are mounted on a block shaped to fit the shell of the dragon, with a channel for the wing cord running through it.

dragon, with a channel for the wing cord running through it. The air tube running from

The air tube running from the bellows to the mouth is 5mm copper plumbing pipe. I had initially thought that I’d require flexible segments in the tube to allow for neck movement. I planned to use the solution chosen by Leonardo da Vinci for his underwater breathing apparatus, making the flexible segments out of springs covered in air-tight leather. As I did not include neck movement in the final design the air tube is a single piece of copper pipe bent to fit. It is very fiddly fitting

17

A Medieval Dragon Automaton

the tubing to the bellows in such a confined space, and it may be better to include a joint for that reason.

and it may be better to include a joint for that reason. The bellows are kept

The bellows are kept closed by a spring, which is gradually stretched open by means of a snail cam (left). The drop section of the cam allows the spring to rapidly pull tight again, squeezing the bellows.

To reduce the frequency of the bellows operation to once per 8 wing/ tail movements a reduction gear of some sort was required. Four main options were considered: a spur gear train, a worm gear, a geneva mechanism, and a ratchet and pawl (below left). In a spur gear train the reduction is proportional to the ratio of the diameters of the gear wheels. Even allowing for a two stage reduction this takes up too much room inside the body. A worm gear is very compact, but the minimum practical gear reduction is about 1:12 (modern guitar tuning pegs use 1:14). It is also technically quite challenging to achieve the necessary precision with hand manufacture. A geneva mechanism, used in watches in the 16th century and in modern film projectors, allows a 1:8 reduction very easily and is silent, but requires an additonal linkage, and a locking mechanism to prevent it slipping. A ratchet and pawl is rather noisy, but has the advantage that the driving pawl can span a fair distance, removing the need for an additional linkage such as a drive belt or gear train. The movement of both a ratchet and a geneva mechanism is intermittent, but for the purpose of stretching the spring this does not matter. I made a geneva mechanism to start with, but decided that a ratchet and pawl would be more efficient, and this was included in the final design.

more efficient, and this was included in the final design. The bottom half of the body

The bottom half of the body shell is wood, and the top half is made of papier mâché reinforced with timber and brass struts, covered with leather. I’m not entirely happy with the papier mâché as it dried too quickly and warped. I may end up making a replacement top section out of wire- work covered in leather at some stage. This will also allow me to make a new, slimmer neck, as the current one makes the head look disproportionately small.

current one makes the head look disproportionately small. The head, horns and legs are hand carved
current one makes the head look disproportionately small. The head, horns and legs are hand carved
current one makes the head look disproportionately small. The head, horns and legs are hand carved

The head, horns and legs are hand carved from wood. I initially thought I’d need the head to be fire-proof, and planned to construct a sheet metal head. Luckily it turned out that wood was satisfactory, because my metalworking skills were not up to the task.

18

A Medieval Dragon Automaton

Fuel

I started research on the fuel for the dragon’s fire very early in the design process. Initially I did not have the Theatre of Fire reference, so I began by looking at modern fire-breathing fuels. The first decision to be made was whether to use a liquid fuel such as paraffin, kerosene, or alcohol or a dry fuel. I quickly ruled out liquid fuel because of the problem of fuel residues on the dragon causing difficulty transporting the dragon in my luggage. I did not want to set off any alarms during explosives testing at the airport.

Of the dry fuels, cornstarch (cornflour) seemed to be the one which was used most by fire-

breathers. I tested both cornflour and powdered sugar (icing sugar) but found that if either of these was at all damp they wouldn’t work, and risked clogging up whatever delivery mechanism

I put into the dragon. I considered using some of the suggested alternatives such as non-dairy

coffee creamer (eg coffee mate) but then came across references to lycopodium being used for fire effects by magicians. There were a number of videos on the internet showing it in use and it looked like a much better fuel option.

I purchased a small bottle of lycopodium from a magic shop (marketed rather appropriately as

“dragon’s breath”) and found that it worked very well. Lycopodium is also very safe to use, and the only potential problem is the small risk of it causing contact dermatitis. I was a little surprised by the smell - similar to stale frying oil - when it is burnt, something not mentioned in any of the information I had gathered. I went on to test the lycopodium using the completed bellows and tubing, and discovered that it worked best by loading it into the tubing through the dragon’s mouth. Adding an aeration chamber to the system did not improve the performance. While it would have been nice to have a mechanism for delivering a fresh dose of fuel after each fire breath, the lycopodium is very slippery and hard to store in a reservoir without it leaking out, so the dragon can only breathe fire once for each time it is loaded with fuel.

I did look at the possibility of using an authentic period fuel, and tested colophony (powdered

rosin) for this purpose. This is easily obtained from art supply shops. However it burns very smokily, and molten but unburned rosin can drip and is much more of a fire risk. An additional problem is that it does not flow easily and tends to clog small diameter tubing. Repeated exposure to the fumes of burning rosin may also cause asthma (a common problem with using solder fluxes containing rosin).

Power Source

Due to time constraints I was unable to include a wind-up mechanism, so the dragon is powered by a simple external hand crank. It will take quite a bit of experimentation to get the power and timing of a coil spring compatible with the existing workings, and will involve substituting the hand crank with a falling weight (pulling a string wound around an axle), and once this has been calibrated, testing coil springs against this to find the right one. It will also require a hold-and- release mechanism to stop the dragon winding down before it is ready to use.

19

A Medieval Dragon Automaton

Project Notebooks

Leonardo da Vinci’s notebooks were a great inspiration to me, and I wanted to use include my own working notebooks as part of the project.

use include my own working notebooks as part of the project. Researching the notebooks dispelled a

Researching the notebooks dispelled a few misconceptions. There is a bit of a myth that the devices in Leonardo’s notebooks are the forerunner of all the technology and inventions of our own era. He is often said to be “hundreds of years ahead of his time”. The reality is that his inventions draw on centuries- old traditions of engineering, and many of his devices are based on the written works of other engineers and on observations of the activities of other workshops. He travelled extensively, and sketched machinery and devices that he saw, in addition to developing his own ideas. There are numerous descriptions and drawings of technology similar to Leonardo’s in manuscripts from earlier periods and from geographically distant places.

What distinguishes Leonardo’s notebooks is partly the sheer volume. There are thousands of drawings remaining, and these are thought to represent only about a quarter of his work. The Codex Atlanticus alone contained over 1200 pages. Other distinctive features of Leonardo’s work are the use of anatomical studies to help create more life-like movements in his inventions, and the high technical quality of the drawings.

Unfortunately his drawings and notes are dispersed across many separate collections compiled from his papers after his death, so that any original grouping of his work has been lost. Between lost drawings, separated works and the fact that even within the notebooks there is no clear chronological order, it is difficult to know which drawings relate to a single invention. For example, a project undertaken by roboticist Mark Rosheim to reconstruct Leonardo’s robot knight 34 required a lengthy review of all the existing codices across the world looking for related drawings, in order to understand the mechanics involved.

My notebooks draw on this tradition. While I chose not to handwrite all my notes due to the volume of reference material, all the concept and working drawings are in the notebooks, where they make a useful contribution to understanding how I developed the design of the dragon.

34 Mark Rosheim Leonardo’s Lost Robots

20

A Medieval Dragon Automaton

Discussion

This was a formidable project - the research was drawn from over 100 references: books, websites, history documentaries and discussions with historians and pyrotechnic experts - and the design and construction process was rather more difficult and lengthy than I had anticipated. But from the very beginning of the project there was a lot of interest in the dragon, particularly the fire-breathing aspect. It seems everyone loves fire.

So why choose this particular project? My main focus in the SCA to date has been medieval art materials and techniques, especially painting. I could simply have chosen a challenging painting project, but I decided instead to focus on a very different role of the court artist, that of creating spectacular court entertainments. I chose a dragon because I wanted to play with fire, and because Leonardo da Vinci, a major source of inspiration, liked dragons a lot. His notebooks have a number of drawings of dragons, including tiny figures tucked in amongst the horses and cats. So I revisited my engineering science studies of 20+ years ago, and hoped that the dragon- building would not the overwhelm me.

I started the research as soon as I had decided to make the dragon, and was immediately surprised by the wealth of material available, in contrast to topics I had researched in the past. There were a relatively large number of extant examples, plus manuscript and book illustrations and contemporary descriptions of geared mechanisms and automata. Also, many of the documentaries I watched included computer simulations and physical reconstructions of the devices described in manuscripts. The technology went much further back and was more geographically widespread and more technically advanced than I had initially appreciated. I have come away with a much better understanding of the history of technology and the place of the middle ages within it, both from a technical and a sociological perspective.

Researching such a large volume of material also had other benefits. I learnt how to use a number of features of my word-processing software that I had never used before in order to manage and access the reference material, and how to use video-editing software to create a short documentary about the dragon 35 . I elected fairly early in the process of documentation to include hyperlinked references so that readers (and myself) could find the source material easily, and because so many of the images were copyright, to include links to those rather than printing them out (other than the ones accompanying the printed copy of the documentation). I also wanted to include plans for constructing the dragon, and in the end decided to put all the information on a CD-ROM.

Although I did make a lot of use of the computer, some notes from the reference material and all the working sketches of the dragon’s mechanisms were handwritten into notebooks. I used modern pens and pencils for this, but from using pen and ink on other projects I have some idea how frustrating it is to have ideas buzzing around in your head and continually having to stop sketching to re-ink your pen.

21

A Medieval Dragon Automaton

The design, construction and testing process was very challenging. It is one thing to understand how the mechanisms work in theory, and altogether another to be able to build them to fit inside an irregularly-shaped body shell with the necessary precision for them to work smoothly in conjunction with multiple other parts. I tended to procrastinate during this phase because sometimes it just seemed too hard, and ended up having to simplify the design quite a lot. One important lesson I learnt was not to try to learn too many new skills at once. I do have a much better grasp of how to structure the design process for next time, though.

During the construction I presented the work in progress a couple of times during SCA events, along with a discussion of the mechanical technology behind it. This was quite helpful in clarifying what information was important to include in the documentation. Meeting and sharing ideas with other people who are interested in the technology has also been one of the really fun aspects of this project. A number of people have expressed interest in making their own version of the dragon or something similar, and I hope to see some interesting results from this over the next few years.

of the dragon or something similar, and I hope to see some interesting results from this

22

A Medieval Dragon Automaton

Appendix: Timeline of Geared Mechanisms and Automata

420 BCE

Archytas of Tarenton - wooden pigeon - steam/compressed air

384-322 BCE

Archimedes - mechanical problems, hydraulic organ, planetarium, crane claw

280-220 BCE

Philo of Byzantium - water wheels, mills, bird+snake hydraulic device

220

BCE

Ctesibius - clepsydra (water clock)

200

BCE

China - musical automata

150

BCE

Antikythera mechanism treatise on astrolabes (Hipparchus?)

1st c BCE

Vitruvius (Roman engineer)

75-50 BCE

Athens - Tower of the Winds: sundials, clepsydra, planetarium

100

CE

Heron of Alexandria - automated theatre, holy water dispenser, aeolopile

350

CE

Theon of Alexandria - treatise on astrolabes

550CE

John Philoponus - treatise on astrolabe in Greek

mid 7th c

Severus Sebokht - Mesopotamia - treatise on astrolabe in Syriac

692

CE

Chinese clock

751

CE

Chinese prisoners in Samarkand - papermaking, water-powered trip hammers

8th c

earliest Islamic astrolabes

800-1150 CE

Islamic translation movement

9th c

Book of Ingenious Devices, pneumatic/ hydraulic; book on mechanics Arabic treatises on astrolabes

10th c

earliest preserved astrolabes Arabic treatise on devices including automata Caliphate of Baghdad - automaton Byzantine treatise on Throne of Solomon in Constantinople

23

A Medieval Dragon Automaton

11th c

China - astronomical tower clock of Su Sung al-Biruni - scientist, mining technology, astronomical instruments al-Murcei - Spain - water clocks, automata Gerbert of Aurillac (later Pope Silvester II) introduced astrolabe to Europe

12th c

al-Jazari - book of ingenious mechanical devices, musicians, elephant clock Sanskrit descriptions of automata

1221

oldest surviving complete gear train - Persian astrolabe

1225-50

Villard de Honnecourt - water powered saw, weight driven clock, rope/pulley mechanism to turn angel

late 13th c

Duc Phillipe, Count of Artois, Hesdin Castle - garden devices, mechanical apes

1292-1336

Richard of Wallingford - astronomical clock

1364

Giovanni de Dondi - astronomical table clock

14th c

table fountain

14/15th c

tower clocks, jaquemarts, automated carillons

1495

Leonardo da Vinci - robot knight, coil spring illustrations

1515

Leonardo da Vinci - robot lion

16th c

Hans Bullman - automata Gianello Torriano - automata, Toledo waterworks

1545

John Dee - flying wooden beetle

1564

Ambroise Paré - mechanical hand

16th c

Rood of Grace, Boxley Abbey firework-propelled dragon on wire devil automaton

16/17th c

China/ Japan/ India via Jesuit missionaries - clocks and automata

18th c

Japanese karakuri puppets/automata such as tea-serving automata

24

A Medieval Dragon Automaton

Bibliography

Introduction

BBC Leonardo da Vinci [video] (accessed Feb 2011)

BBC Science and Islam [video] (accessed Feb 2011)

Cellini, Benvenuto The Autobiography of Benvenuto Cellini (translation by J. Addington Symonds 1888) The Lowell Press (undated edition)

Grimmer, Rachel My Medieval Life [blog] http://mymedievallife.wordpress.com/

History Channel (2007) Ancient Discoveries - Machines III (Ancient China) [video] (accessed Feb 2011)

History Channel (2007) Ancient Discoveries - Machines of the East (al-Jazari) [video] (accessed Feb 2011)

History Channel (2007) Ancient Discoveries - Islamic Science [video] (accessed Feb 2011)

History Channel (2007) Ancient Discoveries - Robots [video] (accessed Feb 2011)

King, Elizabeth Clockwork Prayer: Juanello Turriano Blackbird Archive Spring 2001 Vol 1 No 1 (accessed Feb 2011)

Leonardo da Vinci’s Lion Robot for the King of France, Year 1515 [animation] (accessed Feb

2011)

Nature Video Channel (2008) Antikythera mechanism [video] (accessed Feb 2011)

Reuters Da Vinci’s mechanical lion walks [video] (accessed Feb 2011)

25

A Medieval Dragon Automaton

Simon Schaffer on the history of clocks [video] (accessed Feb 2011)

Wikipedia Artificio de Juanelo (accessed Feb 2011) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Artificio_de_Juanelo

Zuffi,Stefano European Art of the Fifteenth Century (English translation by D Phillips) Getty Publications 2005

Artisans and the Role of Automata in the Courts

Bedini, Silvio A. The Role of Automata in the History of Technology Technology and Culture Vol. 5, No. 1 (Winter 1964), pp24-42 [article scanned and edited by Michael Anderson 1999]

Brewer, Derek

University of Melbourne Bailleau Library 821.17 B847

Chaucer in His Time Longman Group 1973

Eamon, William Science and the Secrets of Nature: Books of Secrets in Medieval and Early Modern Culture Princeton University Press 1994

Hill, Donald

A History of Engineering in Classical and Medieval Times Croom Helm Ltd

1984

University of Melbourne Bailleau Library 620.00901 HILL

Historian Wins Grant For Study of Medieval Automata Medievalists.net (accessed Feb 2011)

Lightsey, S Manmade Marvels in Medieval Culture and Literature Palgrave Macmillan 2007 (accessed Feb 2011) http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/

http://www.goodreads.com/review/show/110164300 (book review) (accessed Feb 2011)

Misa, Thomas J.

Leonardo to the Internet: technology and culture from the renaissance to the

present The Johns Hopkins University Press 2004 University of Melbourne Bailleau Library 609.03 MISA

Nocks, Lisa The Robot: the life story of a technology Greenwood Press 2007 University of Melbourne Bailleau Library 629.892 NOCK

The British Museum The Mechanical Galleon (accessed Feb 2011)

26

A Medieval Dragon Automaton

The Cleveland Museum of Art 14th Century French Table Fountain [text, photos, animation] (accessed Feb 2011) http://www.framemuseums.org/jsp/fiche_oeuvre.jsp?

Whyte, Nicholas 1999 The Astronomical Clock of Richard of Wallingford [essay] (accessed Feb

2011)

Zuffi, Stefano European Art of the Fifteenth Century (English translation by D Phillips) Getty Publications 2005

The History of Geared Mechanisms and Automata

al-Hassan, Ahmad Y. Al Jazari and the History of the Water Clock (accessed Feb 2011) http://www.history-science-technology.com/Articles/articles 6.htm

Banu Musa bin Shakir Kitab al-Hiyal (The Book of Ingenious Devices) 9th century [Muhammad, Ahmad and al-Hassan bin Musa ibn Shakir]

translated and annotated by Donald R. Hill

University of Melbourne Bailleau Library 620.106 MUHA

D. Reidel Publishing Company 1979

Brewer, Derek

University of Melbourne Bailleau Library 821.17 B847

Chaucer in His Time Longman Group 1973

Brumbaugh, Robert Ancient Greek Gadgets and Machines Thomas Y. Cromwell Company

1966

University of Melbourne Bailleau Library 609.38 B893

Burnett-Stuart Astronomical Clocks of the Middle Ages: A Guided Tour(2 parts) (accessed Feb

2011)

Butterworth, Philip

University of Melbourne Bailleau Library 793.80942 BUTT

Magic on the Early English Stage

Cambridge University Press 2005

27

A Medieval Dragon Automaton

Cansdale, Lena The Radhanites: 9th Century Jewish International Traders Aust. J. Jewish Studies Volume X, Numbers 1 & 2, 1996 pp 65-77 [editorial copy]

Cigola, M. Greek and Muslim Automata Proceedings of the 2nd Annual Conference on Ancient Greek Technology 2006

de Dondi’s Astrarium (accessed Feb 2011) http://www.almagest.co.uk/info.htm

Dolezal, Mary-Lyon and Mavroudi, Maria Theodore Hyratkenos’ Description of the Garden of St Anna and the Ekphrasis of Gardens - extract from Byzantine Garden Culture edited by Antony Littlewood, Henry Maguire and Joachim Wolschke-Bulmahn Dumbarton Oaks Research Library and Collection 2002

Fallon, S (2009) Da Vinci’s Lion Brought To Life After 500 Years (accessed Feb 2011)

Freeth, T. et al Decoding the Antikythera Mechanism: Investigation of an Ancient Astronomical Calculator Nature, Volume 444, Issue 7119, (2006) pp 578-591

Gopalakrishna, Srikumar V. (1998) India’s Tradition of Flying Machines (accessed Mar 2011)

Hill, Donald

A History of Engineering in Classical and Medieval Times Croom Helm Ltd

1984

University of Melbourne Bailleau Library 620.0091 HILL

History Channel (2008) Engineering an Empire: China (accessed Feb 2011)

Hornyak, Timothy N Loving the Machine: The Art and Science of Japanese Robots Kodansha International 2006 State Library of Victoria

28

A Medieval Dragon Automaton

Ihsanoglu, E (ed) History of Science and Technology in Islam: Transfer of Islamic Technology to the West (accessed Feb 2011) http://www.history-science-technology.com/Articles/articles 7.htm

I ropebot [the string control mechanism of Heron of Alexandria’s theatre] Reed Business Information 2007 (accessed Feb 2011)

Johnston, B 2004 Leonardo da Vinci [article on his 3-wheeled cart] (accessed Feb 2011)

King, Elizabeth Clockwork Prayer Blackbird Archive Spring 2001 Vol 1 No 1 (accessed Feb

2011)

Leonardo da Vinci’s Robots (accessed Feb 2011) http://www.allonrobots.com/leonardo-da-vinci.html

Misa, Thomas J.

Leonardo to the Internet: technology and culture from the renaissance to the

present The Johns Hopkins University Press 2004 University of Melbourne Bailleau Library 609.03 MISA

Museum of the History of Science Astrolabe [Persian geared astrolabe c1221] (accessed Feb

2011)

Nadarajan, Gunalan Islamic Automation: A Reading of Al-Jazari’s Book of Knowledge of Ingenious Mechanical Devices (accessed Feb 2011)

Nocks, Lisa The Robot: the life story of a technology Greenwood Press 2007 University of Melbourne Bailleau Library 629.892 NOCK

Quigley, Chris 2009 Leonardo’s Lion (accessed Feb 2011)

Rosheim, Mark Leonardo’s Lost Robots Springer State Library of Victoria, Redmond Barry Reading Room B629.892 R73L

Smithsonian Institution (1978) Automaton figure of a monk, South Germany or Spain, c1560

29

A Medieval Dragon Automaton

Swets & Zeitlinger The Talking Brass Head As a Symbol of Dangerous Knowledge in ‘Friar Bacon’ and in ‘Alphonsus, King of Aragon’ English Studies, 1999, 5, pp 408-422 http://iris.nyit.edu/~klagrand/brass head article.pdf

The Antikythera Mechanism Research Project (accessed Feb 2011) http://www.antikythera-mechanism.gr/

The Cleveland Museum of Art 14th Century French Table Fountain [text, photos, animation] (accessed Feb 2011) http://www.framemuseums.org/jsp/fiche_oeuvre.jsp?

and

Turner, A.J. The Tragicall History of Giovanni de’ Dondi [book review] Journal for the History of Astronomy Vol 6, (1975) 126-131, reprinted by Science History Publications http://articles.adsabs.harvard.edu//full/1975JHA 6 126T/0000126.000.html

Wikipedia Su Song (accessed Feb 2011) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Su_Song

Wikipedia Zhang He (accessed Feb 2011) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zhang_He

Woodcroft, Bennet The Pneumatics of Hero of Alexandria [full text translation] Taylor Walton and Maberley 1851 http://www.history.rochester.edu/steam/hero/index.html

The Use and Technology of Fire in Medieval Entertainment

Butterworth, Philip

University of Melbourne Bailleau Library 793.80942 BUTT

Magic on the Early English Stage

Cambridge University Press 2005

Butterworth, Philip

Society For Theatre Research 1998

Theatre of Fire: Special Effects in Early English and Scottish Theatre

30

A Medieval Dragon Automaton

della Porta, Gianbattista Magia Naturalis: Volume 12 Artificial Fire (transcribed from the 1658 English edition of Natural Magick) Gianbattista della Porta 1535-1615 (accessed Feb 2011)

della Porta, Gianbattista Magia Naturalis: Volume 14 Of Cookery [a boiled peacock may seem to be alive] (transcribed from the 1658 English edition of Natural Magick) Gianbattista della Porta 1535-1615 (accessed Feb 2011)

Eamon, William Science and the Secrets of Nature: Books of Secrets in Medieval and Early Modern Culture Princeton University Press 1994

Matterer, James (1997-2009) Gode Cookery Presents Incredible Foods, Solteies, and Entremets:

Redressed Peacocks which Seem Living; and How to Make them Breathe Fire through their Mouth - from Cuoco Napoletano (source: Scully, Terence. Cuoco Napoletano. The Neapolitan Recipe Collection : (New York, Pierpont Morgan Library, MS Buhler, 19) : A Critical Edition and English Translation. Ann Arbor: The University of Michigan Press, 2000) http://www.godecookery.com/incrd/incrd.htm

Morren, Charles Dodonæa: ou, recueil d'observations de botanique (Dodonæa: or A Collection of Botanical Observations) Bruxelles, Chez Muquardt, Libraire, Place Royale 1841 [ebook]

Scully, Terence The Art of Cookery in the Middle Ages Boydell Press 1995 University of Melbourne Bailleau Library 641.59409 SCUL

The pyreolophore Niépce House website (accessed Feb 2011)

Mechanisms and Materials in Medieval Automata

Banu Musa bin Shakir (Muhammad, Ahmad and al-Hassan ibn Musa ibn Shakir) Kitab al-Hiyal

(The Book of Ingenious Devices) 9th century [translated and annotated by Donald R. Hill] Reidel Publishing Company 1979 University of Melbourne Bailleau Library 620.106 MUHA

D.

Butterworth, Philip

Society For Theatre Research 1998

Theatre of Fire: Special Effects in Early English and Scottish Theatre

Cianchi, Marco Leonardo’s Machines Edzioni Becocci 1988

31

A Medieval Dragon Automaton

Hill, Donald

A History of Engineering in Classical and Medieval Times Croom Helm Ltd

1984

University of Melbourne Bailleau Library 620.0091 HILL

Le Macchine di Leonardo da Vinci (accessed Feb 2011) http://www.macchinedileonardo.com/index.php

Smithsonian Institution (1978) Automaton figure of a monk, South Germany or Spain, c1560 (accessed Feb 2011)

Designing and Constructing the Dragon

Addams, Robert How To Design and Make Automata Craft Education 2001 available to purchase online as a pdf file at the link below(84 pages) http://www.mechanical-toys.com/BOOK.htm

Calvert, J. B. 1999 Old Gears (accessed Feb 2011) http://mysite.du.edu/~jcalvert/tech/oldgears.htm

Faraday lecture: demonstration of lycopodium powder [video] (accessed Feb 2011)

Fire Breathing With Cornstarch [video] (accessed Feb 2011)

Garrard, F. J. Clock Repairing and Making: Chapter 4 Special Tools and Processes Technical Press, London 1948

Gear Template Generator (accessed Feb 2011) http://woodgears.ca/gear_cutting/template.html

Geneva Wheel (accessed Mar 2011) Kinematic Models For Design Digital Library, Cornell University

Ives, Robert (2011) robives.com Designing Paper Animations (accessed Feb 2011) http://www.robives.com/mechs

Lycopodium Demonstration Kit [video] (accessed Feb 2011) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TGDuoDnbPTc

32

A Medieval Dragon Automaton

Wikipedia Bellows (accessed Mar 2011) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bellows

Project Notebooks

Cianchi, Marco Leonardo’s Machines

Edzioni Becocci 1988

Dean, Katrina Keeping books of nature: An introduction to Leonardo da Vinci’s Codices Arundel and Leicester The British Library Board (undated, accessed Feb 2011)

Pedretti, Carlo Introduction to Leonardo’s Codex Arundel [extract] [originally published as Il Codice Arundel 263 nella British Library (Firenze: Giunti) 1998, extracts translated by Ros Flinn] (accessed Feb 2011)

Rosheim, Mark Leonardo’s Lost Robots Springer State Library of Victoria, Redmond Barry Reading Room B629.892 R73L

The British Museum Leonardo’s Notebooks [website] (accessed Feb 2011) http://www.bl.uk/onlinegallery/onlineex/remarkmanu/leonardo/index.html

The British Museum Turning the Pages: The Leonardo Notebook [interactive version of British Library Arundel MS 263] (accessed Feb 2011) http://www.bl.uk/onlinegallery/ttp/leonardo/accessible/introduction.html

33

A Medieval Dragon Automaton

Guide to Illustrations in the Text

16th century woodcut showing a firework-operated dragon which runs on a wire

Butterworth, Philip

Society For Theatre Research 1998

Theatre of Fire: Special Effects in Early English and Scottish Theatre

x-ray of fragment A of the Antikythera Mechanism National Archaeological Museum of Athens http://www.shawinspectionsystems.com/library/antikythera/dr/fragment.htm?fragment=A

Persian geared astrolabe 1221CE, the oldest known complete gear train Museum of the History of Science, Oxford

Astronomical water clock of Su Sung, 11th century Illustration from Su Song's book Xin Yi Xiang Fa Yao, 1092CE

French manuscript illustration of a weight-driven chamber clock, 15th century Bodleian Library, Oxford Bruton, Eric The History of Clocks and Watches Crescent Books New York 1979 Brighton Library, Melbourne

Italian automaton (The Devil), carved in wood, 15th and 16th centuries, from the

Wunderkammer owned by Ludovico Settala. It could roll its eyes and move its tongue, emit

a noise and spit smoke from the mouth.

Applied Arts Collections Museum, Sforza Castle, Milan

Drawing of a design for a mechanical prosthetic hand by surgeon Ambroise Paré, 16th C From Ambroise Paré's Instrumenta chyrurgiae et icones anathomicae (Surgical Instruments and Anatomical Illustrations), Paris, 1564. (source unrecorded)

18th century Japanese manuscript describing the design of a tea-serving automaton

34

A Medieval Dragon Automaton

Woodcut of a trumpet for blowing powder fuel over a flame, 16th C

Butterworth, Philip

Society For Theatre Research 1998

Theatre of Fire: Special Effects in Early English and Scottish Theatre

Lycopodium clavatum Lycopodium clubmoss showing the spore-forming bodies.

Table fountain, 14th C Getty Museum http://www.getty.edu/art/exhibitions/medieval_treasures/ [select High Gothic from menu, then Table Fountain]

Clock jacquemart, Southwold Cathedral, 15th C

Cittern player automaton, 16th C Kunsthistorisches Museum Vienna

Monk automaton, 16th C Smithsonian Institution

Worm gear, Madrid Codex I f 17 v Cianchi, Marco Leonardo’s Machines Edzioni Becocci 1988

Crown and lantern gears, Ms H Cianchi, Marco Leonardo’s Machines

Edzioni Becocci 1988

Detail of bellows from a muscial galleon, 16th C British Museum, London http://www.britishmuseum.org/explore/highlights/highlight_image.aspx?

One of Leonardo da Vinci’s notebooks (Codex Forster III) c1490 Victoria and Albert Museum, London

Automata mechanisms: ratchets Robert Addams website http://www.mechanical-toys.com/ratchets.htm

35

A Medieval Dragon Automaton

Guide to Illustrations in the Supplement

Reconstruction of Heron of Alexandria’s coin-operated holy water vending machine

Reconstruction of Heron of Alexandria’s aeolopile

Reconstruction of Heron of Alexanndria’s string-programmable cart

Al-Jazari’s automaton orchestra source unrecorded

Al-Jazari’s serving girl automaton

Al-Jazari’s elephant clock source unrecorded

Reconstruction of al-Jazari’s elephant clock

Geared Persian astrolabe, 1221CE

Geared Persian astrolabe, 1221CE

Iron chamber clock in a 15th C French manuscript p47 Bruton, Eric The History of Clocks and Watches Crescent Books New York 1979 Brighton Library, Melbourne

36

A Medieval Dragon Automaton

Giovanni de Dondi’s clock Illustration from Givanni de Dondi’s Il Tractus Astarii describing the construction of his 1348-1364 astrarium clock. Earliest known drawing of a clock escapement, showing the crown wheel and the balance. p34 Bruton, Eric The History of Clocks and Watches Crescent Books New York 1979 Brighton Library, Melbourne

Part of the mechanism of the 1386 Salisbury Cathedral Clock p39 Brunton, Eric The History of Clocks and Watches Crescent Books New York 1979 Brighton Library, Melbourne

14th C French table fountain Getty Museum, Los Angeles http://www.getty.edu/art/exhibitions/medieval_treasures/ and

Mérode Cup c1400 V&A Museum, London

Nuremberg Cup c1500, V&A Museum, London

Cock automaton from the top of first Strasbourg Cathedral clock, 1354 p239 Bruton, Eric The History of Clocks and Watches Crescent Books New York 1979 Brighton Library, Melbourne

15th C jacquemart, Southwold Church

Automaton from the Wells Cathedral clock, 1392; four knights jousting p249 Bruton, Eric The History of Clocks and Watches Crescent Books New York 1979 Brighton Library, Melbourne

Jacquemart known as “Jack Blandifer”, also from the Wells Cathedral clock. The mechanism dates from 1390, but the figure was replaced in the 17th C

37

A Medieval Dragon Automaton

Nef tabletop automaton, 16th C Kunsthistorisches Museum Vienna

Tabletop automaton, 16th C Kunsthistorisches Museum Vienna

Tabletop automaton, 16th C Kunsthistorisches Museum Vienna

Cittern player automaton, 16th C

Mechanism of cittern player automaton

Male saint: musical automaton from the court of Charles V possibly the work of J. Turriano, Madrid 1570-80

38

A Medieval Dragon Automaton

Mechanism inside the saint automaton

Praying monk automaton, 16th C

Mechanical monk, 1560 Deutsches Museum, Munich http://www.robotonline.net/en/timeline/

Italian devil automaton, 16th C Applied Arts Collections Museum, Sforza Castle, Milan

Tabletop automaton, c 1600

Reconstruction of an 18th C Japanese tea-serving automaton Note the similarity in the mechanism to 16th century European examples. http://www.research.uky.edu/odyssey/features/japan.html

Illustration from Karakuri Zui (Illustrated Machinery), 1796 Woodblock printed text by Yorinao Hosogawa

Illustration of a mechanical prosthetic hand by surgeon Ambroise Paré, 16th C From Ambroise Paré's Instrumenta chyrurgiae et icones anathomicae (Surgical Instruments and Anatomical Illustrations), Paris, 1564. (source unrecorded)

Reconstruction of Leonardo da Vinci’s robot knight c1495

One of several reconstructions of Leonardo da Vinci’s lion c1515

One of Leonardo da Vinci’s notebooks (Codex Forster III), 1490-3 V&A Museum, London

Dragon drawing by Leonardo da Vinci

39

A Medieval Dragon Automaton

Dragon drawing, Leonardo da Vinci source unrecorded

Detail of a reconstruction of one of Leonardo da Vinci’s mechanisms - drum cam source unrecorded

Cams and non-circular gears, Madrid Codex I, f. 28 v http://www.anthrobot.com/press/article_leo_programmable.php

Worm gear, Madrid Codex I f 17 v Cianchi, Marco Leonardo’s Machines Edzioni Becocci 1988

Crown and lantern gears Cianchi, Marco Leonardo’s Machines Edzioni Becocci 1988

40