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Got out in the nick of time
My father’s automaton
Not everyone appreciates such things
He’s far more your countryman than mine
The Secrets of the Automaton
We seem to have disrupted the board
We’ve saved you a seat!
I’ve got my work cut out for me
You don’t seem the showman type.
Four hundred dollars
This comes as quite a shock.
Figure it out for yourself.
I’m well, sir.
Would you care for a game of chess, captain?
Keep him as comfortable as you can
He seemed fine yesterday
Show starts in half an hour.
Where is everyone?
I thought we’d try Buenos Aires
Every last detail
An article I think you’ll find interesting
I can’t take another day of this.
I could get used to this
Señor Maelzel, may we speak with you a moment?
It’s the telling he gets right.
Never known you to miss a game, otherwise.
I will say nothing about it.
You’ll have to find someone else for tomorrow’s performance.
Don’t you think I don’t know the bargain I struck.
It’s not his story, it’s mine.
What did you think of my exhibition?
Since when did you become an abolitionist?
I wasn’t talking about her.
What may I do for you, son?
Chess clubs, thinning crowds
You’re arguably the best in the States.
I need more of a challenge
Every family needs its prodigal son
Let’s see if we taught you anything
They’re supposed to tumble
We should put the automaton away for a while
They’d rather believe the lie
Two hundred victories in a row
My offer stands
Now that we’ve dispensed with the pleasantries
I have an idea.
Have I been penitent long enough, milord?
It appears that I must attend to the machinery
New York has no reason to doubt Boston’s talent.
I like the way you think, Schlumberger
Think you’ll survive your new quarters?
It’d lose all its mystique.
He wouldn’t leave Paris for this mudhole
So this is von Kempelen’s machine?
You’ll never see another cent from me
You’re a better student.
The extra is for him, for his latest editorial
Where’s the Frenchwoman?
I believe this fulfills our business arrangement.
He has not.
In five moves the automaton won
I must swear you to secrecy
Then the clockworks do nothing at all
Magnets in the chesspieces
It’s just a big marionette
The director moves the automaton
Gives you time to work
There’s so much machinery in there
Now we can get down to business
First the machinery, then the game.
The automaton needs a new director.
I have a proposition for you.
He leaves all his debts behind him
It cannot be worth what you ask
Many arrows seeking the same target
A minor misunderstanding
It’s one room, sir.
Back then, they were merely superstitious
The automaton is full of surprises
You sir, our latecomer.
Fifteen percent per month
Your recent bouts of patriotic fervor
Nothing left but this infernal buzzing
I’m here to apologize, Ludwig
Forgive me for being so forward –
Does this breakthrough involve your chronometer?
By Johann Maelzel
It could be profitable for us both
A most extreme pleasure
Progress and parties
You should be glad I do not have you thrown out
I regret that I may not reveal its secrets
A most delightful toy
What shall you do now, Monsieur Turk?
How smart is it, really?
Come, my comrade
Is this some kind of joke, Maelzel?
I look forward to seeing your invention
Your Majesty enjoys the game of chess
If given the proper aids
I can’t risk alienating him
Makes no difference to an idealogue
I can’t very well dress The Turk without its turban
I had to know the secret of its function
Join me for a cup of tea
Non Omnis Moriar
You wish to purchase my father’s chess player
His Imperial Majesty has hereby rejected your petition
The chance to tour the world again
A more permanent retirement
Court won’t be the same without you
I must look forward to my own legacy
The machine tends to be a bit uncanny
It still has much room for improvement
You must be here to see the speaking machine
In the fireplace, preferably
On the Road
Certainly observant, isn’t he?
I shall endeavor to have this foreigner revealed
The only life I’ve been able to show her.
I want to be an inventor, too.
I’ll not have my daughter getting involved
Could I learn to direct the automaton?
We are guests here
Never been so fatigued by a game before
Congratulations, Monsieur Philidor
Won’t allow anyone to look inside that box
Do make sure it’s up to the fight.
As you know, I am no magician
The habit of not being discouraged
Not merely an idle amusement
Three may keep a secret if two are dead
All that parading around naked
Everyone is caught up in its spell
A True Joueur d’Échecs
Useful fellow, von Kempelen.
An Ambassador for the Empire
Seven Weeks at Court
A Toast to the Automaton
Meet the von Kempelens
Because it took up too much of the gentleman’s time
How strange a thing
Sixteen Scotsmen on the Landing
I think not.
More genuine pursuits
The automaton begs to differ
All Clergymen and White Horses
Pay no attention to what’s inside the box…
An illegal move
Automaton’s first move
A few simple rules
May I have a volunteer?
Beneath the robes
Up close and personal
Interior of the Cabinet
By an unseen hand
The very illusion of life
At Schönbrunn Palace
To think it still works after all these years
Something al-Jazari might have built
I thought The Turk was lost at sea
The Elephant Clock
It still has much room for improvement
Thursday 30 Jun 2011 |
The model you see here is actually von Kempelen's third attempt at building a speech synthesizer. As Joseph mentions, the first wasn't much more than a bagpipe reed and a kitchen bellows, and the second was more like an organ, with an individual pipe and key for each phoneme. The third design was an attempt to more closely emulate the human mouth, nose and throat, and was one of the first machines to successfully do so.
However rude it may appear on first glance, this final design is incredibly clever; you can see how it works in this
interactive flash site from the Kempelen Farkas Speech Research Laboratory in Budapest. The Institute of Media Archeology in Austria also has their own replica, and their site offers sound and video clips. Here's one more replica for good measure.
Von Kempelen usually made it pronounce words and short phrases in Latin, Italian, or French rather than German, because the machine had difficulty with harsh consonants. Despite twenty years of work and continual adjustments to improve its inflection and pitch control, its voice remained very crude (and rather creepy). Still, it was an amazing effort for one man, and
von Kempelen's contributions to the field are still noted today.
Speech simulation has taken quite a different turn these days -- scientists have largely given up on replicating human speech through physical means because it's just too difficult. Instead, research facilities have turned to creating
huge libraries of individual sounds in sentence context.
The original speaking machine
still exists, and can be viewed by the public in the Musical Instruments section of the The Deutsches Museum in Munich.