Wolfgang von Kempelen - A Biography

Over the centuries, much has been written about Wolfgang von Kempelen, the inventor of the speaking machine, and author of Mechanism Of Human Speech (1791) on philology, linguistic technology and phonetics. This book illuminates the life of this very eccentric thinker, his achievements, and even his legendary reputation. Very little was known about his other achievements and the rest of his life. The subject addressed by most was and is what is commonly referred to as the the Turk (a chess-playing automaton) which for years has stimulated and still stimulates the fantasy of anyone who sees it. Where studies on von Kempelen have in the past been based on speculation and tall tales, for the first time a complete and exact survey on the facts and dates of Kempelen's life are given. The research for this book concentrated on the facts which were found mainly in the archives in Vienna, Budapest, Bratislava among other institutions.