The Incredible Writing Automaton (0)

Thursday, January 18, 2007 by , under , ,

I just had to show this to you, folks, as I find it truly amazing: a fully-functional, quill-writing automaton dating from the 18th century -- 1772, to be precise.

Two small keys are used to wind-up the automaton which, once started, can write any pre-programmed sentence upon a velin sheet. It dips its feather in the inkwell, shakes it twice with incredible human-like movement, and actually forms letters better than I could using a quill. His eyes actually follow what is being written, and his head turns as he dips the quill again.

From "The Writer is able to write any custom text up to 40 letters long. The text is coded on a wheel where characters are selected one by one. According to Wikipedia, some authors explain that this automaton is a forerunner of the computers. This statement is certainly justified since the machine is composed of a "program" and a "memory". The "program" is a wheel which makes it possible to choose the words the android is to write, and the "memory", which is made up by a set of cams, make it possible to form the letters. However, other authors think The Writer works more like a music box than like a computer."

Amazing. (Thanks, Boingboing and Fogozanos!)

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