An e-book reader that can store thousands of books? Agostino Ramelli, a military engineer born in Ponte Tresa, near the Italian-Swiss border, in 1531 would have been thrilled by a device of this kind. An e-reader would probably not have surprised him much, since he himself invented the famous book wheel on which he could "upload" more than ten books at a time.
No visit to the Iron Library is complete without a look at the engraving of the legendary book wheel in Agostino Ramelli's work "Le diverse et artificiose machine del Capitano Agostino Ramelli". Our visitors have the visual pleasure of seeing the first edition of 1588, in which Ramelli had the detailed descriptions of his inventions printed in both Italian and French – an unusual procedure at the time. The ravages of time and the book's popularity have taken their toll: the volume has had to be restored several times since the Iron Library first acquired it in Milan in 1955.