The Jaquet-Droz automata, among all the numerous automata built by the Jaquet-Droz family, refer to three doll automata built between 1768 and 1774 by Pierre Jaquet-Droz, his son Henri-Louis and Jean-Frédéric Leschot: the musician, the draughtsman and the writer. The dolls are still functional, and can be seen at the Musée d’Art et d’Histoire of Neuchâtel, in Switzerland. The automata were designed and built by Pierre Jaquet-Droz, Henri-Louis Jaquet-Droz and Jean-Frédéric Leschot as advertisement and entertainment toys designed to improve the sales of watches among the nobility of Europe in the 18th century. They are considered to be among the remote ancestors of modern computers.
The draughtsman is a young child who can actually draw four different images: a portrait of Louis XV, a royal couple (believed to be Marie Antoinette and Louis XVI), a dog with "Mon toutou" ("my doggy") written beside it, and a scene of Cupid driving a chariot pulled by a butterfly. The draughtsman works by using a system of cams which code the movements of the hand in two dimensions, plus one to lift the pencil. The automaton also moves on his chair, and he periodically blows on the pencil to remove dust.
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