Ancient robots

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(ORDO NEWS) — We all know from childhood stories from Greek mythology about the copper protector of Crete Talos, created by Hephaestus on the orders of Zeus. God Hephaestus created the first real laboratory for creating mechanical miracles. He was a renowned blacksmith and knew how to breathe life into his creations. At the same time, he created not only defenders, but also servants who, for example, helped with the table setting.

Bronze Knight or Clay Boy

And where are the origins of the Russian fairy tale about the clay guy? The potter blinded him for himself and his wife, because they did not have children. The guy turned out to be huge and began to eat everything: parents, neighbors … And everything would have ended badly, but he ate a goat, which ripped open his belly and released everyone who was inside the clay monster to freedom.

Unlike our clay guy, the Golem, also made of clay, on the contrary, served its people and protected them according to an ancient Jewish legend.

Were these characters really technical genius creations, or just clever hoaxes?

Homer wrote about mechanical servants in his famous Iliad. In ancient China, according to legend, dolls were created that took mental orders and fulfilled the wishes of their owners. Plato and Aristotle in their writings anticipated the creation of thinking mechanical machines in the future based on their own experiences.

Fortunately, reliable information about the existence of androids in ancient times is stored in the world‘s libraries. It is known that even the Egyptians in the III millennium BC. They came up with the idea of ​​seating the priests in statues: from there, the oracles predicted the future for people in their uterine voice. Plato’s friend, mathematician Archytas, created a wooden dove, which was set in motion by the pressure of a jet of steam. The Roman poet Claudius described a miracle invented by Archimedes. It was about a glass ball with the image of the firmament, along which celestial bodies moved. The machine was driven by water.

Alms collector

A book written in the 9th century was discovered in China. It’s called Chao Ye Qian Zai. This valuable work, documenting the events of that time, is being studied at the Center for Chinese Studies in Bavaria.

Among other things, the book describes the Chinese craftsman Yang Ulyan, famous for his incredible ingenuity and golden hands. Once he managed to make a figure of a monk out of wood, who was holding a bowl in his hands and begging for alms. When the vessel was filled with coins, the monk said: “Alms have been collected.” Thousands of people came to the city where the talking monk stood. To hear the wooden figure talking, they endlessly threw money into the begging bowl. This cleverly crafted mechanism collected more alms than the average beggar.

The same book tells of a craftsman named King Lang Ling who made mechanical musical instruments. In the 7th century, he created a robot that hummed a melody and danced to it himself. The face of the robot did not look like a Chinese.

Talking heads, dancers and flying machines

Several genius creators were known in medieval Europe. They managed to create talking heads, moving hands and flying machines. In 1495, the great Leonardo da Vinci designed a mechanical man who waved his arms and turned his head.

Later, Hans Bullman appeared in Germany, who is rightfully considered a follower of Leonardo. In addition, he became a trendsetter for humanoid mechanisms playing musical instruments.

Robot from Dresden

The French writer Antoine de Rivarol in 1783 described the talking heads created by the Abbot Mical: “In the castle of Temple you can observe a fantastic mechanism. It attracts connoisseurs and amateurs to gawk at a miracle. These are two ore heads that speak in real sentences, and very clearly. They are incredible in size, and their voices are inhuman. ” Skilled artisan Mikal spent 30 years making his ingenious creation. How he got the heads to talk is unknown. However, Rivarol wrote about the giant keyboards and metal cylinders attached to the heads, on which the intervals for the pronunciation of words were measured.

We have also received letters from the great poet Johann Wolfgang Goethe, who shared his impressions of talking heads with Duke Karl August of Vienna. True, here it was a question of talking heads, invented by Baron Kempelen at the beginning of the 18th century. They were propelled by a “terrible” machine, and spoke using a complex system of inflatable bellows. It is noteworthy that the expression “fan furs” used in the letters as a figurative means “to lie”, “to deceive someone.”

Over the years, Swiss watchmakers Pierre Jaquet Droz and his son Henri have created perhaps three of the most famous androids: a scribe, draftsman and musician, driven by a clockwork device with a mainspring.

The scribe is a real technical miracle with a height of about 70 centimeters. A boy of about five sits at a small table and holds a quill in his hand. At the request of the audience, he accurately printed any letters or text on paper, dipping his pen into an inkwell and tilting his head. The mechanism was hidden in the back and allowed the writing of complex words and phrases up to 40 letters long.

The draftsman moved a pencil on the sheet, stopped from time to time, thoughtfully contemplated the image, then blew on the paper to remove specks from it. Among other drawings, he made a portrait of King Louis XV.

The musician girl was sitting at the harmonium. Her fingers ran over the keys, and her head turned, as if following the movement of her hands with her eyes.

Father and son Dro arranged a real tour for their wonderful mechanisms throughout Europe, becoming famous and enriched. But among the grateful audience there were people who called all this the work of the devil.

In Russian-language editions there is an original version of the origin of the word “android”. The fact is that Pierre’s son was called Henri Droz, and he continued his father’s work in the production of original mechanical humanoid dolls. Allegedly, the word itself came from his name. In fact, it comes from the Greek words ανδρών, which means “people,” and ίδιο, “the same.”

Jacob Bruce is a descendant of a famous Scottish family and a Moscow general – one of the Russian masters. Self-taught and a warrior, he, however, was not only a statesman at the court of Peter I, but also an engineer, cartographer, linguist and astrologer. According to some reports, Jacob Bruce also created various mechanical curiosities. On the top floor of the Sukharev Tower in Moscow, where his laboratory was located, Bruce worked on the creation of aircraft. According to eyewitnesses, dragons with human heads were often seen flying out of its windows.


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