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DE VAUCANSON, Jacques

Educated at the Jesuit College of Grenoble, Vaucanson developed a liking for machinery at an early age, first in Lyon and later in Paris. In 1738 he constructed an automaton, “The Flute Player,” followed the next year by “The Tambourine Player” and “The Duck.” The last was especially noteworthy, not only imitating the motions of a live duck, but also the motions of drinking, eating, and “digesting…