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Thursday, May 24, 2012

A is for Automaton (shades of steampunk abound!)

A is for automaton.

An automaton (plural: automata or automatons) is a self-operating machine. The word is sometimes used to describe a Robot, more specifically an "Autonomous robot".



Recently I saw a program that featured the most magnificent little creation - a mechanical boy that was able to write. Not only write, but draw little scenes as well. Created by Swiss watchmaker Henri Maillardet some time before 1800, it is believed to be one of only two ever made by the man.

The inner workings of the automaton are similiar to those we see inside of wind up music boxes. I remember when I was a little girl, I was fascinated by the idea that someone was able to figure out how to convert little bits of metal blips into beautiful melodies. I have always loved to see the insides of old music boxes and watches and clocks. I am always amazed at the skill, the craftmanship and the knowledge that goes into creating these instruments. To think that this little automaton was designed with handmade by Maillardet using the tools of his day and the images he created from his imagination just boggles my mind.

The little automaton has quite a history. You can read about him at the following link, written by artist Gregg Chadwick. I refer you to his site rather than write it myself because sometimes one just has to acknowledge perfect when they see/read it. Great posting about this beautiful little guy. -

Join us for more fun with Alphabe-thursday, by visitng Jenny Matlock's blog, which can be reached via the link to the right!


  1. I am so not mechanical! I'm amazed at anyone that can figure out how to create simple machines, let alone something so intricate.

  2. I am always amazed at the inventiveness of so many.

    I can barely put a bolt on a screw...


    ...or would that be a washer on a bolt...



    Fun post! I'm sorry you didn't get linked!

    If you run into this again, just e-mail me and I'll open the link up for you even if it's closed!