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Al-Jazari (1136-1206) May 20, 2008

Al-Jazari was a mechanical genius of the muslim world. He was born Badi al-Zaman Abu al-Iz ibn Ismail ibn al-Razzaz al-Jazari. He was born in a place called al-Jazira situated between the Tigris and the Euphrates and what now known as northern Iraq and northeastern Syria.

His corpus was Kitáb fí ma’rifat al-hiyal al-handasiyya or Book of Knowledge of Ingenious Mechanical Devices in which he wrote 50 types of mechanical devices. Like his father, al-Jazari served the Diyarbakir branch of the Turkish Artuqid dynasty as chief engineer.

Among his inventions:

Crankshaft and connecting rod mechanism
This mechanism transforms continuous rotary motion into a linear reciprocating motion. al-Jazari was the first to incorporate the mechanism into a machine. This mechanism is central to the operation of modern machinery such as the steam engine and the internal combustion engine.

Water-raising machines
From his crankshaft and connectiong rod mechanism, al-Jazari developed his crank-driven saqiya chain pump and the double-action reciprocating piston suction pump, both for the transportation of water without manual labour.


A water raising device

Automata
Automate according to the Britannica Encyclopedia are any of various mechanical objects that are relatively self-operating after they have been set in motion. al-Jazari was known to have invented automatic moving peacocks and gates driven by hydropower.
He also invented a fountain automata that flow into alternate tanks in an intervals and a musical automata with 4 automatic musicians on a boat to entertain guests at royal parties.


Musical automata

” 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 ” Donald Routledge Hill, Mechanical Engineering in the Medieval Near East.

See animations of Al-Jazari’s mechanical devices:
Al-Jazari, 800 years after http://muslimheritage.com/topics/default.cfm?ArticleID=851