Giovanni Branca

Giovanni Branca

Italian inventor, architect
Date of Birth: 22.04.1571
Country: Italy

  1. Giovanni Branca: Italian Inventor and Architect
  2. Le Machine: A Collection of Inventions
  3. The Machine Number 25: A Prototype of the Steam Engine
  4. Manuale d'Architettura: A Practical Guide for Architects
  5. Collaboration with Benedetto Castelli
  6. Legacy and Influence

Giovanni Branca: Italian Inventor and Architect

Giovanni Branca (22.04.1571 – 24.01.1645) was an Italian engineer and architect, best known for creating one of the earliest versions of a steam engine. He was born in the Italian commune of Sant'Angelo in Lizzola and became a citizen of Rome in 1622. Branca made several interesting inventions throughout his life, dedicating some of his creations to the governor of Loreto.

Le Machine: A Collection of Inventions

Branca's collection of schemes and drawings was published in a book called 'Le Machine'. The book included 63 engravings with descriptions in Italian and Latin. It became a characteristic example of the popular genre 'theater of machines' in the 15th century. However, the illustrations in Branca's book were relatively weak compared to other books in the same field.

The Machine Number 25: A Prototype of the Steam Engine

One of the most famous machines described in Branca's book was 'Machine Number 25,' which some scientists believe was a prototype of the modern steam engine. It consisted of a wheel with blades powered by steam. Branca believed that this type of device could be used as the main mechanism in saws, crushers, mills, and various lifting devices. However, there is no evidence that Branca actually built this machine, and it didn't differ significantly from the classical model of a steam engine described by Hero of Alexandria in the 1st century AD.

Manuale d'Architettura: A Practical Guide for Architects

In 1629, Branca published another work called 'Manuale d'Architettura.' This book focused on various practical aspects of construction and was considered useful and informative for its time. Many architects of that era are believed to have actively used Branca's guide. Branca had firsthand experience in architectural projects in Loreto and drew inspiration from the works of Jacques Besson.

Collaboration with Benedetto Castelli

Branca had a close relationship with Benedetto Castelli, a pioneer in modern hydrodynamics. They corresponded and discussed various topics related to their fields of expertise. Castelli's theories were not popular at the time and often rejected by Venetian scholars. Branca sought Castelli's consultation on different matters and referenced his work in the last chapter of 'Manuale d'Architettura,' which focused on rivers.

Legacy and Influence

Giovanni Branca passed away on January 24, 1645, in Loreto. It is difficult to determine the exact impact of Branca's work on future scientists and engineers. Many believe that his engineering explorations were primarily of historical interest and did not contribute significantly to the field. However, Branca made notable contributions to architecture. It is confirmed that at least Robert Hooke had a copy of Branca's work, indicating its influence on later generations.