Detail map of Taranto, Puglia, Italy Overview map of Taranto, Puglia, Italy

A: Taranto, Puglia, Italy

Archytas Builds a Steam-Powered Flying Wooden Pigeon Automaton

Circa 400 BCE

About 400 BCE Greek philosopher, mathematician, astronomer, statesman, and strategist Archytas (Ἀρχύτας ο Ταραντίνος or Archytus of Tarentum, now Taranto, Southern Italy) "was reputed to have designed and built the first artificial, self-propelled flying device, a bird-shaped model propelled by a jet of what was probably steam, said to have actually flown some 200 meters. This machine, which its inventor called The Pigeon, may have been suspended on a wire or pivot for its flight" (Wikipedia article on Archytas, accessed 12-25-2011).

Nocks, The Robot. The Life Story of a Technology (2008) 11.

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