Marie Antoinette miraculously survived the Revolution enough to be repaired in the 19th century and is still in working order (video below). Antoinette's mother, Empress Marie Theresa was presented with one of the most famous or infamous automata of the century, The Turk. This life-sized android could play chess against human opponents and was rarely defeated. Ben Franklin and Napoleon Bonaparte both lost to The Turk although I can only imagine one throwing a temper tantrum about it. However, as many suspected, The Turk was only a partial automaton and a human operator squeezed into the machine to act as the brains of the operation.
What is perhaps the most interesting about these 18th century androids is that although they could perform a task, their many purpose was to entertain. So much detail went into their creation. A scribing boy thoughtfully moves his eyes while writing a poem. An artist creates portraits in pencil and pauses to blow away the graphite dust. A silver swan drifts through glittering water, preens itself then catches a fish. It is easy to imagine a full room of silken courtiers gasping in awe at the robotics and yet those surviving automata on display in museums seem to have the same effect on contemporary viewers. Their entertainment value is timeless, see for yourself:
The Silver Swan of Bowes Museum
Automata of Pierre Jaquet-Droz(Trailer en francais)