isis unveiled: chapter xiv (ancient mysteries)

“Sir David Brewster gives a glowing description of several automata; and the eighteenth century takes pride in that masterpiece of mechanical art, the “flute-player of Vaucanson.” The little we can glean of positive information on that subject, from ancient writers, warrants the belief that the learned mechanicians in the days of Archimedes, and some of them much anterior to the great Syracusan, were in no wise more ignorant or less ingenious than our modern inventors.

Archytas, a native of Tarentum, in Italy, the instructor of Plato, a philosopher distinguished for his mathematical achievements and wonderful discoveries in practical mechanics, constructed a wooden dove. It must have been an extraordinarily ingenious mechanism, as it flew, fluttered its wings, and sustained itself for a considerable time in the air. This skillful man, who lived 400 years B.C., invented besides the wooden dove, the screw, the crane, and various hydraulic machines.

Egypt pressed her own grapes and made wine. Nothing remarkable in that, so far, but she brewed her own beer, and in great quantity, our Egyptologist goes on to say. The Ebers manuscript proves now, beyond doubt, that the Egyptian used beer 2,000 years B.C. Their Beer must have been strong and excellent, like everything they did.

Glass was manufactured in all its varieties. In many of the Egyptian sculptures we find scenes of glassblowing and bottles; occasionally, during archeological researches, glasses and glassware are found, and very beautiful they seem to have been. Sir Gardner Wilkinson says that the Egyptians cut, ground, and engraved glass, and possessed the art of introducing gold between the two surfaces of the substance. They imitated with glass, pearls, emeralds, and all the precious stones to a great perfection.”

H. P. Blavatsky

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