Maillardet's Jeune Enfant without the costume it wears in the video. The very elaborate cam memory is stored in the cabinet beneath the desk.
Maillardet's Jeune Enfant writing automaton without the costume it wears in the video. The very elaborate cam memory is stored in the cabinet beneath the desk.
As part of Maillardet's Wonderful Mechanical Exhibition... "The Juvenile Artist, the figure of a boy, who, with every action of real life, will execute, in presence of the company, specimens
As part of Maillardet's Wonderful Mechanical Exhibition... "The Juvenile Artist, the figure of a boy, who, with every action of real life, will execute, in presence of the company, specimens of writing and drawing superior to the first masters."
Presumably a version of the same script written recently by Maillardet's automaton as preserved in the Franklin Institute. This is reproduced from the Wikipedia article on Maillardet's Automa
A version of the same script written recently by Maillardet's automaton as preserved in the Franklin Institute. This is reproduced from the Wikipedia article on Maillardet's Automaton. Notice that the letters are not as well formed.
Detail map of London, England, United Kingdom,Boston, Massachusetts, United States

A: London, England, United Kingdom, B: Boston, Massachusetts, United States

An Original Autograph by Maillardet's Automaton, the Most Famous Mechanical Writing Automaton

Circa 1800 to 1810
Sample of writing by Maillardet's Automaton
Creative Commons LicenseJeremy Norman Collection of Images - Creative Commons

Around the year 1800 Swiss mechanician Henri Maillardet, working in London, constructed Maillardet's Automaton (or the "Draughtsman-Writer", or "Maelzel's Juvenile Artist" or "Juvenile Artist"), a spring-activated automaton that drew pictures and wrote verses in both French and English. The reconstructed automaton is preserved in the Franklin Institute, Boston.

In March 2021 I acquired an original example of handwriting by Maillardet's Juvenile Artist, written according to a contemporary note, when the automation was exhibited in Spring Gardens, St. James's, London in 1810. It is known that the mechanician Henri Maillardet exhibited the Juvenile Artist in Spring Gardens starting in 1807 from a notice in Bell's Monthly Compendium of Advertisements for June, 1807. My example corresponds to the third example of handwriting recently accomplished by the automation as published in the Wikipedia article about the device, but my handwriting example is neater, probably because the automaton was in better working order when it was relatively new and exhibited by its inventor. 

The motions of the automaton's hand are produced by a series of cams located on shafts in the base of the automaton, which produces the necessary movement to complete seven sketches and the text. This automaton has the largest cam-based memory of any automaton of the era. The capacity of the automaton to store seven images within the machine was calculated as 299,040 points, or almost 300 kilobits of storage. This was achieved by placing the driving machinery in a large chest that forms the base of the machine, rather than in the automaton's body.

"The memory is contained in the 'cams,' or  brass disks. . . . As the cams are turned by the clockwork motor, three steel fingers follow their irregular edges. The fingers translate the movements of the cams into side to side, front and back, and up and down movements of the doll's writing hand through a complex system of levers and rods that produce the markings on paper" (http://www.fi.edu/learn/sci-tech/automaton/automaton.php?cts=instrumentation, accessed 12-30-2013).

When first presented to the Franklin Institute in Philadelphia in 1928, the automaton was of unknown origin. Once restored to working order, the automaton itself provided the answer when it penned the words "written by the automaton of Maillardet."

This automaton was a principal inspiration for Brian Selznick's 2007 book, The Invention of Hugo Cabret, which was later adapted to make the 2011 film Hugo directed by Martin Scorsese.

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