Giuseppe Campani, “Inventor Romae,” an Uncommon Genius


The ingenious and ambitious Campani brothers—Matteo, Pier Tommaso, and Giuseppe—were at the core of thriving activity of technological and scientific innovation that involved popes, the Sun King, and other rulers of baroque Europe. Especially Giuseppe’s outstanding production of innovating clocks, telescopes, and microscopes, attracted the attention of the most important scientific characters and experimental academies of the time. This posthumous book by Silvio Bedini is the result of a fifty-year-long study that will serve not just as a reference work for scholars interested in seventeenth-century clockmaking, practical optics, astronomy, and science and technology in general, but it also will provide you with unique insights into the scientific and technological landscape of baroque Rome and its links to a broader European scene. The author's narrative style and the many illustrations which accompany the story, make this book also for non-specialists an enjoyable read.

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Silvio A. Bedini (1917–2007) was an Historian Emeritus at the Smithsonian Institution. A specialist in the history of scientific instruments, he published over 500 articles and 29 books in that field and beyond, such as The Pope's Elephant (Carcanet Press, 1997).

Cristiano Zanetti, Ph.D. (European University Institute, 2012), is a researcher in the ERC-project TACITROOTS on the Accademia del Cimento (Università degli Studi di Milano). He has published monographs and articles, including Janello Torriani and the Spanish Empire (Brill, 2017).
Marvin Bolt

Editor’s Note
Cristiano Zanetti

Peter Bedini and Leandra Bedini

Silvio A. Bedini

List of Illustrations


1 From the Umbrian Hills

2 Ave Roma Immortalis (1651–1655)

3 A Patent from the Pontiff (1655–1656)

4 Accusation (1657–1658)

5 Vindication (1657–1658)

6 Oscillating Bars (The Crank Lever Escapement) (1657–1659)

7 A House Divided (1658–1660)

8 New Worlds (1660–1664)

9 The Ragguaglio (1664–1665)

10 Dueling Telescopes (1664–1666)

11 Vagarious Mercury (1664–1666)

12 Clockwork in a Vacuum (1663–1672)

13 Perpetual Quest (1660–1668)

14 Ventures with Time (1672–1678)

15 Magical Shadows (1668–1670)

16 Perpetuum Mobile (1668–1700)

17 The Esteem of Princes (1664–1705)

18 Eyes on the Skies (1662–1669)

19 Commissions from the Sun King (1669–1680)

20 “Fleas Large as a Man’s Fist” (1686–1700)

21 Litigants and Legacies (1680–1710)

22 The Twilight Years (1700–1715)

23 Giuseppe’s Daughters (1715–1763)

24 Era’s End (1750–1850)
All interested in the history of science and technology during the Scientific Revolution, and in the invention, production and testing of scientific instruments and their connections with power and scientific research.