Mechanical Marvels—Automaton: The Draughtsman-Writer “Android,” ca.1800

Mechanical Marvels—Automaton: The Draughtsman-Writer “Android,” ca.1800


The Automaton at The Franklin Institute was
built 200 years ago. Normally we think of robots as moving in very
mechanical ways, very jerky motions. This machine far and away is the most elegant
in its movement. The automaton is able to create its drawings
by reading the surface of these brass disks. The disks have hills and valleys on their
surface, and these three followers ride up and down in those hills and valleys. They translate that movement to movements
of levers that go up the back of the machine and out through the shoulder and the drawing hand. ♫ Classical Music ♫ Its repertoire includes four very detailed
drawings and three poems, two in French and one in English. ♫ Classical Music ♫ It has the most extensive mechanical
memory of any known automaton. ♫ Classical Music ♫

5 thoughts on “Mechanical Marvels—Automaton: The Draughtsman-Writer “Android,” ca.1800

  1. Amazing, this machine moves so much more elegantly than that Sophia the Robot monstrosity they have making the rounds lately.

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