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GROLLIER DE SERVIERE, Nicolas (1596 - 1689)

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French inventor and ornamental turner who became well known for creating a series of fantastic machines.

Grollier de Servière was born in Lyon and in his youth followed a military career that took him to Flanders, Germany, Italy and Constantinople; as an engineer. He specialized in deploying movable bridges in the field. After he retired to his home in Lyon, he worked on ornamental lathe-work and built a series of fantastic models. He displayed his work in a cabinet that he opened to the public once a week and which became famous enough to attract politicians, scholars, artisans and other inventors. It featured model water pumps and Archimedes screws, siege engines, designs of floating bridges and clocks regulated by balls travelling down inclined planes or along spiral tracks, machines to trace landscape and to convert plan images into perspective, odometers with reducing gears, wheelchairs, many intricate pieces of lathe-work in ivory and wood, and an improved version of Agostino Ramelli's reading wheel that allowed many books to be read by means of a rotating wheel. Eventually even Louis XIV paid a visit to Grollier de Servière. After his death in 1689, his son Gaspard (1646–1716) and then his grandson Gaspard II (1676–1745) continued to display the contents of the cabinet, and his son published a book cataloguing the curiosities.
variant spelling:
* 1596 Lyon born
1610 - 1641 Aigues-Bonne Capitaine, puis lieutenant-colonel du régiment d’infanterie d’Aigues-Bonne.
1642 Création d’une collection de modèles de machines et d’instruments scientifiques, fonctionnels ou divertissants : Invention d’une horloge ovale avec carillon pour la cathédrale de Lyon.Invention d’horloges à billes de roulement.Invention de la roue : Conception beaucoup plus simple du principe de la roue-livre à cardan.
1642 Lyon Il se retire de la vie militaire.
† 1689 Lyon died
Early modern times, ca. 1500-1780
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