Monday, July 14, 2014

The Ornithopter of Abbas Ibn Firna

Following the thread of "ornithopter" on the interwebs I come across a poet named Abbas Ibn Firnas, who invented not only the first recorded ornithopter, but also a water clock, a means of manufacturing colorless glass, various glass planispheres, corrective lenses ("reading stones"), a chain of rings that could be used to simulate the motions of the planets and stars, and a process for cutting rock crystal.

In his house, he built a room in which spectators witnessed stars, clouds, thunder, and lightning, which were produced by mechanisms located in his basement laboratory.

 He also devised "some sort of metronome."

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