Abū al-'Iz Ibn Ismā'īl ibn al-Razāz al-Jazarī (
1136- 1206) ( _ar. أَبُو اَلْعِزِ بْنُ إسْماعِيلِ بْنُ الرِّزاز الجزري) was an important Arab[citation|title=Archimedes' Weapons of War and Leonardo|first=D. L.|last=Simms|journal=The British Journal for the History of Science|volume=21|issue=2|date=June 1988|pages=195-210] Muslimscholar, inventor, mechanical engineer, craftsman, artist and astronomer from Al-Jazira, Mesopotamiawho flourished during the Islamic Golden Age( Middle Ages). He is best known for writing the "Kitáb fí ma'rifat al-hiyal al-handasiyya" ("Book of Knowledge of Ingenious Mechanical Devices") in 1206, where he described fifty mechanical devices along with instructions on how to construct them.
Little is known about Al-Jazari, and most of that comes from the introduction to his "Book of Knowledge of Ingenious Mechanical Devices". He was named after the area in which he was born, al-Jazira—the traditional Arabic name for what was northern
Mesopotamiaand what is now northern Iraqand northeastern Syria, between the Tigrisand the Euphrates. Like his father before him, he served as chief engineer at the Artuklu Palace, the residence of the Diyarbakırbranch of the Turkish Artuqid dynastywhich ruled across eastern Anatoliaas vassals of the Zangidrulers of Mosul and later Fatimidgeneral Saladin. Donald Routledge Hill, "Mechanical Engineering in the Medieval Near East", " Scientific American", May 1991, pp. 64-9 ( cf. Donald Routledge Hill, [http://home.swipnet.se/islam/articles/HistoryofSciences.htm Mechanical Engineering] )]
Al-Jazari was part of a tradition of craftsmen and was thus more of a practical
engineerthan an inventor [Donald R. Hill, Dictionary of scientific biography 15, suppl I, p254] who appears to have been "more interested in the craftsmanship necessary to construct the devices than in the technology which lay behind them" and his machines were usually "assembled by trial and errorrather than by theoretical calculation." [citation|first=G. R.|last=Tibbetts|title=Review: Donald R. Hill, "The Book of Knowledge of Ingenious Mechanical Devices (Kitab fi ma'rifat al-hiyal alhandasiyya), by Ibn al-Razzaz al-Jazari"|journal=Bulletin of the School of Oriental and African Studies|publisher=University of London|volume=38|issue=1|year=1975|pages=151-153  ] Some of his devices were also inspired by earlier devices, such as one of his monumental water clocks being based on that of a Pseudo-Archimedes. [ Ahmad Y Hassan, [http://www.history-science-technology.com/Articles/articles%206.htm Al-Jazari And the History of the Water Clock] ]
Mechanisms and methods
While many of al-Jazari's inventions may now appear to be trivial, the most significant aspect of al-Jazari's
machines are the mechanisms, components, ideas, methods and design features which they employ.
Crankshaft and connecting rod mechanism
The hand-operated crank was known in Han China, but Al-Jazari was the first to incorporate it in a
machineand he thus invented the crankshaft. It transforms continuous rotary motion into a linear reciprocating motion, and is central to modern machinery such as the steam engine, internal combustion engine(where it converts in the other direction) and automatic controls. Donald Routledge Hill(1998). "Studies in Medieval Islamic Technology" II, p. 231-232.] Paul Vallely, [http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_qn4158/is_20060311/ai_n16147544 How Islamic Inventors Changed the World] , " The Independent", 11 March 2006.]
connecting rodwas also invented by al-Jazari, and was used in a crank and connecting rod system in a rotating machine he developed in 1206, in two of his water-raising machines: the crank-driven saqiya chain pump and the double-action reciprocating piston suction pump. Ahmad Y Hassan, [http://www.history-science-technology.com/Notes/Notes%203.htm The Crank-Connecting Rod System in a Continuously Rotating Machine] ]
Design and construction methods
Donald Routledge Hillwrites:
Escapement mechanism in a rotating wheel
Al-Jazari invented a method for controlling the speed of
rotationof a wheelusing an escapementmechanism. [ Donald Routledge Hill, "Engineering", in Roshdi Rashed, ed., " Encyclopedia of the History of Arabic Science", Vol. 2, p. 751-795  . Routledge, London and New York.]
Donald Routledge Hill, al-Jazari described several early mechanical controls, including "a large metal door, a combination lockand a lock with four bolts."
gearis "a piece for receiving or communicating reciprocating motionfrom or to a cogwheel, consisting of a sector of a circular gear, or ring, having cogs on the periphery, or face." [ [http://www.thefreedictionary.com/Segment+gear Segment gear] , TheFreeDictionary.com] Professor Lynn Townsend White, Jr.wrote:
Al-Jazari invented five
machines for raising water,Al-Jazari, "The Book of Knowledge of Ingenious Mechanical Devices: Kitáb fí ma'rifat al-hiyal al-handasiyya", translated by P. Hill (1973), Springer Science+Business Media.] as well as watermills and water wheels with cams on their axleused to operate automata, in the 12th and 13th centuries, and described them in 1206. It was in these water-raising machines that he introduced his most important ideas and components.
aqiya chain pumps
The first known use of a
crankshaftin a chain pumpwas in one of al-Jazari's saqiya machines. Donald Routledge Hill, "Engineering", in Roshdi Rashed, ed., " Encyclopedia of the History of Arabic Science", Vol. 2, p. 751-795  . Routledge, London and New York.] The concept of minimizing intermittent working is also first implied in one of al-Jazari's saqiya chain pumps, which was for the purpose of maximising the efficiency of the saqiya chain pump Al-Jazari also constructed a water-raising saqiya chain pumpwhich was run by hydropowerrather than manual labour, though the Chinese were also using hydropower for chain pumps prior to him. Saqiya machines like the ones he described have been supplying water in Damascussince the 13th century up until modern times, Ahmad Y Hassan, [http://www.history-science-technology.com/Articles/articles%206.htm Al-Jazari and the History of the Water Clock] ] and were in everyday use throughout the medieval Islamic world.
Double-action suction pump with valves and reciprocating piston motion
In 1206, Al-Jazari described the first
suctionpipes, suction pump, double-action pump, valve, and crank- connecting rodmechanism, when he invented a twin-cylinder reciprocating pistonsuction pump. This pump is driven by a water wheel, which drives, through a system of gears, an oscillating slot-rod to which the rods of two pistons are attached. The pistons work in horizontally opposed cylinders, each provided with valve-operated suction and delivery pipes. The delivery pipes are joined above the centre of the machine to form a single outlet into the irrigation system. This may be the only one of al-Jazari's water-raising machines which had a direct significance for the development of modern engineering. This pump is remarkable for three reasons: [cite web|author= Ahmad Y Hassan|title=The Origin of the Suction Pump: Al-Jazari 1206 A.D.|url=http://www.history-science-technology.com/Notes/Notes%202.htm|accessdate=2008-07-16] Donald Routledge Hill(1996), "A History of Engineering in Classical and Medieval Times", Routledge, pp. 143 & 150-2]
*The first known use of a true
suctionpipe (which sucks fluids into a partial vacuum) in a pump.
*The first application of the double-acting principle.
*The conversion of rotary to
reciprocating motion, via the crank- connecting rodmechanism.
Al-Jazari's suction piston pump could lift 13.6 metres of water, with the help of delivery pipes. This was more advanced than the suction pumps that appeared in 15th-century Europe, which lacked delivery pipes. It was not, however, any more efficient than a
Water supply system
Al-Jazari developed the earliest water supply system to be driven by
gears and hydropower, which was built in 13th century Damascusto supply water to its mosques and Bimaristanhospitals. The system had water from a lake turn a scoop-wheel and a system of gears which transported jars of water up to a water channelthat led to mosques and hospitals in the city.Howard R. Turner (1997), "Science in Medieval Islam: An Illustrated Introduction", p. 181, University of Texas Press, ISBN 0292781490]
Al-Jazari invented automated moving peacocks driven by
hydropower. [ [http://www.britannica.com/eb/topic-301961/al-Jazari al-Jazari (Islamic artist)] , " Encyclopædia Britannica".] He also invented the earliest known automatic gates, which were driven by hydropower. He also created automatic doors as part of one of his elaborate water clocks. Al-Jazari also designed and constructed a number of other automata, including automatic machines, home appliances, and musical automata powered by water. [See one of his works at [http://www.finns-books.com/auto.htm The Automata of Al-Jazari] .] Al-Jazari also invented water wheels with cams on their axleused to operate automata.
Mark E. Rosheim summarizes the advances in
roboticsmade by Arabengineers, especially Al-Jazari, as follows:
One of Al-Jazari's humanoid automata was a waitress that could serve
water, teaor drinks. The drink was stored in a tankwith a reservoirfrom where the drink drips into a bucketand, after seven minutes, into a cup, after which the waitress appears out of an automatic door serving the drink. [citation|title= Ancient Discoveries, Episode 12: Machines of the East|publisher= History Channel|url=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v2HcjanNWFM|accessdate=2008-09-06]
Hand-washing automaton with flush mechanism
Al-Jazari invented a
hand washing automatonincorporating a flush mechanism now used in modern flush toilets. It features a female humanoid automaton standing by a basin filled with water. When the user pulls the lever, the water drains and the female automaton refills the basin. [citation|title=Robot Evolution: The Development of Anthrobotics|first=Mark E.|last=Rosheim|year=1994|publisher=Wiley-IEEE|isbn=0471026220|pages=9-10]
Peacock fountain with automated servants
Al-Jazari's "peacock fountain" was a more sophisticated
hand washingdevice featuring humanoid automata as servants which offer soapand towels. Mark E. Rosheim describes it as follows:citation|title=Robot Evolution: The Development of Anthrobotics|first=Mark E.|last=Rosheim|year=1994|publisher=Wiley-IEEE|isbn=0471026220|page=9]
Musical robot band
Al-Jazari's work described
fountains and musical automata, in which the flow of wateralternated from one large tankto another at hourly or half-hourly intervals. This operation was achieved through his innovative use of hydraulic switching.
Al-Jazari created a musical
automaton, which was a boat with four automatic musicians that floated on a lake to entertain guests at royal drinking parties. Professor Noel Sharkey has argued that it is quite likely that it was an early programmable automata and has produced a possible reconstruction of the mechanism; it has a programmable drummachine with ( cams) that bump into little levers that operated the percussion. The drummer could be made to play different rhythms and different drum patterns if the pegs were moved around.Professor Noel Sharkey, [http://www.shef.ac.uk/marcoms/eview/articles58/robot.html A 13th Century Programmable Robot] , University of Sheffield.] According to Charles B. Fowler, the automata were a " robotband" which performed "more than fifty facial and body actions during each musical selection." [citation|title=The Museum of Music: A History of Mechanical Instruments|first=Charles B.|last=Fowler|journal=Music Educators Journal|volume=54|issue=2|date=October 1967|pages=45-49]
Al-Jazari constructed a variety of
water clocks and candle clocks. These included a portable water-powered scribe clock, which was a meter high and half a meter wide, reconstructed successfully at the Science Museum (London)in 1976 Donald Routledge Hill(1996), "A History of Engineering in Classical and Medieval Times", Routledge, p. 224] [Ibn al-Razzaz Al-Jazari (ed. 1974) "The Book of Knowledge of Ingenious Mechanical Devices", Translated and annotated by Donald Routledge Hill, Dordrecht / D. Reidel, part II.] Al-Jazari also invented monumental water-powered astronomical clocks which displayed moving models of the Sun, Moon, and stars.
Donald Routledge Hill, al-Jazari described the most sophisticated candle clocks known to date. Hill described one of al-Jazari's candle clocks as follows:
Al-Jazari's candle clock also included a dial to display the time and, for the first time, employed a bayonet fitting, a fastening mechanism still used in modern times. [citation|title=
Ancient Discoveries, Episode 12: Machines of the East|publisher= History Channel|url=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PwGfw1YW9Js|accessdate=2008-09-07]
elephant clockdescribed by Al-Jazari in 1206 is notable for several innovations. It was the first clock in which an automatonreacted after certain intervals of time (in this case, a humanoid robot striking the cymbaland a mechanical robotic bird chirping) and the first water clockto accurately record the passage of the temporal hours to match the uneven length of days throughout the year. [Citation | last= Ahmad Y Hassan| last2= Donald Routledge Hill| year=1986 | title=Islamic Technology: An Illustrated History | publisher= Cambridge University Press| isbn=0521263336 | page=57-59]
Programmable castle clock
Al-Jazari's largest astronomical clock was the "castle clock", which is considered to be the first programmable
analog computer.citation|title= Ancient Discoveries, Episode 11: Ancient Robots|publisher= History Channel|url=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rxjbaQl0ad8|accessdate=2008-09-06] It was a complex device that was about 11 feet high, and had multiple functions besides timekeeping. It included a display of the zodiacand the solar and lunar orbits, and an innovative feature of the device was a pointer in the shape of the crescent moon which travelled across the top of a gateway, moved by a hidden cart, and caused automatic doors to open, each revealing a mannequin, every hour. [Howard R. Turner (1997), "Science in Medieval Islam: An Illustrated Introduction", p. 184. University of Texas Press, ISBN 0292781490.] Another innovative feature was the ability to re-program the length of day and nighteveryday in order to account for the changing lengths of day and night throughout the year. Yet another innovative feature of the device was five robotic musicians who automatically play music when moved by levers operated by a hidden camshaftattached to a water wheel. Other components of the castle clock included a main reservoirwith a float, a float chamberand flow regulator, plate and valvetrough, two pulleys, crescent disc displaying the zodiac, and two falcon automata dropping balls into vases. [cite web|author= Salim Al-Hassani|title=How it Works: Mechanism of the Castle Clock|url=http://muslimheritage.com/topics/default.cfm?ArticleID=901|publisher=FSTC|date=13 March 2008|accessdate=2008-09-06]
Weight-driven water clocks
Al-Jazari invented clocks which were driven by both water and weights. These included
geared clocks and a portable water-powered scribeclock, which was a meter high and half a meter wide. The scribe with his penwas synonymous to the hour hand of a modern clock. Donald Routledge Hill(1996), "A History of Engineering in Classical and Medieval Times", Routledge, p.224.] [Ibn al-Razzaz Al-Jazari (ed. 1974) "The Book of Knowledge of Ingenious Mechanical Devices", Translated and annotated by Donald Routledge Hill, Dordrecht / D. Reidel, part II.] Al-Jazari's famous water-powered scribe clock was reconstructed successfully at the Science Museum (London)in 1976.
Alongside his accomplishments as an inventor and engineer, al-Jazari was also an accomplished
artist. In "The Book of Knowledge of Ingenious Mechanical Devices", he gave instructions for of his inventions and illustrated them using miniature paintings, a medieval style of Islamic art.
Inventions in the Muslim world
Muslim Agricultural Revolution
Islamic Golden Age
List of Arab scientists and scholars
Hero of Alexandria
History of the internal combustion engine
* Al-Jazarí, "The Book of Knowledge of Ingenious Mechanical Devices: Kitáb fí ma'rifat al-hiyal al-handasiyya", Springer, 1973 edition. [http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/9027703299]
* Hill, Donald Routledge, "A History of Engineering in Classical and Medieval Times", 1996. [http://books.google.com/books?id=jGShLU3xKsgC]
* [http://www.finns-books.com/auto.htm The Automata of Al-Jazari]
* [http://www.ebuliz.com/orijinalkitap The Book of Al-Jazari, Flash format]
* [http://www.muslimheritage.com/day_life/default.cfm?ArticleID=188&Oldpage=1 "Al-Jazari, the Mechanical Genius" at MuslimHeritage.com]
* [http://www.muslimheritage.com/topics/default.cfm?ArticleID=466 "The Machines of Al-Jazari and Taqi Al-Din" at MuslimHeritage.com]
* [http://news.independent.co.uk/world/science_technology/article350594.ece "How Islamic inventors changed the world" article in "The Independent"]
* [http://www.site.uottawa.ca/~oren/pubs/pubs-2001-02-Tubitak.pdf ADVANCES IN COMPUTER AND INFORMATION SCIENCES: FROM ABACUS TO HOLONIC AGENTS From:Tuncer Ören, Professor Emeritus School of Information Technologies]
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