RAMELLI, Agostino (c.1531-c.1608). Le diverse et artificiose machine nellequali si contengono varij et industriosi movimenti. Paris: the author, 1588.
2° (332 x 225mm). Parallel text in French and Italian, within typographic borders. Engraved title within architectural frame, engraved portrait of the author on verso, both by Léonard Gaultier, 194 engravings, of which 174 full-page and 20 double-page, three signed with the monogram 'JG'. (Title repaired at inner margin, Hh1-2 re-margined and with a small area in pen-and-ink facsimile, some marginal tears and repairs, browning, occasional light dampstaining and spotting, short worm track in a few margins, last leaf on a stub.) Early limp vellum, spine lettered in manuscript (possibly a remboîtage, endpapers renewed, some soiling and wear). Provenance: B. Cipriano of Ravenna (title inscription in an early hand).
FIRST EDITION of 'one of the most elegantly produced of all technological treatises' (Norman). The scientific import of Ramelli's work resides in his demonstration of 'the unlimited possibilities of machines. For example, the dozens of water-powered pumps and mills shown in his treatise clearly demonstrated that non-muscular power could be substituted for horse- or human-power in any mechanical task requiring continuous or repetitive application of force' (op. cit.). Other machines shown include fountains, bridges, cranes, foundry equipment, and a smattering of innovative devices such as the famous 'reading wheel' or the bouquet with artificial singing birds. Adams R-52; Brunet IV, 1095; Heralds of Science 173; Harvard/Mortimer French 452; Norman 1777; Riccardi I, 341.