1649 Vehicle a.k.a. Nuremberg Carriage By Johann Hautsch?

KorbenDallas

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1649
Nuremberg Carriage
A few days ago I was reading about bicycles, and ran into this contraption style below. I do not know if this mechanism was actually a motorized vehicle, but there is enough in there to investigate, and this is exactly what I wanted to offer our forum members to do. There appears to be not enough clear information on what exactly it was. The available info sounds somewhat ridiculous to consider it seriously, but then again, our understanding of the past is limited to our today's expectations.

nuremberg carriage 1.jpg

Image Source
Please translate the above, if you can.

A celebrated mechanician called Johan Hautsch of Nuremburg in Germany built an ornate carriage in 1649. It is thought to have been worked by two men concealed inside, who turned the rear axle by means of handles. It is reported to have gone up and down hills, and steered around corners, and stopped and started as desired, attaining a speed of 2,000 paces an hour (which isn't very fast). It could carry several passengers, and a dragon in front could spout out a stream of water to clear a way through a crowd. This might have been superfluous, because the dragon could turn its eyes to and fro with great rapidity. If this (and the water) didn't frighten people out of the way, the angels, mounted one on each side of the carriage, sounded their trumpets. Hautsch sold his first carriage to the Crown Prince of Sweden and later built another for the King of Denmark. The Scandinavian crowds assembling to cheer the carriages as they crawled by must have been at least as hardy and patient as the men inside struggling to propel the great mass, heavy with water for the dragon, as they applied their lips to the angels' trumpets.
  • Since it could carry several passengers, the two men inside must have found propelling it hard work – especially when they had to pump water and blow the trumpets while going uphill, all at the same time.
  • Source: Early Vehicles

KD Opinion: I am always suspicious, when I see things similar to "It is thought to have been worked by two men concealed inside." For me there is only one meaning to a statement like that. This means that historians have no clear understanding of what this vehicle was powered by.
  • To be fair, there is a contemporary facsimile of the 1904 (has to be at least 1905 imo) edition of Automobile Biographies, which states the below:
Nuremberg Carriage 10.jpg

The above cutout is clearly missing "apparently" and "thought to". It also reduces the range from 2,000 paces to 1,000. Either way, both speeds are tremendously slow - between .5 and 1 miles per hour.

By the way, here is what appears to be the second model of the same vehicle.

Nuremberg Carriage 11.jpg

kd_separator.jpg

KD: Here is my modest take on this carriage
  • Would be nice to get, and translate the original source of the technical information above. Not that it is going to be truthful but at least we will know what the 17th century source says
  • It's existence makes very little sense if its max was only 1 MPH
  • For something like this to be operated by manual power, they would need to have semi-decent solid surface roads in 1649
  • They would also need two very powerful individuals to propel this carriage with several people, especially if they really had to travel uphill
  • The carriage had to have a serious water supply, as well as some sort of a pump system to to affect the crowd. The weight of the water would also add to the gross weight of the carriage, thus making it even heavier
  • I have no idea where two grown adult propelling this carriage could be hidden
  • It appears that this carriage could be a Triumphal Carriage. Looks like those were normally powered by horses
Comparison:
  • 1649 Carriage has an animal head in the front, eyes, shoots water, sounds its trumpets
  • 2019 Cars have logos (some are griffins), headlights, windshield washer, and a horn

Nuremberg Carriage 12.jpg

The image above was located on this web page / translation. Looking at the three available pictures, the operator is always holding on to those handles. Is he holding on to those for balance, or is he controlling vehicle with these two levers?

Anyways, I think you see where I'm going with this. Let us hear some opinions. Would be nice if we get the original translation, identify which book it came from, and may be obtain some additional info. I'm not counting too much on finding anything concrete, but who knows...
 

hal9000

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i found this picture with slightly modified text

1646 Nürnberger Triumpfwagen.jpg

Source: old German text
Engentlicher Abriß / mit aller Zier des Triumphwagens / welcher zu Nürnberg im 1649. Jahr ist gemacht worden von einem Meister des Zirckelschmieds Handwerks Namens Hans Hautsch / seines alters 54. Jahr welcher also sren gehet/
wie er da vor Augen steht / und bedarrf keiner Vorspannung wie eine ander Wagen / weder von Pferden / Ochsen oder anders / sondern wann man sichdarauff setzt / und nimt den Stab mit dem Wurmskopf in die Hand / so kan man den Wagen
hin lencken wo man will / auf die rechte oder linke Seit / hinderlich oder fürlich / Berg oder Thal / wie er dann unterschiedlich mal zu Nürnberg die Festung hinauf und wieder herab gefahren / auch zum Thiergärnter Thor hinaus und die Festung /
und zum Lauffer Thor wider herein / und geht solcher Wagen in einer Stunde 2 tausend Schritt / man kan still halten und fortfahren wann man will / und ist doch alles von Uhrwerk gemacht / der Wagen ist so groß als ein Landkutschen /
wie Kauffkeut auff die Meß fahren / und kann der Meerdrach Wasser spritzen / die Augen verwenden / die Posaun auffheben / und blasen / der Meerdrach kann Wasser / Bier / Wein / Meht alles trinken / aber den Meht trinkt er am liebsten /
und kann aus der Zung geben allerlei wolriechende Wasser / als Rosenzimmer Eneswasser was man haben wil / und ist solcher Wagen in der Ledergassen in des obgenannten Meisters Haus zusehen.
Translated with deepl
Narrow demolition / with all decoration of the triumphal chariot / which to Nuremberg in 1649. year was made by a master of the circle smith craft name Hans Hautsch / of his age 54. year which thus goes srent/
as he stands before his eyes / and needs no pretension like another chariot / neither from horses / oxen or any other / but when one sits down / and takes the staff with the worm head into the Hnad / so one can take the chariot
to steer where one wants / to the right or left side / obstructive or forcible / mountain or thal / how he drove then differently times to Nuremberg up and down the fortress / also to the Thiergärnter Thor out and the fortress /
and to the runway Thor against in / and goes such chariot in one hour 2 thousand steps / one can hold still and continue when one wants / and yet everything is made of clockwork / the chariot is as big as a country carriage /
like a shopping frenzy on the fair / and the sea dragon can splash water / use the eyes / pick up the trombone / and blow / the sea dragon can drink water / beer / wine / drink more everything / but the more he likes to drink /
and can give out of the tongue all sorts of fragrant water / as rose room Eneswasser what one have wil / and is such chariot in the leather alleys in the above-mentioned master's house to watch.
I'm not sure if the translation is correct.
 
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Sawdy

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This stood out to me: "und ist doch alles von Uhrwerk gemacht"- "der Wagen ist so groß als ein Landkutschen"
"and yet everything is made of clockwork," even though "the chariot is as big as a country carriage"

That is how my high school German remembering would string that together. I think the "doch" would provide the contrast between the size of the mechanisms of clockwork with the size of the carriage. But I could be mistaken in exactness of the use of doch.

All I know is that two people aren't the size of clockwork mechanisms unless it was powered by Tom Thumb and Thumblelina.
 

mythstifieD

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1649
Nuremberg Carriage
A few days ago I was reading about bicycles, and ran into this contraption style below. I do not know if this mechanism was actually a motorized vehicle, but there is enough in there to investigate, and this is exactly what I wanted to offer our forum members to do. There appears to be not enough clear information on what exactly it was. The available info sounds somewhat ridiculous to consider it seriously, but then again, our understanding of the past is limited to our today's expectations.

View attachment 23192
Image Source
Please translate the above, if you can.

A celebrated mechanician called Johan Hautsch of Nuremburg in Germany built an ornate carriage in 1649. It is thought to have been worked by two men concealed inside, who turned the rear axle by means of handles. It is reported to have gone up and down hills, and steered around corners, and stopped and started as desired, attaining a speed of 2,000 paces an hour (which isn't very fast). It could carry several passengers, and a dragon in front could spout out a stream of water to clear a way through a crowd. This might have been superfluous, because the dragon could turn its eyes to and fro with great rapidity. If this (and the water) didn't frighten people out of the way, the angels, mounted one on each side of the carriage, sounded their trumpets. Hautsch sold his first carriage to the Crown Prince of Sweden and later built another for the King of Denmark. The Scandinavian crowds assembling to cheer the carriages as they crawled by must have been at least as hardy and patient as the men inside struggling to propel the great mass, heavy with water for the dragon, as they applied their lips to the angels' trumpets.
  • Since it could carry several passengers, the two men inside must have found propelling it hard work – especially when they had to pump water and blow the trumpets while going uphill, all at the same time.
  • Source: Early Vehicles

KD Opinion: I am always suspicious, when I see things similar to "It is thought to have been worked by two men concealed inside." For me there is only one meaning to a statement like that. This means that historians have no clear understanding of what this vehicle was powered by.
  • To be fair, there is a contemporary facsimile of the 1904 (has to be at least 1905 imo) edition of Automobile Biographies, which states the below:

The above cutout is clearly missing "apparently" and "thought to". It also reduces the range from 2,000 paces to 1,000. Either way, both speeds are tremendously slow - between .5 and 1 miles per hour.

By the way, here is what appears to be the second model of the same vehicle.

KD: Here is my modest take on this carriage
  • Would be nice to get, and translate the original source of the technical information above. Not that it is going to be truthful but at least we will know what the 17th century source says
  • It's existence makes very little sense if its max was only 1 MPH
  • For something like this to be operated by manual power, they would need to have semi-decent solid surface roads in 1649
  • They would also need two very powerful individuals to propel this carriage with several people, especially if they really had to travel uphill
  • The carriage had to have a serious water supply, as well as some sort of a pump system to to affect the crowd. The weight of the water would also add to the gross weight of the carriage, thus making it even heavier
  • I have no idea where two grown adult propelling this carriage could be hidden
  • It appears that this carriage could be a Triumphal Carriage. Looks like those were normally powered by horses
Comparison:
  • 1649 Carriage has an animal head in the front, eyes, shoots water, sounds its trumpets
  • 2019 Cars have logos (some are griffins), headlights, windshield washer, and a horn
The image above was located on this web page / translation. Looking at the three available pictures, the operator is always holding on to those handles. Is he holding on to those for balance, or is he controlling vehicle with these two levers?

Anyways, I think you see where I'm going with this. Let us hear some opinions. Would be nice if we get the original translation, identify which book it came from, and may be obtain some additional info. I'm not counting too much on finding anything concrete, but who knows...
Yes the original text needs to be found. I strongly suspect that the word "men" is being mistraslated, probably on purpose. There's no way two men could fit inside there. If they did, then there's be no room for luggage.

Pardon my Tartarian, but how the f**k does this thing TURN?! I see no wheel or turn crank, nor do the wheels even look able to pivot as would be required. Carriages only work because the horses are the pivot.
i found this picture with slightly modified text


Source: old German text

Translated with deepl


I'm not sure if the translation is correct.
Sounds like some sort of water powered device, where you refuel via the dragons mouth.
 

whitewave

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Sounds like some sort of water powered device, where you refuel via the dragons mouth.
I wonder what kind of water-powered vehicle it could be since the text says "the sea dragon can drink water / beer / wine / drink more everything / but the more he likes to drink". It does sound like it's powered through the dragon's drinking but since any fluid seems to do the trick, I wonder how that worked.
 
OP
KorbenDallas

KorbenDallas

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That makes two of us.

Additionally I would like to know who introduced these “two men” powering this thing forward.
 

whitewave

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Yeah, with all the supposedly missing people of the time frame (or shortly after), there always seem to be enough people to build entire cities/ expositions, stuff pairs of them in triumphal carriages to slowly tote people down the road who would be better served just walking or riding their horses. Were they just giving survivors something to do while they figured out how the old technology worked?
 

MaybeLater

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I wonder what kind of water-powered vehicle it could be since the text says "the sea dragon can drink water / beer / wine / drink more everything / but the more he likes to drink". It does sound like it's powered through the dragon's drinking but since any fluid seems to do the trick, I wonder how that worked.
Potentially hydraulics? Of course that requires very precise machining, but that's the only thing I can come up with that would translate into fluid being used for energy to propel a vehicle.

But I saw mention of priming or anything.

And no way could two men under the deck in terrifically tight quarters move this heavy thing and blow the trumpets and spout water going up and down hill. Not for very long anyway. Even strapping farm lads would have to quit fairly soon.
 

ISeenItFirst

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Yes the original text needs to be found. I strongly suspect that the word "men" is being mistraslated, probably on purpose. There's no way two men could fit inside there. If they did, then there's be no room for luggage.

Pardon my Tartarian, but how the f**k does this thing TURN?! I see no wheel or turn crank, nor do the wheels even look able to pivot as would be required. Carriages only work because the horses are the pivot.

Sounds like some sort of water powered device, where you refuel via the dragons mouth.
By slowong the rotation (2 men or otherwise) the wheels on the side of the direction you wish to turn.
 

hal9000

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More information from this page

german:
..
Im Jahre 1649 stellte Hautsch einen mechanisch angetriebenen, mit Handsteuer versehenen Triumpfwagen her,
der ihn über die Grenzen seiner Heimatstadt, ja des Reiches berühmt machte. In Flugblättern, die einen Kupferstich des Wagens mit dem Erfinder darauf darstellen und eine nähere Beschreibung enthalten, hat er die Öffentlichkeit mit seiner Erfindung bekanntgemacht.
In der Nürnberger Stadtbibliothek befinden sich drei im Text von einander etwas abweichende Flugblätter darunter eines mit handschriftlich zugefügtem Text, der folgendermaßen lautet:

Abriß vom Triumpfwagen, der zu Nürnberg ist gemacht worden von M. Hans Hautsch, 54 Jahre alt 1649, seines Handwerks ein Cirkelschmidt, ist so groß als ein Landkutschen, wie dei Kaufleutt mit auf die Meß fahrn, welcher also frey geht, wie er da vor Augen steht , bedarf keiner Vorspannung von Pferden oder anders wie ein ander Wagen, sondern der darauf sitzt, hat in der linken Hand ein Flarrnkopf inhanden, damit kan er den Wagen hinlenken, wohin er will, krum oder grad , hinder sich oder für sich, Berg oder Thal, wie er dann unterschiedlich mal ist die Festung zu Nürnberg hinauff gefahren, auch zum Thiergärtner Thor hinauf und um die Festung herum, und geht solcher Wagen in 1Stund 2000 Schritt, man kann still halten wann man will, und fortfahren
wenn man will , ist alles von Uhrwerk gemacht, wird alles mit der linken Hand regiert, der Meerdrach kann im fahren Wasser unter die Leut spritzen auch von allerlei wolriechenden Wassern, den Kopf drehen, Item der
Meerdrach kann Wasser Bier, Wein, Meht trinken, die Engel können im fahren die Posaunen aufheben und blasen,
ist in Schweden hinein verkauft worden. Den Nürnberger Ratsverlässen von Mai/Juni 1649 ist zu entnehmen, daß es dem Meister nach anfänglicher Ablehnung dann doch gestattet wurde, seinen künstlichen Wagen im fechthaus öffentlich auszustellen, allerdings nur für zwei Tage und unter der Bedingung “von den Gefällen etwas in den Spital zu reichen”. Der Wagen hat natürlich in Nürnberg großes Aufsehen erregt und man hört aus der Beschreibung des Kupferstichs heraus, daß eine neugierige Volksmenge den Wagen und seinen Meister bei seinen Fahrten umdrängte.
Dopplemayr berichtet in einem Nachtrag in seinem Handexemplar: “er ist öfters bei solcher Veranstaltung ohne Pferden mit seinem Wagen aus seinem Haus , da er in der Juden-Gass gewohnet, durch die Dieling-Gassen die Vesten hinauf und dann hinab auf den Markt, folgendes wieder nach Hause zu vieler Verwunderung gefahren.”

Der Wagen lenkte die Aufmerksamkeit des schwedischen Kronprinzen Carl Gustav auf sich, als dieser sich im Jahre 1650 in Nürnberg aufhielt. Er erwarb ihn vom Erfinder für 500 Rthaler und nahm ihn mit nach Schweden wo er bei den Feierlichkeiten anläßlich der Thronbesteigung Carl Gustavs als König Karl X. von Schweden in Stockholm neben anderen Prunkwagen mitgeführt worden sein sol.

Leider konnten auf Anfrage bei den zuständigen Stellen in Stockholm (Riksarkivet bzw. Livrustkamaren) keine Mitteilungen hierüber oder den Verbleib des Wagens festgestellt werden. Einen zweiten Wagen derselben Art, der in der Stunde 3000 Schritt zurücklegen konnte, mußte er bald darauf für König Friedrich III. nach Dänemark liefern, der wahrscheinlich den ersten Festzuge in Stockholm gesehen hatte.

Von diesem Kunstwagen gibt Doppelmayr einen Kupferstich. Er zeigt eine gefälligere äußere Gestalt als der erste, und Doppelmayr weiß zu berichten, daß der Meister dafür vom König von Dänemark “ein gute Belohnung” erhalten habe. Auch über diesen Wagen und seinen Verbleib vermochten die maßgebenden Stellen in Kopenhagen aus den Archivalien keine weitere Auskunft zu erteilen.

Das Geheimnis des mechanischen Antriebes eines Wagens hat der Meister nicht preisgegeben.

Der bekannte Nürnberger Ratsherr, Gelehrte und Dichter Georg Philipp Harsdörffer ( Stifter des Pegnitzordens und Verfasser des “Nürnberger Trichters” 1607-1658) erzählt freilich in seinen “Mathematischen und Philosophischen Erquickstunden” als 9. Aufgabe des 10. Teils folgendes:

Einen Wagen ohne Pferde zu fortzuführen. Es hat allhier ein Cirkelschmidt Namens Hanns Hautsch einen Wagen mit 4 Rädern gemachet,d er ohne Pferde hinter sich und für sich gehen können. Viel haben es für ein großes Kunstwerk sehr verwundert: so bald ich aber solchen gesehen, habe ich den Meister gesagt, wie es mit zweyen inwendigen Rädlein gemachet / in welche die zwei hindern Räder eingezähnet / wann nun selbe von dem darin verborgenen sitzenden Knaben bey A herum gedrehet werden / geift das Getriebe ineinander / und müssen die hindern Räder wie hier BC die vordern treiben. Besiehe von Austeilung dieser Räder die 24. Aufgabe des 8. Teils. Die von ihm beigefügte Figur zeigt ein horizontales Zahnrad, das in ein vertikales mit seinen Zähnen eingreift, das erstere ist mit einer Handkurbel versehen, das letztere an einem großen Rad befestigt.

Auch der fränzösiche Reisende M. de Monconys, der im November 1663 in Nürnberg weilte und Hautsch in seiner Werkstatt aufsuchte, schreibt:
-----
französischer Text (nicht abgetippt)
------

Dazu stimmt das, was in der Nürnberger Stadtchronik von 1601 - 1678 auf Seite 74 von diesem Kunstwagen mit folgenden Worten berichtet wird:

Ao 1641 Febr. In diesem Monat hat ein Zirkelschmied Hans Hautsch einen Wagen oder Kutschlein von sonderlicher Invention gemacht und im Spielhaus allhier jedermann um die Gebühr sehen lassen.
Dieser Wagen hatte einen verborgenen Ort, darin einer durch Schraubenwerk ohne alle ferneren Anspannung einiges Roßes denselben forttriebe, außerhalb aber oben auf dem Wagen saß ein ander Mann, der miteinem langen Stabe den Wagen,wo er ihn hinbegehrte, gleich einem Schiff regierte.

Doppelmayr berichtet in einem handschriftlichen Zusatz zu seinem Handexemplar, nachdem er den Text des Flugblattes “Eygentlicher Abriss mit aller Zierde des Triumpfwagens usw.” wiedergegeben hat.
“Diesen obbennanten Wagen sollen jederzeit 4 Personen, die er unten auf dem Boden, der gedoppelt gewesen, verborgen gehalten, regiert haben”, und an einer Stelle des gedruckten Textes
deepl translation
In 1649, Hautsch manufactured a mechanically driven triumphal car with manual steering,
who made him famous beyond the borders of his hometown, indeed the empire. In leaflets depicting a copper engraving of the car with the inventor on it and containing a more detailed description, he introduced his invention to the public.
In the Nuremberg City Library there are three slightly different leaflets in the text, including one with a handwritten text, which reads as follows:

Demolition of the triumphal chariot, which was made to Nuremberg by M. Hans Hautsch, 54 years old 1649, of his craft a Cirkelschmidt, is as large as a country carriage, as the Kaufleutt take with him to the Mass, which thus walks freely as he stands before his eyes, does not require any pretension from horses or otherwise like another carriage, but which sits on it, has in his left hand a flaring head, so that he can steer the car wherever he wants, crooked or straight, hinder himself or for himself, mountain or thal, as he drove then differently times up the fortress to Nuremberg, also up to the Thiergärtner Thor and around the fortress, and goes such a car in 1 hour 2000 step, you can keep still when you want, and proceed
if you want, everything is made by clockwork, everything is governed with the left hand, the sea dragon can splash in the driving water under the people also from all sorts of fragrant waters, turn the head, item of the
Meerdrach can drink water, beer, wine, Meht, the angels can pick up and blow the trumpets while driving,
has been sold into chweden. From the Nuremberg Council decrees of May/June 1649 it can be inferred that after an initial refusal the master was allowed to exhibit his artificial car in public in the fechthaus, but only for two days and under the condition "to hand something of the gradients to the hospital". Of course the carriage caused a great stir in Nuremberg and one hears from the description of the engraving that a curious crowd crowded the carriage and its master during his journeys.
Dopplemayr reports in a supplement to his hand copy: "He often left his house with his carriage at such events without horses, since he lived in the Juden-Gass, through the Dieling-Gassen up the vests and then down to the market, the following went home again to much surprise.

The car attracted the attention of the Swedish crown prince Carl Gustav when he was in Nuremberg in 1650. He acquired it from the inventor for 500 Rthaler and took it with him to Sweden, where it was said that he had been carried along with other floats during the celebrations of Carl Gustav's accession to the throne as King Charles X of Sweden in Stockholm.

Unfortunately, on request by the responsible authorities in Stockholm (Riksarkivet or Livrustkamaren) no information about this or the whereabouts of the car could be established. Soon afterwards he had to deliver a second car of the same type, which could cover 3000 steps in the hour, to Denmark for King Frederick III, who had probably seen the first procession in Stockholm.

Doppelmayr gives a copper engraving of this chariot. It has a more pleasing appearance than the first, and Doppelmayr reports that the master received "a good reward" from the King of Denmark for it. The relevant authorities in Copenhagen were also unable to provide any further information on this carriage and its whereabouts from the archives.

The master did not reveal the secret of the mechanical drive of a car.

The well-known Nuremberg councillor, scholar and poet Georg Philipp Harsdörffer (founder of the Pegnitz Order and author of the "Nuremberg Funnel" 1607-1658), of course, tells the following in his "Mathematical and Philosophical Erquickstunden" as the 9th task of the 10th part:

To continue a carriage without horses. Here a Cirkelschmidt named Hanns Hautsch made a wagon with 4 wheels, which he could walk without horses behind him and for himself. Much has it for a great work of art very astonished: as soon as I saw such, however, I told the master how it was done with two inside small wheels / into which the two hindered wheels were toothed / when now the same are turned around by the boy sitting in it at A / poisoned the transmission into each other / and must hinder the wheels like here BC drive the forward. See from distribution of these wheels the 24th task of the 8th part. The figure attached by him shows a horizontal gear wheel which engages in a vertical one with its teeth, the former is provided with a hand crank, the latter is attached to a large wheel.

The following words in the Nuremberg City Chronicle from 1601 - 1678 on page 74 of this art car are correct:

Ao 1641 Febr. In this month a circle blacksmith Hans Hautsch made a carriage or little carriage of special invention and let everybody see it in the playhouse for the fee.
This carriage had a hidden place, in it one by screw mechanism without all distant tension of some horse the same continued, outside however on top of the carriage sat another man, who reigned with a long rod the carriage, where he desired it, like a ship.

Doppelmayr reports in a handwritten addition to his hand copy, after he had reproduced the text of the flyer "Eygentlicher Abriss mit aller Zierde des Triumpfwagenens etc.".
"This above-named chariot is said to have been kept hidden, reigned at any time by 4 persons whom it had been doubled down on the ground", and at one place of the printed text

...
 

VonKitty

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I had searched for images of the carriage yesterday hoping to find something with King Frederick III or King Charles X, but came up with nothing. A shame that such an invention just disappears. I’m working on a Nuremberg thread myself - just haven’t had time to post it yet - and have found there were so many things being invented in Nuremberg 15th - 17th century.
hal9000 thanks for providing the German translations as there’s very little to be found in English.
 

msw141

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This is intriguing, and that it was documented in multiple places with a similar look is even more so. This thing existed. First thing I thought was the same-- that line about "thought to conceal two operators" sounds like people describing a tech they can't comprehend. The "drinking" aspect suggests steam perhaps. Is there any mention though that these dragons belched smoke or anything that could suggest vapor or heat?

I don't think we're looking at any sort of perpetual motion or regenerative energy machine. I am thinking more of a torsion powered vehicle perhaps. we know from examples of automatons that there existed some incredible levels of accomplishment in gears and cogs and springs. when you don't have computers and all you have is clockwork mechanics-- you can imagine some people advanced that technology to a very high level. and think how easy it would be for some fanciful machine to have appeared locally and been lost or forgotten, and no awareness to it existing broadly. In some ways it's amazing we know even what we do from these middle ages.

I have to think there's some way that you could create a device of gears and springs and tensioners that can be wound and set like ratcheting a trebuchet. Then the levers are used to release or restrict that potential energy. It wouldn't last forever, but it could be enough that it could move the 3000 steps mentioned above before it needed to be reset. And back then, even moving 100 feet would be viewed as a wonder, so it's not like this thing needed to travel from Spain to Germany on its own power.

The achievement here wouldn't be speed or even forward motion, as that's likely easy to achieve. It would be in the determination of that forward propulsion to overcome being negated by bumps, ruts or slight inclines. If you could harness that torque in a way to get a steady, slow, deliberate forward movement over dirt and stone then it would work as an actual vehicle and the turning and levers would be simple and reasonable. It would be nice if there was a mention of what happens after the vehicle ran, like a description of him taking a key or pole to wind it.

I found this example of some sort of cart linked to DaVinci on display in a French Castle museum. Seems like it has gears and torsion bars. All that's missing is the fancy decorative embellishments. Could be similar, I'll have to look into it.

chateau-closluce-automobile.jpg


link to the museum page

edit: I found a youtube video where someone made a working model of it.

 

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