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Bamboo-copter was a toy in China, dated to 400 BC. A Rotary Fan also existed in China around 180 AD. I'm interested in both of those things, as they work on the exact same principle.

Do we have any archaelogical finds of them? Absent that, are there any detailed drawings of them dating from those periods?

I can find tons of pictures of these things online, but they all look like modern versions. I want to see original versions, because it's very critical to see the blade shape. In particular, I want to know if the blades were plain rectangles, or had some curves in them, especially washout twist like you see in modern propellers.

  • dating from those periods There's no evidence the Bamboo Dragonfly existed in "400 BC". This looks like a typo for 400 CE. – Semaphore May 31 '18 at 16:34
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    @Semaphore If it is, it's a typo on Wikipedia too. The article has a cite for it, but it's some book I don't have. – DrZ214 May 31 '18 at 16:54
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    Yes, I was suggesting whoever wrote that on Wikipedia made a typo. Regardless, the first attestation to the bamboo dragonfly is the early 4th century document cited on Wikipedia, so there's no earlier primary source. – Semaphore May 31 '18 at 17:13
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    @Semaphore - Might be worth going to the WP page's "talk" page and making that point there too. – T.E.D. May 31 '18 at 18:12
  • 400 BC is also in the cited book Principles of Helicopter Aerodynamics with CD Extra By Gordon J. Leishman "The ideas of vertical flight can be traced back to early Chinese tops, a toy first used about 400 BC." - page 6 – congusbongus May 31 '18 at 22:54
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The attached image is a Bamboo-coper of Jin Dynasty. The related exhibition can be accessed in JiangHanGuan Museum at Wuhan, Hubei provoice, China. enter image description here

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    Interesting, but I see no date given for that object, rather the statement that for all the toys in the exhibition "The time span ranges from the late period of the new era to the 1980s." – Aaron Brick Sep 7 at 5:47
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    Please refer the second last paragraphy of link. It's said this bamboo-coper was made about 1700 years ago between 266 to 420 AD. – Bob Lew Sep 12 at 5:31
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    @BobLew: I dunno, it looks mighty pristine for a 1700 year old piece of wood to me. Judging by the Google translation, the link says the things appeared in the Jin dynasty; not that it's an authentic one. Compare with e.g. this statue from just a few centuries later. It's almost certainly an imitation built for the purpose of the exhibition. – Denis de Bernardy Oct 7 at 7:25
  • @DenisdeBernardy What does that "statue" have to do with the bamboo "helicopter" in China and Japan? Aren't you "Western" guys (always) mistfifying the Chinese old device or improvisations like something unknown to you so until now? There had been no aircraft materials until Wright Brothers. There was nothing like bamboo made helicopters men could ride on them. – Kentaro Oct 7 at 9:58
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    @KentaroTomono: I suspect you're not understanding what prompted my comment. The answer claims the photo is an artifact from the Jin Dynasty. The very first comment by Aaron questions whether it is authentic. OP seems to reject the idea it's some kind of modern example. I agree with Aaron. And then for some reason you jump in and the whole discussion goes haywire and turns incomprehensible. Sigh. – Denis de Bernardy Oct 7 at 11:01

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