Discover the story of Leonardo Torres Quevedo, one of the most prolific inventors in the history of science.
Leonardo Torres Quevedo was born in 1852 in the Cantabrian town of Santa Cruz de Iguña. When he finished his civil engineering studies in 1876, he decided he would work in the field of science, technology, and invention because of his passion for mathematics.
The image shows Leonardo Torres Quevedo's childhood home in Santa Cruz de Iguña, Cantabria.
Torres Quevedo spent the final years of his life teaching, researching, and creating resources to help educators.
His patents included typewriters, marginal pagination for manuals, a projecting pointer, and a didactic projector.
In 1922 the Sorbonne named him Doctor Honoris Causa and in 1927 he was chosen as one of the 12 associate members of the Academy.
He was also a member of various academies located both in Spain and elsewhere.
These included the Royal Spanish-American Academy of Cádiz, the Society of Physics and Natural History of Geneva, and the Academies of Sciences in Zaragoza, Buenos Aires, and Paris.
Torres Quevedo also received awards such as the Grand Cross of Alfonso XII and the Henri de Parville Prize from the French Academy of Sciences.
In 1953 events were held to commemorate the centenary of his birth, with senior academic, scientific, and university representatives from Spain and elsewhere taking part.
In 1958 a World's Fair was once again held following a hiatus caused by the Second World War.
This is the brochure on Leonardo Torres Quevedo handed out at the exhibition.
His work is presented as a precursor to automation and tele-mechanics, and his participation in the event meant the engineer was recognized as a key representative of modern Spanish science.
In 1886, while living in Molledo, Cantabria, he built his first cableway. It traversed a 40-meter drop, 400 meters up, and was pulled along by a pair of cows.
In 1887 he patented a funicular with several cables supported by independent counterweights so there was no risk of danger if a cable should break.
Between 1910 and 1920 Torres Quevedo demonstrated the advantages of an electromechanical system over mechanical processes.
The inventor's final scientific publication was "Arithmomètre électromécanique" (Electromechanical Arithmometer) presented at the French Academy of Sciences, which will soon reach its 70th anniversary.
Algebraic machines are analog calculators that solve mathematical equations using quantities represented by physical values.
The mathematical process is linked to an operational process involving certain physical values, and the physical result obtained corresponds to the mathematical solution sought.
Torres Quevedo Museum (Madrid)
Museum Director: Manuel Romana García
Editing: Miriam Guerrero Pérez
Texts: Miriam Guerrero Pérez and Consuelo Durán Cermeño
Advisors: Francisco González Redondo, Antonio López Vega, and María Pascual Nicolás
Image Sources: Museum collection, Francisco González Redondo Collection, Manuel Romana Collection, National Newspaper Library, Sorolla Museum
Video Source: YouTube