Monday, January 30, 2006

Isaac and Salomon de Caus: Differences

Isaac’s New and rare inventions is clearly derivative of the much more detailed Les raisons. Although he includes some new commentary, the plates are all copied. It should be noted that plates were note reused as evidenced by the orientation of the plates.


Isaac's water drive pump.



Salomon's water drive pump.



Isaac's ox drive.




Salomon's ox drive.


Isaac's trap valve.


Salomon's trap valve.

Whereas Solomon devoted effort to all of the various elements, Isaac’s work focuses specifically on water and the machines. It lacks three very specific elements. The first is close attention to complex gearing arrangements reminiscent of the works of Besson or Ramelli:



Also missing are plates that can only be described as construction drawings. This strict reliance on two dimensional representations is somewhat surprising and is certainly atypical for machine books.



The final omission is the presence of devices that may be more ornamental than required by Isaac.



In general, Salomon provides a more complex arrangement that includes musical notation and detailed garden designs and architectural elevations reminiscent of de Vries or Ducerceau. The study of the de Caus machine books is somewhat muddied by the prevalence of commentary devoted to garden architecture and design, music, and the construction of devices for fire-fighting (a popular topic considering Besson’s contribution!).

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