Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Jacques de Vaucanson - Automaton Maker

Jacques de is a great site offering information about automata, automaton makers of old, videos, DVDs, books, and music boxes. They have translated their entire site into several languages, including English.

I posted previously about Vaucanson's Duck Automaton. They have an entire page dedicated to this innovative man.

From the Site:
Both a technician and talented watchmaker, Jacques de Vaucanson made himself famous from England to Russia from his creation of sophisticated androids. He also created inventions such as the rubber pipe, the weaving loom, and the never ending chain.

Visit to learn more about Jacques de Vaucanson.

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Monday, February 11, 2008

Vaucanson's Defecating Duck Automaton

One of the earliest well known automata was The Duck by Jacques de Vaucanson, first exhibited in 1739. Vaucanson (1709 - 1782) was a French engineer credited with creating fine automata that some regard as world's first robots. He is also credited with creating the first completely automated loom.

Here is a link to a video featuring a reproduction of Vaucanson's duck automaton on YouTube. If I am not mistaken, this reproduction was made by Frédéric Vidoni for the Museum of the Automata in Grenoble, in order to pay tribute to Vaucanson.

Here is a link to an earlier post with a photo of Vaucanson's duck, showing some of the workings of the original mechanism.

More on Vaucanson and his creations can be found in these books:
* Edison's Eve: A Magical History of the Quest for Mechanical Life
* Crescendo of the Virtuoso: Spectacle, Skill, and Self-Promotion in Paris during the Age of Revolution

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