Nouvelles machines phisiques, statiques, hydrauliques que Mr. Castel de Milan Prèvot de la Collegiale de Ste Marie Foulquourine, Professeur emerite de Phisique, & member de plusieurs Académies a inventé, & fait executer. Et que Louis Beltram qui demeure à la Place des Marchands de Milan s’offre d’executer aux prix cy dessous. Carlo CASTELLI, Louis BELTRAMI.
Unrecorded 18th-Century Pamphlet Advertising a Milanese Instrument Maker
Selling the Inventions of the Physicist Carlo Castelli
[Milan], s.n., [c. 1790].

Nouvelles machines phisiques, statiques, hydrauliques que Mr. Castel de Milan Prèvot de la Collegiale de Ste Marie Foulquourine, Professeur emerite de Phisique, & member de plusieurs Académies a inventé, & fait executer. Et que Louis Beltram qui demeure à la Place des Marchands de Milan s’offre d’executer aux prix cy dessous.

Small 4to [19.3 x 12.8 cm], (2) ff. Unbound bifolium. Only very minor toning.

Extremely rare 18th-century pamphlet listing and describing 13 machines recently invented by Carlo Castelli (active 1780-1810s), emeritus professor of physics, member of several learned scientific academies, and Provost of the Collegiata della Sta. Maria Fulcorina in Milan. The 4-page prospectus notes that these inventions are available for order from the instrument maker Luigi Beltrami, who is to be found in the Piazza Mercanti in Milan. Prices are provided for each item, or in the case of large machines, for small-scale models that buyers can use as a guide. This advertisement, written in French but intended for a Francophile Milanese public or for a scientific community accustomed to operating in the lingua franca, is unrecorded in libraries worldwide (OCLC and KVK). An Italian-language version, which today exists in 1 copy (Smithsonian, Dibner), was also published and was cited in a handful of scientific journals in 1790 (e.g. Opuscoli scelti sulle scienze and Antologia Romana). It is likely, then, that this pamphlet was produced both to communicate directly with potential buyers and to address publishers of periodicals who might help Castelli and Beltrami reach a wider audience.

The pamphlet describes Castelli’s floating thermometer, a hydraulic level, an efficient street lamp, a “horse-boat” for transporting these animals across water, a pocket watch with a built-in apparatus to correct time against the sun and to gauge wind direction, a space heater, a silk bag used to carry water, a portable floating suit allowing the wearer to traverse bodies of water (also good as a protection against shipwreck), a new type of animal-driven capstan, a multi-directional windmill, an (almost) perpetual motion wheel, and a device for measuring the flow of water. Journals of the period mention Castelli holding demonstrations of some of these inventions. The most important invention proved to be a hydraulic pump, well suited to firefighting, which Castelli described more fully in his Ventilatore idraulico imaginato, e descritto (1785); an example of this ‘hydraulic ventilator’ or idrobalo was built in 1794 in the workshop of the Museo di Fisica e Storia Naturale of Florence and today is on display at the Museo Galileo in that city.

Castelli also wrote on drainage and epidemiology (Piano ragionato …Sui mezzi più efficaci per liberare la Città di Pavia, e suoi dintorni dall’infezione dell’aria che vi domina [1792], Piano ragionato del proposto Carlo Castelli su i provvedimenti richiesti all'asciugamento delle paludi di Colico [1786]), hot-air ballooning (Il viaggio aereo dell’illustre cavalier milanese don Paolo Andreani [1784]), silk manufacture (L’arte di filare la seta a freddo, ossia senza fuoco sotto le bacine delle filatrici [1785]), and for years he continued to refine his water pump (Tromba Napoleone, o, Sia nuova macchina idraulica destinata al vario sollevamento dell’acqua [1808]).

* Riccardi, vol. 1, cols. 293-95; Opuscoli scelti sulle scienze e sulle arti, vol. 13 (1790), pp. 10-13; Antologia Romana, vol. 17, no. 2 (1790) pp. 14-16; Journal politique, ou Gazette des gazettes, May 1796, pp. 82-83; A. M. Vassalli-Eandi, Mémoire historique de l’Académie des sciences de Turin, depuis 1792 jusqu’a 1805, pp. LII-LIII; Castelli/Beltrami, Macchine fisiche, statiche, idrauliche che il proposto don Carlo Castelli Milanese … [1790] (Smithsonian, Dibner).

 

Price: $1,450.00

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