01 Jan 1000

Abacus – 2400 BC

With the complex adding systems that we have today, it can be hard to grasp that people were using small stones or other objects as numerical devices from time immemorial. The word calculate itself comes from the Latin calculus, which means small stone. These methods of calculations introduced some elementary kind of abstraction,..Read More

02 Jan 1000

Ctesibius of Alexandria – 280 BC

Circa 322 B.C. the Greek philosopher Aristotle writes: “If every tool, when ordered, or even of its own accord, could do the work that befits it… then there would be no need either of apprentices for the master workers or of slaves for the lords.” In his book Politics, Aristotle..Read More

06 Jan 1000

Philon of Byzantion – 250 BC

Very little is known about the Greek scientist Philon (ca. 280–220 BC) (sometimes called Philo Mechanicus) of Byzantion (Greek: Φίλων ὁ Βυζάντιος). Byzantion is an ancient Greek city (founded in 667 BC), a precursor of Constantinople, the capital of the Eastern Roman Empire, and Istanbul of modern Turkey. he most..Read More

08 Jan 1000

Heron of Alexandria – 50 AD

he mathematician and engineer Heron (also known as Hero) of Alexandria, Egypt, (Greek: Ἥρων ὁ Ἀλεξανδρεύς) is considered the greatest experimenter of antiquity and representer of the Roman and Hellenistic scientific tradition. Much of Heron’s original manuscripts and designs have been lost (he wrote at least 13 books), but fortunately,..Read More

10 Jan 1000

Banu Musa brothers – 730 AD

After the fall of the Western Roman Empire at the end of the 5th century, the western and central part of Europe was swept down by many barbarian tribes and fall into the so-called Dark Ages for some five centuries. During this time, the centers of the world’s art and..Read More

11 Jan 1206


One of the most important medieval works in the field of automata is al-Jamiʿ bayn al-ʿilm wa ʿamal, al-nafiʿ fi sinaʿat al-hiyal (The book of knowledge of ingenious mechanical devices) of Al-Jazari from 1206. Ismail Al-Jazari (1136-1206) (full name Al-Shaykh Ra’is al-A’mal Badi’ al-Zaman Abu al-‘Izz ibn Isma’il ibn al-Razzaz..Read More

01 May 1210

Villard de Honnecourt

The French Villard de Honnecourt is an enigmatic and power-minded medieval person, considered by some people as a precursor of the great Leonardo da Vinci (in 1859 Prosper Mérimée compared Villard to Leonardo for his multiplicity of interests). ery few is known now about Villard (he pictured himself as a soldier and..Read More

30 Jun 1275

Ramon Llull

Doctor Illuminatus Ramon Llull is an amazing figure in the field of philosophy during the Middle Ages, and one of the first people who tried to make logical deductions in a mechanical, rather than a mental way. His method was an early attempt to use logical means to produce knowledge...Read More

02 May 1425

Giovanni Fontana

More than half a century before the extraordinary machine drawings of Leonardo da Vinci, the first technology manuscript of the Italian Renaissance was produced by a Venetian scholar and engineer, who portrayed himself as a magus—Giovanni Jacopo Antonio de (la) Fontana, known also as Johannes de Fontana and Johannes Fontana de Venetiis...Read More

11 May 1493

Leonardo da Vinci

In Leonardo’s manuscript Codex Madrid I, compiled by the genius in 1493, when he served at the Castle of Milan under Duke Ludovico il Moro, there is a sketch, picturing a mechanism, which is very likely to be designed for calculating purposes. Leonardo da Vinci is probably the most diversely..Read More

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