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What a Brilliant Idea

The virtual museum is the brainchild of the designer Juli Capella in collaboration with Marisa Santamari, director of the RED association of design companies

By Nick Nutter | Last Updated 8 Mar 2022 | Andalucia | News
Peral 2006

Peral 2006

Spain has not been well known for innovative invention since the days of al-Andalus. That is a pity because Spanish inventors have been busy for the last two hundred years inventing things that we take for granted every day, like the mop, the hand food blender and a spacesuit, well not every day perhaps.

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Virtual Museum of Spanish Inventions

Peral postcard

Peral postcard

It is all the brainchild of the Barcelona born architect Juli Capella in collaboration with Marisa Santamaria, director of the RED association of design companies. Capella has catalogued many Spanish inventions and put them in a virtual museum on Instagram. What a brilliant idea, particularly during lockdown. Go to a museum and never leave home. The link is at the bottom on this article.

Now, I am a bit of a museum freak. Julie hates it, any trip to a museum has to involve finding a nice coffee shop first so that I can find her again when I eventually emerge. She also has to check that I am actually carrying my mobile, charged preferably, just in case I forget where the coffee shop is. Julie enjoys museums as much as me, but I insist on reading every label on the grounds that you may find some nugget of information you did not previously know. And somebody has taken the trouble to produce those labels, so it behoves visitors to appreciate and read them. Well, that’s my view, but, back to the virtual museum. How does it compare with a real one?

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It’s great. Plenty of information, labels galore, no need to worry about the coffee shop or whether my mobile is charged. So, what have we got?

My all-time favourite Spanish invention is the first, fully engined vessel that could remain submerged for some time, the submarine. Peral was the first electric battery-powered submarine, built by the Spanish engineer and sailor Isaac Peral for the Spanish Navy. The first fully capable military submarine, she was launched 8 September 1888.

I first saw this submarine when I visited Cartagena in 2006. It was slowly eroding on a plinth in a fountain on the paseo. We went back to Cartagena a couple of years ago and it had disappeared. That was a bit of a pain because I wanted a decent photograph. All was not lost, we tracked it down, Peral had been spruced up and moved to the Cartagena Naval Museum.

Other fascinating exhibits in the virtual museum include a dripless olive oil dispenser. Now, that was a good idea. I don’t want to spoil any more surprises so I will recommend the museum.

The only drawback for me was that, being virtual, I could not take any pics of the exhibits so you are stuck with one I took of Peral back in 2006 and a copy of a postcard that was printed in 1888.

Click here to go to the virtual museum

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