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Marc'Antonio Mazzoleni

Marc'Antonio Mazzoleni

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Marc'Antonio Mazzoleni was a Padua
Padua
Padua is a city and comune in the Veneto, northern Italy. It is the capital of the province of Padua and the economic and communications hub of the area. Padua's population is 212,500 . The city is sometimes included, with Venice and Treviso, in the Padua-Treviso-Venice Metropolitan Area, having...

n instrument maker best known for his association with Galileo Galilei
Galileo Galilei
Galileo Galilei , was an Italian physicist, mathematician, astronomer, and philosopher who played a major role in the Scientific Revolution. His achievements include improvements to the telescope and consequent astronomical observations and support for Copernicanism...

, for whom Mazzoleni produced instruments including Galileo's military compasses
Sector (instrument)
The sector, also known as a proportional compass or military compass, was a major calculating instrument in use from the end of the sixteenth century until the nineteenth century. It is an instrument consisting of two rulers of equal length which are joined by a hinge. A number of scales are...

 and other instruments.

Marc'Antonio Mazzoleni was the son of Paolo Mazzoleni, of the Mazzoleni family of Paduan clockmakers, and Marietta Bazi. Marc'Antonio's uncle Francesco operated a successful artisan workshop in Padua. Marc'Antonio's older brother Mario was to hold the chair in Natural Philosophy at the University of Padua
University of Padua
The University of Padua is a premier Italian university located in the city of Padua, Italy. The University of Padua was founded in 1222 as a school of law and was one of the most prominent universities in early modern Europe. It is among the earliest universities of the world and the second...

, a position that he held for thirty-six years.

Mazzoleni had been working as an instrument maker at the Arsenale
Venetian Arsenal
The Venetian Arsenal was a complex of state-owned shipyards and armories clustered together in Venice in northern Italy. It was responsible for the bulk of Venice's naval power during the middle part of the second millennium AD...

 in Venice
Venice
Venice is a city in northern Italy which is renowned for the beauty of its setting, its architecture and its artworks. It is the capital of the Veneto region...

 when, in 1597, Galileo hired him as his personal instrument maker. In 1599, Mazzoleni, his wife, and his daughter moved into Galileo's home in Padua
Padua
Padua is a city and comune in the Veneto, northern Italy. It is the capital of the province of Padua and the economic and communications hub of the area. Padua's population is 212,500 . The city is sometimes included, with Venice and Treviso, in the Padua-Treviso-Venice Metropolitan Area, having...

, where Galileo was teaching at the University of Padua. (Mazzoleni's wife became Galileo's cook and housekeeper.)

Both during the four years he lived in Galileo's household and thereafter, Mazzoleni constructed instruments for Galileo, notably the military compass that Galileo invented and sold (along with an instruction manual written by Galileo). Mazzoleni would build more than 100 of these compasses for Galileo. Mazzoleni also helped Galileo produce other instruments, including hydrostatic balances, air thermometers, magnets and magnetic compasses for ships, and various kinds of drawing compasses for engineers and architects. For his services, Galileo paid Mazzoleni a meager salary of six crowns per year (in addition to room and board).

Mazzoleni continued to work with Galileo even after the latter's return to Florence
Florence
Florence is the capital city of the Italian region of Tuscany and of the province of Florence. It is the most populous city in Tuscany, with approximately 370,000 inhabitants, expanding to over 1.5 million in the metropolitan area....

 in 1610. In 1612, Mazzoleni became regulator of the clock of the University of Padua's Palazzo del Bo'.

Mazzoleni died of the plague in 1632.