Theatrum Machinarum Molarum and its ca. 500 pages are a guide to build different types of mills and therefore aims to help people interested in such an endaevour. The book consists of two parts. First it introduces different types of mills, their composition and the principals they’re working under. This knowledge is discussed in 25 chapters. Weirdly enough this part was published in 1767 more than 30 years after the second part, wich was published in 1735. The content of the second part contains information about the law of constructing a mill.
The Book is illustrated with lots of large and detailed drawings, which are separated from the text and placed on roughly the last 100 pages. On these pages one can study and understand the mathematical, technical and physical principals and properties of the mills described in the text. In addition to these large pictures there can be found smaller ones throughout the text. They serve more of a decorative purpose and help to further accentuate certain points made in the text.
To switch from the content to the visual and physical properties of the book. To be honest, I was surprised by the size of the book, maybe because I’m used to the rather small size of the books I read, the size of my Iphone or my laptop, which are the media I consume information through. These are all tiny compared to Theatrum Machinarum Molarum.
There isn’t much information available about the main author Johann Matthias Beyer. However, he wasn’t the only one contributing to this opus. Another main contributor was Jacob Leopold (1674-1727), a German engineer. He was in the process of creating an encyclopedia of the state of the art around his lifetime. Sadly he wasn’t able to finish his work before he was taken by inevitable death, which is why Theatrum Machinarum Molarium was written by Beyer.