Millardet's Automata


This post has been lifted in its entirety from the remarkable Proceedings of the Athanasius Kircher Society .
In November of 1928, a broken down and badly burned brass machine of unknown origin was delivered to the Franklin Institute in Philadelphia. It seemed to be an automaton of extraordinarily complex design. A machinist at the Institute set about repairing it and eventually brought it to working order. The driving motors were set in motion and the machine came to life. It immediately lowered its head and began moving its hand, which had been equipped with a writing instrument. In short order, it had created four drawings and penned three poems. In the margin of the final poem, it wrote, “Ecrit par L’Automate de Maillardet”–”Written by the Automaton of Maillardet.” The machine had not forgotten its creator.
More at the Franklin Institute.