Watches, Automatons, ‘Soul,’ And The Digesting Duck Of Jacques de Vaucanson

//Watches, Automatons, ‘Soul,’ And The Digesting Duck Of Jacques de Vaucanson

Watches, Automatons, ‘Soul,’ And The Digesting Duck Of Jacques de Vaucanson

People who prefer mechanical watches to quartz sometimes say it is because mechanical watches have “soul” and quartz ones do not. Most of them probably don’t know it, but in saying this, they’re part of a very long tradition of seeing something alive – sometimes, uncannily alive – in a machine, especially one that can operate autonomously. One of the most interesting aspects of the development of machines, and a way in which they’ve been used to explore the relationship between mechanics and life itself, is the history of their use to imitate human or other natural movements. Such machines – which often are closely related to watches and clocks, in that they’re usually driven by mainsprings – have a very long, very rich history.

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By | 2016-12-23T20:17:25+00:00 May 11th, 2016|Blog|0 Comments

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