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As you’ll see, the anonymous artist has taken liberties with Tolkien’s vision.Where they originally came from, no one seems to know.Leonardo da Vinci made an automaton in honor of Louis XII that advanced toward him, stopped, and then opened its chest to point to the fleur-de-lis coat of arms of France.This was the trend for the next several hundred years: engineers making really fancy toys for royals .But by the time the 18 century rolled around, automatons were being used less as thrills for bored monarchs and instead, due to much greater interest in biomechanics, metaphysics, and philosophy, as a means for real scientific progress.Watchmakers collaborated with doctors and surgeons to create artificial organs of greater complexity, and by 1739 Jacques de Vaucanson had created his “Digesting Duck,” an artificial duck capable of quacking, splashing, eating, drinking, and even digesting and discarding food .Call it a god complex, womb envy, or sheer fascination at that glorious and mystifying cross-section between life-like and alive, robots will always hold a special, albeit anxious, place in the human heart.Today, scientists and researchers are working on creating empathetic robots that can “perceive” and “show” emotion.
What they discovered instead was a living doll Descartes had created, which could move just like a human being.
Creations such as this ushered in the period from the late 1800s to the early 1900s known as “The Golden Age of Automata.” At this time thousands of “princely toys” were being exported out of small, family workshops in Paris to places around the world, to magicians, collectors, and even filmmaker (and former/forever magician) Georges Méliès.
The visual magic and arresting realism of the automaton had entranced clockmakers, magicians, filmmakers, scientists, and philosophers.
The best might be Gandalf “Keep on Truckin’” the Gray.
These groovy Lord of the Rings stickers were recently spotted at a Tolkien convention.