12 June 2013
BRANCA, Giovanni (1571-1645). Le Machine. Volume nuovo et di molto artificio da fare effetti maravigliosi tanto spiritali quanto di animale operatione. Rome: Giacomo Manuci for Giacomo Mascardi, 1629.
3 parts in one volume, 4° (228 x 175mm). Engraved title and 77 full-page woodcuts. (Small marginal repairs to first leaf, some browning and soiling, occasional light spotting.) Contemporary vellum, title on spine label, marbled edges (spine with chip at head, tear and tiny wormhole).
FIRST EDITION, FIRST ISSUE of this treatise on machinery. The most famous woodcut shows the first representation of an action-powered steam turbine, a device first described by Leonardo da Vinci in the Codex Hammer, which remained unpublished until 1909. It is also the 'first application of steam to useful work' (Dibner). Many other machines are shown among the 77 illustrations, including a reversing hoisting engine. In the present copy the dedication to Monsignor Tiberio Cenci is inserted twice. The first issue was printed without the later 'Imprimatur' on the verso of the title. Dibner 175; Norman 333; Wheeler Gift, 96.
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