Thursday, July 2, 2015

An Early Mechanical Marvel...!

So many things we think of as being new and modern...aren't!

Who would have thought that mechanical realistic automons would have been built as far back as the 16th century?

The Mechanical Monk

The 16th century “mechanical monk” may have been the result of King Phillip II of Spain keeping up his end of a holy bargain. According to legend, Phillip II’s son and heir suffered a head injury, and the King vowed to the heavens that he would deliver a miracle if the boy were spared. When the Prince recovered, Phillip II commissioned a clockmaker and inventor named Juanelo Turriano to build a lifelike recreation of beloved Franciscan friar Diego de Alcalá (later Saint Diego). Completed sometime in the 1560s, Turriano’s 15-inch-tall automaton is powered by a wound spring and uses an assortment of iron cams and levers to move on three small wheels concealed beneath its monk’s robe. Artificial feet step up and down to imitate walking, and the friar’s eyes, lips and head all move in lifelike gestures. Working together, these elements give the impression of a monk deep in prayer. The robot can walk in a square pattern mouthing devotionals, nodding its head and occasionally beating its chest with its right arm and kissing a rosary and cross with its left. The 450-year-old device is still operational today, and is held at the Smithsonian in Washington, D.C.

I reckon the next time we get to thinking we have come up with something new and wonderful, we need to go and study the history books a bit more, ya know? The past is a lot more colorful than we originally thought!

Coffee in the kitchen this morning!


Mamahen said...

Who would ever guess such a thing like that so long ago. Very interesting :))

Chickenmom said...

Automatas just have to be my most favorite item ever! Thanks for the post, Mr. Hermit!

Hermit's Baby Sis said...

Wow - 450 years old! Just wow!

linda m said...

There is a lot in the past that we could use today. Just because we have more modern technology we should dismiss inventors from the past. Cool article.

HermitJim said...

Hey Mamahen...
They were a lot smarter than we gave them credit for, I think.

Thanks for stopping by today!

Hey Phyllis...
They are certainly fun to find out about!

many thanks for coming over today!

Hey Sis...
The amazing part is that it is still functional. How cool is that?

Thanks for stopping by today!

Hey Linda...
We could probably learn a lot from the inventors of the past. Not everything has to be high teck.

Thanks for the visit!