Museo Galileo
Virtual Museum
Mixing faucet
    • Setting:
      Room XVIII
    • Inventor:
      Giuseppe Leonardi
    • Maker:
      Giuseppe Leonardi
    • Place:
    • Date:
    • Materials:
    • Dimensions:
      height 260 mm, max. length 280 mm
    • Inventory:
    • Mixing faucet (Inv. 1014)

This elegant mixing faucet is a forerunner of the device fitted on most bathtubs today. It consists of two brass tubes converging into a faucet whose rotating handle is adorned by a pair of tritons. A turn of the handle increases the flow of hot water while simultaneously reducing the flow of cold water, or vice versa. A holder between the two tritons contains a small thermometer (partly broken) showing the mix temperature. Considering how few people could enjoy a bath in the early nineteenth century, such a device represented the state-of-the-art of domestic hygiene technology, as well as an extraordinary luxury. Two watercolor drawings illustrate the apparatus and the details of its construction. They carry the following inscriptions "Bathtub designed and built in Milan by Giuseppe Leonardi in 1824. Dr[awn] from real life by Alessandro Dacomo. Made by Giu[seppe] Leonardi" ["Acquario da bagni immaginato ed eseguito in Milano da Giuseppe Leonardi anno 1824 Alessandro Dacomo. Dis[egnò]. dal vero. l'anno 1824 Giù. Leonardi fece"]. We have no information on Giuseppe Leonardi. Provenance: Lorraine collections.