Museo Galileo
Virtual Museum
Lens-grinding lathe
    • Setting:
      Room X
    • Maker:
      Andrea Frati
    • Place:
    • Date:
      second half 18th cent.
    • Materials:
      lacquered and marbled wood, iron, brass
    • Dimensions:
      height 930 mm, width 1050 mm, wheel diameter 480 mm
    • Inventory:
    • Lens-grinding lathe (Inv. 3194)

The machine is mounted on a richly decorated wooden frame. A handle moves a wheel that rotates a small vertical boxwood plate by means of a pulley. The lenses to be ground were attached to the plate. The wheel axle also moves a series of toothed gears that simultaneously actuate a disk with different gear ratios (on which the lenses are mounted) and a tool holder that could be lowered. Some parts are missing. The instrument's construction and decoration suggest that it was more a demonstration apparatus than an efficient machine-tool. However, it may have been designed for cutting and cleaning semi-precious stones. The 1776 inventory of the Museo di Fisica e Storia Naturale listed Andrea Frati as the inventor.