Annalisa Barbara Pesando

Art, technology, industry in the historical collections of the polytechnic of Turin (1859-1906)

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This paper retraces the history of the collections of the Polytechnic of Turin, which was founded in 1906 following the merger of the first «Scuola di Applicazione per Ingegneri del Regno» (1859) and the Italian Industrial Museum (1862). This wealth of the collections stems from innovative teaching combining advanced scientific theory with laboratory experimentation to form modern engineers who would play pivotal political and economic roles in the construction of modern Italy. Giovanni Curioni’s major contribution to the birth of modern building science and the associated creation of architectural culture; new areas of study in Italian tunnel engineering thanks to the discovery of nitro- glycerine by Ascanio Sobrero; studies in the art of mining by Quintino Sella; the inventions of Galileo Ferraris in the field of electronics that revolutionised social practices and customs; advances in mechanical engineering, physics and chemistry to reduce the technological gap with Europe form a legacy on which the memory, past and future identity of the Polytechnic of Turin are founded


  • Polytechnic of Turin
  • Historical collections
  • Quintino Sella
  • Giovanni Curioni
  • Italian engineering


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