A Hand’s Plea

Jaquet-Droz is generally credited as having created the first writing automaton, but two decades earlier, Friedrich von Knaus made several machines in which a hand dipped into ink and wrote. In 1760 the automata filled the Emperor and his court in Vienna with awe when it wrote:

“Dear Sir, Do me the honour of listening to me and to what I am writing for you. The world thought that I would never be perfected by my master, he was even so persecuted that it was possible, but now, he put me in such a state that I write all languages despite the envious people, and I am truly, Dear Lord, the most loyal secretary.”

I love the idea of listening to writing. And also to an automata defending the man who built him – his master rather than his creator. Very medieaval. And also one of many seriously disturbed and often badly treated clockmakers of the time.

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