Automata and Magic

Barnum, in his memoirs, wrote that “he was not only a prestidigitateur and legerdemain performer, but a mechanician of absolute genius.”

Robert-Houdin designed and made automata to create magic. After twenty years of studying magic, building his own automata, observing magicians, he had clear ideas about what he wanted for his own show. After he had created his own theater as a small performance hall, he started to practice as an actor. He believed that

“a good magician is an actor playing the part of a magician.”

Automaton Chess Player, later as the Mechanical Turk, or just the Turk Woog, A. 1953. Magicians and Illusionists, Lucent Books, California,p.29

His mechanical chess-playing game proved his skill in producing complex automata. Besides the chess-playing game, he also invented an electrical fire alarm, a burglar alarm system, a swinging kitchen door that wound up a dinner bell as servants passed in and out, and a clock-operated system to automatically feed his horses in their stables. (p.33)

More to read:

Woog, A. 1953. Magicians and Illusionists, Lucent Books, California,p.29

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