Following the recent retrieval of unknown archival documents, I will discuss in some detail the intriguing story of the so called Poli’s En- gine, that is a steam engine based hydraulic pump developed by Boulton and Watt in Birmingham upon the request of Giuseppe Saverio Poli, who was charged by the King of Naples, Ferdinand IV of Bourbon, to acquire a pump in order to irrigate the fields in his meadow in Carditello. The docu- ments of the Boulton & Watt Collections retrieved in Birmingham allow a thorough reconstruction of the building and functioning of that engine, to which Poli played a direct role. That story unveils that, contrary to what claimed in the literature, the first introduction in Italy of the most important technological innovation of the XVIII century did not take place with the construction of the first steamship of the Mediterranean Sea, but rather 30 years before that, thanks to the incomparable work of Giuseppe Saverio Poli. The tragic epilogue of Poli’s engine testifies for its vanishing in the historical memory.

With the eyes of the witness: Poli's Engine for the King of Naples

Esposito Salvatore
2020

Abstract

Following the recent retrieval of unknown archival documents, I will discuss in some detail the intriguing story of the so called Poli’s En- gine, that is a steam engine based hydraulic pump developed by Boulton and Watt in Birmingham upon the request of Giuseppe Saverio Poli, who was charged by the King of Naples, Ferdinand IV of Bourbon, to acquire a pump in order to irrigate the fields in his meadow in Carditello. The docu- ments of the Boulton & Watt Collections retrieved in Birmingham allow a thorough reconstruction of the building and functioning of that engine, to which Poli played a direct role. That story unveils that, contrary to what claimed in the literature, the first introduction in Italy of the most important technological innovation of the XVIII century did not take place with the construction of the first steamship of the Mediterranean Sea, but rather 30 years before that, thanks to the incomparable work of Giuseppe Saverio Poli. The tragic epilogue of Poli’s engine testifies for its vanishing in the historical memory.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11588/900304
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