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Indigenous Technologies Gallery

How Islamic inventors changed the world? Muslim inventions shaped the world we live in today. This gallery related to Iranian and Islamic scientists’ inventions and tries to show how they use the technologies for daily life.

Armillary sphere

Armillary sphere (known as astrolabe, by Ptolemy) is a model of objects in the sky. It consists of spherical framework of 5 to 9 rings that represent lines of celestial longitude and latitude and other astronomically important features.

Parthian battery

In 1936 in the village of Khuyut Rabbou’a, near Baghdad, Iraq, a collection of objects belonging to Parthian era was discovered and later named the Parthian battery. This battery consists of a clay pot (protective cover), an iron rod (anode – negative pole) and a copper cylinder (cathode- positive pole) stuck through asphalt. Researchers think that copper sulfate, wine, lemon juice, grape juice, or vinegar were used as an acidic electrolyte solution to generate electric current. Possible uses of Parthian battery: Power supply for gold plating, electric shock for pain killing and use of the jar for protection.


Nashtifan is a town in the southern part of Khorasan Razavi Province. Strong winds characterize the area, causing it to initially be called “Nish Toofan” (storm’s sting). As a result of this, windmills have been part of the region’s landscape and have been used for many centuries. Considering the wind speed, which at times reaches to 120 kilometers per hour, such windmills are oriented perpendicular to the direction of the wind flow, thus maximizing energy output.

The lever, the wheel and the axle

Avicenna (Ibn Sina) is best known in medicine not mechanics, but the book of Meyar-al-uqul attributed to Avicenna is one of Iran’s ancient scientific books on mechanics. The lever, the wheel and the axle are some of Avicenna’s inventions that are simple mechanical machines noted in this book. Modern lifters have been inspired by this ancient Iranian invention.


Astrolabe (from the Greek astrolabos, star-taker) is a multipurpose instrument for solving problems relating to astronomy such as the position of the sun and stars in the sky. The astrolabe was the most popular and useful astronomical instrument from the time of its introduction in the ancient world through to the Renaissance.

Kas al-Adl

The Banū Mūsā brothers are best known for their achievements in mechanics. Their book Kitāb al-hiyal (The Book of Ingenious Devices-9th century) is an outstanding contribution within the field of mechanical sciences. Although it is credit to both of them, there is some evidence to ascribe it to Ahmad ibn Mūsā, who seems to be the prime mechanician in the group. This device is a concentric siphon: pipe (a-cc) was likely connected to a pipe (bd) by copper wires soldered to each pipe. Pipe (bd) passes through the floor of the container (f), which is air-tight. When liquid is poured into the container it rises to a point (b), and the discharge of the first drop of water reduces the air pressure in space (ab) sufficiently to cause a continuous flow through pipe (bd) until the liquid level reaches (cc). In Arabic, this siphon is called kas al-adl which can be translated as “Cup of Equivalence”. The word ‘adl’ involves the concepts of equality, balance and justice, and the expression, therefore, implies that the purpose of siphon was to produce a balance of pressures.

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