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EXHIBITS    >    The automatics of Heron    >   


Heron of Alexandria was a multifarious personality, an active engineer, an amazing inventor, an ingenious mathematician, a methodical scientist (the DaVinci of antiquity) while simultaneously a miracle worker, a concoction wizard (the Copperfield of his time). The fact that all his works have been saved is not accidental but because of the admiration felt towards him by his countless reproducers (Greeks, Romans, Arabs, etc.). Rarely will his biography be encountered in a Greek encyclopedia.

Heron was born in Alexandria sometime between the 1st century B.C. and the 1st century A.D. and was director of the Technical Museum of Alexandria.

In his book "Pneumatics" he describes approximately eighty automatics which constitute a remarkably practical application of Physics. With the invention of the "Aeolosphere" (the precursor of the steam engine), the beginning of steam locomotion was first applied and the bases of the Industrial Revolution were set which, however, never took place (due to the Roman invasion and the existing economical and political factors) with unpredictable consequences for humanity.

In his book " Automatopoitiki" he describes the mobile automatic and the remarkable "static" automatic theatre (the cinema of the ancient Greeks and precursor of animation). The myth of Nauplius is presented on the stage of the theatre with the use of many micro mechanisms put into motion by the ingenious winding of tens of metres of mechanically-timed threads which are drawn by the descent of a lead weight into a clepsydra (of sand). The gates open and close, figures move, sound is produced, different scenes are shown, fire is lit, lightning strikes and thunder is heard, and many more wonders occur automatically. All this justly distinguishes Heron as the most significant automation engineer of all ancient civilisations, capable of dazzling even contemporary engineers.