Ferdinand Verbiest's Prototype Automobile
Verbiest steam machine.jpg
"It is not within my power to make the heavens agree with your calendar. The extra month must be taken out.”


Ferdinand Verbiest


Steam Powered Wagon


Crushes any fuel into coal




Placing water in the boiler system by a scientifically inclined user

Collected by

Warehouse 11





Date of Collection

March 25, 1772


Origin[edit | edit source]

Ferdinand Verbiest (9 October 1623 – 28 January 1688) is a typical fish out of water story. A Flemish Jesuit on missionary work in the Qing Dynasty, working alongside the Kangxi Emperor to update the Chinese court on scientific advancements.

Initially, their whole entourage was imprisoned by rival astronomer Yang Guangxian. When the time came for their execution, an earthquake and fire destroyed their part of the prison. When the Kangxi Emperor was officially crowned, he was alerted to various errors in Yang’s work. A mathematical contest between Verbiest and Yang would demonstrate who was the more capable one at discerning the skies and fit to act as counsel. Verbiest accurately predicted the future length of a sundial’s noon shadow, the positions of the Sun and planets and finally the exact time of an anticipated lunar eclipse; Yang scored 0-3.

Verbiest began tackling the antiquated calendar system, which had an extra month tacked on to compensate for past observers’ mistakes. The Emperor immediately respected his willingness to speak directly about any flaws in their scientific acumen. As their friendship grew, Verbiest provided the kingdom with new designs for steam power and weapons, while personally mentoring Kangxi in geometry and philosophical discourse. He continued by compiling a list of eclipses for the next 2000 years and installing more refined, large scale instruments at the Beijing Observatory. In thanks, Kangxi allowed him free range to promote Jesuitism and became the only Westerner to receive a posthumous title name.

One of Verbiest’s unconfirmed designs was for a primitive steam powered wagon – in 1672. A single filling of coal could power the 65 cm (25.6 in) motorized model for an hour. Steam would sprout from a boiler into a pipe and spin a simple turbine for motion. A slightly larger scale was constructed in 2002 by toy car manufacturer Brumm based on likely inaccurate designs.

Effects[edit | edit source]

Any fuel source placed into the boiler cavity will turn into coal. Wood, dirt, even vegetable oil is seemingly pressurized by the boiling water to immense magnitudes, crushing everything inside to resemble the typical carbon microstructure. Flammability is less intense, allowing the cinders to smolder for long periods while still releasing appropriate heat.

Induces great skill at manipulating mathematical values and desire to show off. Calculations do not become immediately clear, but become easier to understand and solve at rapid pace. Many of their measurements have practical use in engineering and planning purposes. But the user wants to impress others with their domain over formulae, often boasting to anyone they think can perceive their greatness. Can lead to great support when the listener is interested, or dismissal as an annoying loon if they behave too bluntly with non-knowledge seekers.

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