Isaac de Caus

Nouvelle invention de lever l’eau

Detail from the title page woodcut

Isaac de Caus: Nouvelle invention de lever l’eau plus haut que sa source avec quelques machines mouvantes par le moyen de l’eau, et un discours de la conduit d’icelle. London: Davis 1657.

Mechanical tracts printed in the early modern period are an important focal point in the Iron Library's holdings of historical books. The genre includes the beautiful volume presented here whose author, Isaac de Caus (1590-1648), was not previously represented in the Iron Library. Until now, the Iron Library possessed only a work of his more famous brother Salomon de Caus (1576-1626). Like his elder sibling, Isaac de Caus was an engineer and landscaper.

We reprint the following description of the book by courtesy of the second-hand bookseller Gerhard Gruber (Heilbronn), from whom the Library acquired the volume:

"32 pages. With title page woodcut, 26 copper plates (1 folded) and numerous woodcuts in the text. Modern half leather binding in the style of the time – second edition. The work is based on the famous mechanical tract of his brother Salomon, who created the famous gardens of Heidelberg Castle. The plates show a drilling machine driven by a waterwheel, a horse gin, a fire hose and a hydraulic clock, among other things. Of particular interest, however, are the automatons and mechanical works, including a bird automaton and a hydraulically driven mechanical organ, which Salomon had built when creating the gardens and grottoes of Heidelberg Castle."