Giovanni PortaIn existographies, Giovanni Porta (1535-1615) (IQ:#|#) (EP:6) (CR:17), aka “Giambattista della Porta”, was an Italian mathematician, chemist, physicist, and general polymath, noted for his 1586 invention of a telescope, able to see things miles away, and for his 1601 steam engine constructions.

In 1601, Porta, in his Spiritali, following or amid a French translation of Hero’s steam machine work, reproduced Hero's aeolipile (fig 1) and his solar boiler device (fig 2), shown below:

Hero devices 2

After which, he added an illustrated modified variant of his own, similar to a combination of the above two devices; as shown below, wherein, a fire is put under flask a, filled with water, which makes steam, that enters closed container b, filled with cold water, which forces the water to shoot out of tube c, into the external air: [2]

Porta engine

This device was named by Porta an “improved Hero’s fountain” which he also referred to as a “steam fountain”.

Porta, in this work, according to Robert Thurston (1878), described “with perfect accuracy the action of condensation in producing a vacuum, and sketched an apparatus in which the vacuum thus secured was filled by water forced in by the pressure of the external atmosphere”. His contrivances, however, were never, apparently, applied to any practical use, and were just in the “speculation stage” and not yet in the “application stage” in the history of steam engines. [4]

In 1655, Edward Somerset, supposedly, made a variant of Porta's water raising device. [2]

Quotes | On
The following are quotes on Porta:

Porta is described as a mathematician, chemist, and physicist, a gentleman of fortune, and an enthusiastic student of science. His home in- Naples was a rendezvous for students, artists, and men of science distinguished in every branch. He. invented the magic lantern and the camera obscura, and described it in his commentary on the Pneumatica.”
Robert Thurston (1878), A History of the Growth of the Steam-Engine [3]

“By 1601, Giovanni Battista della Porta noted that a vacuum developed as steam condensed and that it could be used to draw up water.”
— Richard Kirby (1956), History of Engineering; compare Robert Hooke: “the vacuum left by fire lifts a weight” (1675) [1]

Quotes | By
The following are quotes by Porta:

“I have made glasses [see: telescope] that can recognize a man several miles away.”
— Giovanni Porta (1586), “Letter” [5]

1. Kirby, Richard; Withington, Sidney; Darling, Arthur; and Kilgour, Frederick. (1956). Engineering in History (pg. 154). Courier, 1990.
2. Anon. (1829). “On the Early History of the Steam Engine” (Ѻ), Journal of the Franklin Institute, 4(8):319-27.
3. Thurston, Robert. (1878). A History of the Growth of the Steam-Engine (Porta, pg. 13-14). D. Appleton and Company.
4. (a) Porta, Giovanni. (1601). Spiritali. Publisher.
(b) Thurston, Robert. (1878). A History of the Growth of the Steam-Engine (Porta, pg. 13-14). D. Appleton and Company.
5. Telescopes –

External links
Giambattista della Porta – Wikipedia.

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