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Pierre Jaquet-Droz

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Pierre Jaquet-Droz
BornJuly 28, 1721
La Chaux-de-Fonds, Switzerland
DiedNovember 28, 1790 (age 69)
Biel, Switzerland

Pierre Jaquet-Droz (1721–1790) was a Swiss-born watchmaker of the late eighteenth century. He lived in Paris, London, and Geneva, where he designed and built animated dolls, or automata, to help his firm sell watches and mechanical birds. Pierre Jaquet-Droz is well-known as the founder of the Swiss Watch Industry.


The automata of Jaquet-Droz are also considered to be some of the finest examples of human mechanical problem solving. Three particularly complex, and still working and functional dolls are housed at the art and history museum in Neuchâtel, Switzerland, now known as the Jaquet-Droz automata. Built between 1768 and 1774, the musician, the draughtsman and the writer are considered to be among the remote ancestors of modern computers.[1]

In 1776, his Mechanical Exhibition opened at No. 6, in King Street, Covent-Garden, London, from 12 to 3 o'clock every morning and from 7 to 10 every evening, Sundays excepted.


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  • Die Zauberwelt, Vol. 7, No. 1, Januar 1901, Pierre Jaquet-Droz, page 2
  • Die Zauberwelt, Vol. 7, No. 2, Februar 1901, Henri Louis Jaquet-Droz, page 17
  • Die Zauberwelt, Vol. 7, No. 3, März 1901, Henri Louis Jaquet-Droz (cont.), page 33
  • Conjurers' Monthly Magazine, Vol. 1, No. 9, May 1907, Robert-Houdin's Proper Place in the History of Magic, by Harry Houdini, Real Inventors of Automata, page 281
  • The Sphinx, Vol. 19, No. 8, October 1920, The Romance of Automata, by Henry R. Evans, page 254
  • The Linking Ring, Vol. 52, No. 2, February 1972, Chronological History of The Writing and Drafting Automaton, page 116
  • Bio-bibliographisches Lexikon der Zauberkünstler Edition Volker Huber, April 2002, Jacquet-Droz, Pierre schweiz. Automatenkonstrukteur (*28.07.1721 La Chaux de Fonds; †28.11.1790 Biel), page 169