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A technological Hero

Leonardo is overrated: the steam turbine was invented two millennia ago by Hero of Alexandria who developed the aeolipile as a toy. Hero was also responsible for the first vending machine (for holy water) and hydraulic automatic temple doors, along with advances in areas as diverse as physics and mathematics. A translation of Hero's influential Pneumatics is available online, featuring illustrated examples of many of his inventions, many of which are related to clever devices for drinking or prayer, or both.
posted by blahblahblah on Jun 20, 2006 - 18 comments

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