Machine for studying several books at once, 1588.
© Science Museum / Science & Society Picture Library
Copper-plate engraving of 'a beautiful and ingenious machine, very useful and convenient for anyone who takes pleasure in study, especially those who are indisposed and tormented by gout. For with this machine a man can see and turn through a large number of books without moving from one spot.' Illustration from 'Le diverse et artificiose machine' (The various and ingenious machines) by Agostino Ramelli (1531-c 1600) published in Paris in 1588. Ramelli served as an engineer under the Duke of Anjou and Henry III of France. The engravings show machines for drawing water, agricultural and military purposes. A few of Ramelli's designs are linked with earlier engineers such as Hero of Alexandria.