Monday, October 13, 2014

The Father of Water Automata

Hero, also known as Heron of Alexandria (c. 10CE-70CE)  was a cutting edge Greek mathematician and fanciful engineer who was a fan of designing machines operated by pneumatic or mechanical means aka automata. This often included devices used in temples to cultivate faith through theatrics and spectacle. What does this have to do with water? Glad you asked. Heron of Alexandria devised the very first coined operated vending machine to dispense water, holy water to be exact, but water none-the-less.

"A coin inserted in the slot strikes one end of a balance beam, lifting the other end temporarily and drawing a plug out of a pipe, allowing the water to flow. As the balance returns to equilibrium, the plug drops, seals the pipe and the flow ceases."