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The Artificio de Juanelo was the name of two devices built in Toledo in the 16th century by Juanelo Turriano. Now in ruins, the precise details of the operation of the devices are unknown, but at the time they were considered engineering wonders. By he was working in Toledo, then the capital of the Spanish Empire.

When Turriano arrived in Toledo, asses were being used to transport pitchers of water from the river to the city. Turriano produced detailed plans for the device but various stoppages and obstacles hindered the construction, among which was the death of Charles V in Frustrated by the council's refusal to pay, and in debt from the costs of the device's construction, Turriano entered into another agreement, underwritten by the Crown, to build a second device for the supply of the city.

However, it was agreed that this time he and his heirs would retain the rights for the operation. This second version was completed in , and although the Crown paid the costs of construction, Turriano was unable to cover the costs of maintenance and was forced to give up control of the machine to the city. He died shortly afterwards in The machines continued to operate until around when thefts of parts and lack of maintenance led to both machines falling into disrepair. The first machine was disassembled and the second left standing as a symbol of the city, but operation ceased and water once again had to be transported in pitchers on the backs of asses.

Further theft of parts reduced the second machine to ruins, and nowadays little of it remains. The device caused a great sensation as the height to which the water was raised was more than double what had been previously achieved. The details of the construction are the subject of debate, but the most widely accepted design is that proposed by Ladislao Reti, based on fragments of contemporary descriptions.

A large water wheel powered a revolving belt with buckets or amphora that transported water to the top of a tower. When the buckets reached the top of the tower they would upend pouring the water into a small tank from where it would travel down to a smaller tower via a pipe. A second water wheel provided mechanical power to pumps that drove a series of cups mounted on arms inside the second tower.

The arms of the cups were hollow with an opening at the end which allowed water to run down inside the arm and out of the opposite end. A see-sawing motion of the arms lifted the water to successive levels in the cups. Once the final level was reached the water flowed down a second pipe to a third tower which contained further cups on arms and was also activated by the mechanical power derived from the second water wheel.

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Toledo landmarks. Jewish quarter of Toledo Subterranean Toledo. Categories : Pumps Demolished buildings and structures in Spain s works Toledo, Spain Italian inventions Spanish inventions Buildings and structures demolished in the 17th century disestablishments in Europe s disestablishments in Spain s establishments in Spain.

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Artificio de Juanelo




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