Ismail al-Jazari was the most impressive mechanical engineer of 6th century. He was working for many years as a mechanical engineer for all the kings, and in 1206 he wrote a book in Arabic. The book included many theoretical as well as practical mechanics. This book is considered until today a unique transcript with various unique devices and all of its details.

The elephant clock was one of the most famous inventions of al-Jazari

Donald R. Hill

Donald R. Hill was a British charter engineer who later translated the book of Ismail al-Jazari into English. He was truly an admirer of this book, and he had a special interest in all the devices described in this book. Water clocks, hand washing devices or even machines for raising water can be found in this amazing book. London Science Museum reconstructed a Water Clock as a tribute to Ismail al-Jazari.

Diagram of a hydropowered perpetual flute from The Book of Knowledge of Ingenious Mechanical Devices by Al-Jazari in 1206.

Book’s Details

The book of Ismail al-Jazari was translated nearly 7 centuries later to reveal six important categories of machines and devices. Many of his machines were later used in Europe, such as the double acting pumps with suction pipes as well as the use of paper models to establish a design.

Among the various inventions in this book, Ismail al-Jazari also describes several methods for construction and assembly of 50 different machines that future craftsmen used in order to reconstruct them.

Clock of al Jazari before 1206

Following Ismail al-Jazari’s Instructions

His book has proven its value many times in the future. Most of his machines had so thorough description and guide that they were able to actually construct them. Unlike many other craftsmen that came after him, his book is detailed and thorough in a way that any experienced professional can actually construct the machine.

Most of mechanics are unable to provide useful information either because they do not want to or because they cannot. In other cases, the instructions are recorded by people who are not craftsmen themselves, therefore, they fail to pass on the information in a way that they could be useful to someone.

al-Jazari's hydropowered saqiya chain pump device.

 A Real Treasure

 Many experienced craftsmen are considering this book as the greatest book on mechanical engineering ever written. Ismail al-Jazari’s thorough instructions and suggestions can be followed by any professional at all times from 6th century until our days. 

His translator, Hill has a certain respect for the book and had clearly stated that this is a unique book with enormous value to all professionals. It is a book that best describes the ultimate Islamic wealth when it comes to mechanical engineering. All mechanics should take the time to read this amazing book that has lasted for so many centuries now.

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