The Gimbal

In a conversation with a friend, he pointed out that the Gimbal would be the best practical/automated embodiment to achieve arbitary Euler angle rotation (theta, phi, Xi) of an object around its center of mass.  I told him quite simply, you are good, but a guy like Archimedes would no doubt have conceived of such a leap of generalization.  Of course we first did quick check first at Wikipedia about the inventor of the Gimbal. 

To no surprise to us, the Gimbal was first described by the Greek inventor Philo of Byzantium (280-220BC).  He died only 8 years after Archimedes.

Philo described an 8 sided ink pot with holes, which can be turned so that while any face is on top, a pen can be dipped in ink, yet the ink never runs out through the holes on the other sides.  This was done by the suspension of the ink well in the center, which was mounted on a series of concentric rings which remained stationary no matter where the pot is turned.