The mind boggling furniture of Abraham and David Roentgen – Pt. 2

While the desks and tables are well known among cabinetmakers, another product they made seems to be overlooked. Roentgen and clockmaker Peter Kinzing also made a couple of instruments. The most famous is this automaton, made for Marie Antoinette. It’s known as “La Joueuse de Tympanon” (The Dulcimer Player). It plays 8 different tunes

And the second one, where we get a glimpse of the inner workings…

The TurkThe TurkAutomatons like these were very fashionable in the late 18th and early 19th century. There even was a famous chess playing automaton, named “The Turk” that was said to be a sort of chess computer, made by Nepomuk van Kempelen. But it wasn’t the technological high note everybody thought it was; there was a very small chess player hidden inside the machine. Who operated the doll by means of levers. The fraud went on for years and they travelled around Europe. Even Napoleon played against him… and lost…

The Piano

It is less known that this duo also made a little square piano or “hammerklavier”.

A second lecture from the Met, about how the Roentgen writing tables and secretaires were used. How the word “secretaire” and “secretary” actually are derived from keeping secrets…

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