Distinguished Figures in Mechanism and Machine Science: by Marco Ceccarelli

By Marco Ceccarelli

This can be the 1st a part of a chain of books whose target is to gather contributed papers describing the paintings of recognized people in MMS (Mechanism and computing device Science). the present paintings treats frequently technical advancements within the ancient evolution of the fields that this present day are grouped in MMS. hence, the emphasis is on biographical notes describing the efforts and reports of people that have contributed to the technical achievements which types the center of every contributed paper. those papers conceal the large box of the historical past of Mechanical Engineering with particular concentrate on MMS. This quantity could be of price to a large viewers attracted to the background of engineering.

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In 1783, D. José Moñino, Count of Floridablanca, first Secretary of State, put him in charge of a visit to inspect the mines of Almadén, given his recognized expertise. Betancourt wrote three important Reports about this inspection. In 1784 he received a grant from the Secretariat of the Indies to study underground architecture (mine engineering). Simultaneously he received an order to visit the Channel of Aragón for an inspection. In April, on the way to France, he elaborated a new Report, but until today it remains lost.

In 1816 he was President of the Committee of Constructions and Hydraulic Works and also of the newly created committee for the construction of the fair at Nizhni Nóvgorod. In 1 His definitive departure from Spain to Russia was due to the difficult situation through which Spain passed after the Napoleonic invasion and to the warm welcome on the part of Czar Alexander I. In a letter addressed to his brother Jose in 1814, he commented on the matter: “Since I observed the enmity that reigned in Spain between the Prince of Asturias and Godoy, I supposed that a revolution should arise in Spain and that in such case it was necessary, in order not to perish with my family, to look for asylum in a foreign kingdom in which to put it out of danger, and it seemed to me that Russia would be the most appropriate”.

Agustín de Betancourt y Molina 45 Fig. 3. Watt’s Double Acting Steam Engine: Drawing by Agustín de Betancourt (1788). The drawing shows the novel aspects of the machine, some of which were seen and others guessed by him. At first I was surprised when I saw that the chain joined to the rocker beam and from which the piston within the steam cylinder was suspended had been eliminated; it had been replaced by a parallelogram, of which I will give the description later on (. . ). The day after which I saw this machine I started off for France; back in my house I dedicated myself with enthusiasm, remembering faithfully all the pieces that I had been able to see, trying to guess its use; for it I drew diverse diagrams and plots, and got to compose a double acting machine; from that very moment I undertook the construction of the model that has been a success beyond my hopes.

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