The date of the origin of smoke jacks does not appear to be known, but the first patent taken out for an improved smoke-jack by Peter Clare is dated December 24th, 1770. The smoke jack consists of a wind-wheel fixed in the chimney, which communicates motion by means of an endless band to a pulley, whence the motion is transmitted to the spit by gearing. In the valuable introduction to the volume of “Abridgments of Specifications relating to Cooking, 1634-1866” (Patent Office), mention is made of an Italian work by Bartolomeo Scappi, published first at Rome in 1572, and afterwards reprinted at Venice in 1622, which gives a complete account of the kitchens of the time and the utensils used in them. In the plates several roasting-jacks are represented, one worked by smoke or hot air and one by a spring.
This text comes from a footnote on a diary entry in the 1893 edition edited by Henry B. Wheatley.