Person: Bramer, Benjamin
Benjamin Bramer was a German architect who published work on the calculation of sines.
Mathematical Profile (Excerpt):
- Benjamin was taken to their home in Kassel and there he was brought up.
- Bürgi tutored Bramer in a wide range of subjects but it was mathematics that he loved and he passed this love on to Bramer.
- As he grew older Bramer became interested in combining his skills in mathematics with architecture as we explain below.
- Bürgi was appointed to the imperial court in Prague and Bramer went with him to Prague when he was 16 years old, remaining there for about five years.
- Bramer left Prague in 1609 and returned to Kassel.
- In 1604, the year Bramer left Kassel for Prague, parts this landgraviate was added to the landgraviate of Hesse-Kassel under the control of the Landgrave Moritz "The Learned", with Kassel as the capital of the landgraviate.
- Moritz turned Protestant in 1605, so it was to the landgraviate of Hesse-Kassel that Bramer returned in 1609 with tensions rising between a Protestant Landgrave and the Roman Catholic Church.
- The Landgrave Moritz saw the potential in the skilful young man Bramer who was soon employed by him in directing the constructions of fortifications and castles within the landgraviate of Hesse-Kassel.
- With the outbreak of war there were more important building projects for Bramer to undertake than building churches.
- On 16 February 1625 Bramer became a naturalised citizen of Marburg and later that year he became consultant to the Count of Solms on improving the fortress at Rheinfels.
- This fortress, on the Rhine near St Goar, was one of the largest on the Rhine and its foundations had been laid nearly 400 years before Bramer was called to advise on improvements.
- Bramer was in charge of the fortifications of Kassel from 1630 to 1634.
- After working on the Kassel fortifications, Bramer switched in November 1635 to become master builder and treasurer to the fortress of Ziegenhain south of Kassel.
- Bramer remained at Ziegenhain for the rest of his life.
- This must have given Bramer some satisfaction coming near the end of his life, for it give full sovereignty to the states of the Holy Roman Empire and ended the domination of the Roman Catholic Church.
- Let us now look at Bramer's scientific achievements.
- On this matter Bramer held the views of Tommaso Campanella, the contemporary and follower of Galileo.
- Bramer followed Alberti (1435), Dürer (1525) and Bürgi (1604) when in 1630 he constructed a device that enabled one to draw accurate geometric perspective.
- Bramer has not been recognised as the inventor of the pantograph, this distinction going to the Jesuit Christoph Scheiner who describes a similar instrument in his 1631 publication Pantographice seu acre delineandi res quaslibet by parallelogrammum linear seu cavum mechanicum, mobile Ⓣ(The Pantograph: or area delineated by an extraordinary parallelogram linear or hollow mobile mechanical device).
- Although Scheiner's publication did much to spread knowledge of the pantograph, the instrument he describes is technically inferior to the earlier instrument as described by Bramer.
Born 15 February 1588, Felsberg, Germany. Died 17 March 1652, Ziegenhain, Germany.
View full biography at MacTutor
Tags relevant for this person:
Architecture, Origin Germany
Adapted from other CC BY-SA 4.0 Sources:
- O’Connor, John J; Robertson, Edmund F: MacTutor History of Mathematics Archive