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These were intricately designed, self-operating figures that were included in most of the world’s largest barrel organs during the 17th through the 19th centuries. Each automata was assigned a specific instrument to play. The great artist and scientist Leonardo da Vinci actually sketched a complex automata in 1495, however this design was not discovered until the 1950s. The late 1800s is considered to be “golden age of automata,” with numerous family-based companies thriving in Paris, France. More recently, such figures have been called automatons or robots.

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