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 YEAR: October 1747
 ITEM: Periodical
RARITY: Rare   Click here for further information on our rarity scale Information on the rarity of this item is unknown.

Hamburgisches Magazin (Hamburg Magazine)


Over 275 years old, this issue of a magazine printed in Hamburg, Germany describes an automaton (an early robot) called The Flute Player. As one might expect, it is printed in German.

We think of robots as being part of our modern computerized world but the creations of mechanical people have a long history. One can see efforts by DaVinci to create a mechanical knight in the late 1400's or a musical band by Al-Jazari in the 1200s. Al-Jazari's band included a harp player, two drummers and a flute player.

It's quite a coincidence that, 500 years later, Jacques de Vaucanson created another mechanical flute player. He also created a drummer and he creaeted a mechanical duck that would eat and then poop..not really but it looked like it! Vaucanson had studied medicine as a young man and used these automatons to examine different aspects of the human body (flute player was the lungs, duck was digestive system.)

This article was a review of Vaucanson's mechanical flute player and it included a now famous drawing of all three automatons.

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Click on any of the images below to see the slideshow.
A fold-out drawing from the magazine article.