Verdex
Verdex
16 December 2022, 22:00

Traveled around the festive table and fired: Schlottheim's mechanical galleon

Traveled around the festive table and fired: Schlottheim's mechanical galleon
In the Middle Ages and during the Renaissance in Europe, during dinner parties, a special decoration in the form of a ship, the nave, was placed on the table. One of these decorative ships was created at the end of the 16th century by the jeweler and watchmaker Hans Schlottheim. His mechanical galleon is a device with a very complex winding mechanism.
Once this nave moved with the help of wheels, which are now missing. Every hour and every 15 minutes, the sailors, sitting in their observation posts on the masts, banged with hammers, and the cannons placed on the sides emitted smoke. On the deck, under the mast itself, a clock is installed. One can imagine what a spectacle was played during the feast, when the galleon rode around the table, firing on the move.
Electors stand on deck, including Augustus, Elector of Saxony, who owned the nave. Behind the clock is a throne with the ruler of the Holy Roman Empire, Rudolf II, seated on it. Electors occupied a special position in the country: they had the right to elect a new emperor.
Over the past century, the rarity has undergone changes. Unfortunately, many of the original details are irretrievably lost. The mechanism does not function, the figures on the deck are replaced by casts (there is an assumption that earlier drums and pipes were in the hands of the electors).
For some time the nave belonged to the British politician and antiquarian Octavius Morgan. The collector donated various artifacts to the British Museum, including this miracle of technology. The Speelklok Museum (Utrecht, the Netherlands) houses a working copy of the ship with firing cannons.

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