garden, library

January 10, 2011

Ramelli's Bookwheel

By: Toon

The Bookwheel, Agostino Ramelli, 1588

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Bookwheel, from Agostino Ramelli's "Le diverse et artifiose machine," 1588
The bookwheel, an alternative version of the revolving bookstand, is a device designed to allow one person to read a variety of heavy books in one location with ease. The books are rotated vertically much like a Ferris wheel (as opposed to a flat, rotating table surface). This device was invented by Italian military engineer Agostino Ramelli in 1588. To ensure that the books remained at a constant angle, Ramelli incorporated an epicyclic gearing arrangement, a complex device that had only previously been used in astronomical clocks. Ramelli undoubtedly understood that gravity could have worked just as effectively (as it does with a Ferris wheel), but the gearing system allowed him to display his mathematical prowess.