- skip - Brewer’s

Automʹaton

—plural, automatons or automata. Machines which imitate the actions, etc., of living creatures. The most famous are the following:—(1) The pigeon that could fly, made, B.C. 400, by Archy tas, of Tarentum; (2) the wooden eagle of Regiomontaʹnus, the German, which flew from the city of Kœnigsberg to meet the emperor, saluted him, and returned, 1436–1476; (3) the duck of Vaucanson of Grenoble, which could eat and drink, and even in a way digest food; its wings, viscera, bones, etc., minutely resembled those of a living animal. Vaucanson also made an image of Pan, which, at the beck of Syrinx, rose from his seat, played on his pipe, bowed when applauded, and sat down again. He also made an asp which, on being touched by an actress, in the character of Cleopatra, flew at her breast with a malignant hiss. Louis XV set him to make a human figure, but he died before he had completed it. (Greek, autos-mao, I self-move.) (See Android.)

Pierre Droz and his son Louis were noted for their automatons; so was Frederick of Knause (Vienna). The chess-player of Wolfgang, baron of Kempelen, in 1784, created quite a furor in Paris. Napoleon on one occasion played chess with this automation. (See Brazen Heads.)

previous entry · index · next entry

ABCDEFGHIJKLMNOPQRSTUVWXYZ

Entry taken from Dictionary of Phrase and Fable, edited by the Rev. E. Cobham Brewer, LL.D. and revised in 1895.

previous entry · index · next entry

Aurora Septentrionalis
Ausonia
Auspices
Auster
Austin Friars
Austrian Lip
Aut Cæsar aut nullus [Latin, Either Cæsar or no one]
Authentic Doctor
Auto da Fe. [An act of faith.]
Autolycus
Automaton
Automedon
Autumn
Ava
Avalanche
Avalon
Avant Courier. (French, avant courrier.)
Avant Garde. (French.)
Avatar
Ave Maria [Hail, Mary!] (Ave, 2 syl.)
Avenel

Linking here:

Android