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The Mechanical Turk Automaton

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Author Topic: The Mechanical Turk Automaton  (Read 606 times)
Orheim
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« on: December 30, 2010, 02:44:41 am »

Kempelen was inspired to build The Turk following his attendance at the court of Maria Theresa of Austria at Schönbrunn Palace, where François Pelletier was performing an illusion act. An exchange following the performance resulted in Kempelen promising to return to the Palace with an invention that would top the illusions.[3]

The result of the challenge was the Automaton Chess-player,[4][5] known in modern times as The Turk. The machine consisted of a life-sized model of a human head and torso, with a black beard and grey eyes,[6] and dressed in Turkish robes and a turban—"the traditional costume," according to journalist and author Tom Standage, "of an oriental sorcerer." Its left arm held a long Turkish smoking pipe while at rest, while its right lay on the top of a large cabinet[7] that measured about three-and-a-half feet (110 cm[8]) long, two feet (60 cm) wide, and two-and-a-half feet (75 cm) high. Placed on the top of the cabinet was a chessboard, which measured eighteen inches square. The front of the cabinet consisted of three doors, an opening, and a drawer, which could be opened to reveal a red and white ivory chess set.[9]
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