By Adelheid Voskuhl
Read Online or Download Androids in the Enlightenment: Mechanics, Artisans, and Cultures of the Self PDF
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Additional resources for Androids in the Enlightenment: Mechanics, Artisans, and Cultures of the Self
61. A picture of the Belloneon is in Engelmann, “Aus der Geschichte,” 799. See also Beyer, Faszinierende Welt der Automaten, 72. 62. The instrument was a keyboard in the form of a vertical fortepiano. The strings were hit not with a hammer but with a cylinder covered with leather and treated with rosin. Engelmann, “Aus der Geschichte,” 843. 63. Beyer, Faszinierende Welt der Automaten, 72; Wolf, Kaufmanns Trompeterautomat, 29. 64. The trumpeter is kept at the Deutsches Museum under inventory number 4423.
In this endeavor, I beneﬁt from the guidance of historians of technology of the past ﬁfty or so years who have navigated the assumptions, scattered records, and legends that present themselves to historians of the automaton. In 1964 Derek de Solla Price and Silvio Bedini contributed essays to an early issue of Technology and Culture, and they went on to be cited in every subsequent automaton study. They integrate automata more rigorously into intellectual and social contexts than did survey works from earlier in the century, but both essays also have distinctly universalist and teleological elements, which greatly inﬂuence their overall arguments.
Several prominent men, among them Gerbert d’Aurillac (ca. 950–1003), who later became Pope Sylvester II; Albertus Magnus (ca. 1193–1285); Roger Bacon (ca. 1214–1294); and Regiomontanus (1436–1476), are alleged to have built or owned automaton-like devices. Magnus’s “Iron Man” worked as a guard at his door, asking visitors about their requests and then deciding, upon their answer, whether or not to grant them entrance. Although descriptions of this automaton are scarce and vary greatly, there is some consistency in the legend according to which Thomas Aquinas, Magnus’s favorite pupil, demolished the automaton.