During the 18th century there was an special interest of the science, thanks to the enlightenment, directed to the way living creatures moved, especially human beings, so people created artificial creatures that intended to be an exact replica of nature. All this evolved from the clockmaking, but this automats, automatons or androids had a lot more complex mechanism (including lots of things I don't even understeand). This automats are shown doing almost everything that crosses your mind: there are birds singing, people playing, writing, dancing... a long list for this 18th century extravaganza about much have been written. Anyway I leave you some videos about this ancient mechanical marvels.
Le joueur d'échecs
The Peacock clock at the Hermitage Museum. Build by the english clockmaker James Cook and sold to Potemkin who gave it as a present to Catherine the Great.
The Marie Antoinette's dulcimier player. This was suposed to be the queen's replica, made by Peter Kintzing and David Roentgen in 1784.
Writing automat by Jaquet-Droz from 1773. Pierre Jaquet-Droz was a swiss clockmaker and one of the most famous automat maker. Actually his company founded in 1738 was purchased in 2011 by a swiss group and they make fine watches. (At their website you can watch a video with the mechanism of the writing)
The singing bird box. By Jaquet-Droz, 1785.
A scene form the 1927 silent film Le joueur d'échecs, based in Wolfgang von Kemplen's 1770 very famous chess player automat "The Turk" (which was actually controled by a person hidden in the cabinet). This scene shows Von Kempelen at the presentation of the Turk at the court.
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