The Robot Clocks of 12th-Century Turkey | Atlas Obscura

Al Jazari was not only an exceptional engineer and inventor, but also an incredibly talented illustrator. The elephant clock is perhaps his most famous invention. (Photo: Public Domain/Wikipedia Commons)

During his 70 years on Earth, Turkish scholar and inventor Al-Jazari built an impressive range of robots, clocks, and robot clocks. What’s even more impressive is that he created the bulk of them during the 12th century.

Al-Jazari (1136-1206), whose full name was Al-Shaykh Ra’is al-A`mal Badi`al-Zaman Abu al-‘Izz ibn Isma`il ibn al-Razzaz al-Jazari, worked as the chief engineer at Artuklu Palace, headquarters of the Artuqid dynasty that ruled over parts of Turkey, Syria and Iraq in the 11th and 12th centuries. During his time there, he invented a large number of devices that revolutionized mechanical engineering: everything from a mechanical waitress who served drinks to a group of robot musicians who played their instruments on a lake in the palace to entertain guests.

While these inventions may seem trivial today, their contribution to…

Source: The Robot Clocks of 12th-Century Turkey | Atlas Obscura

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