Automata for the people
Laminating means making something strong by combining lots of thin layers. But what is cold lamination?
As the name implies, cold laminators don’t use any heat. In fact, sometimes they needn’t use electricity. Regular laminators heat their pouches up, activating the adhesive inside them. With a cold version, the laminating sheets are already sticky. The machine’s job to apply constant and even pressure to whatever you’re protecting, so you don’t end up with a bubbly and wrinkly finish.
As I was researching laminators, I stumbled across a chap called (deep breath) Badi’al-Zaman Abū al-‘Izz ibn Ismā’īl ibn al-Razāz al-Jazarī. He was a twelfth century polymath who, apparently, had worked on laminating wood so it wouldn’t warp.
That would have been important because al-Jazari was famous for his automata. He invented a drink-serving waitress, a peacock fountain with towel-holding servants, a robot band that floated on a lake and even a huge elephant clock, complete with cymbal-striking man and chirruping bird.
Do you think he ever tried to get the wrinkles out of an elephant?
Here are some drawings of al-Jazari’s work