Aberron, the Fogonazos blogger, has written a nice piece about "The Writer," an amazing wind-up automaton built in 1772 by a Swiss clockmaker named Jacquet-Droz. The videos are stunning.
As soon as the mechanism starts up, 'The Writer' dips the feather into the ink, shakes it twice, puts his hand at the top of the page and stops. Every single movement of the automaton gives an unusual impression of life: his eyes follow the text being written, and the head moves when he takes some ink.Link
Mark Frauenfelder is the founder of Boing Boing and the editor-in-chief of MAKE and Cool Tools. Twitter: @frauenfelder. Come and hear Mark speak at the ALA conference in Chicago on July 1.