The Mechanical Turk: A Chess-Playing Automaton with a Hidden Secret

TLDR The Mechanical Turk, a chess-playing automaton, amazed audiences for over 80 years with its ability to play chess and answer questions. However, it was eventually revealed that there was a person hidden inside the cabinet controlling its movements.

Timestamped Summary

00:00 The Mechanical Turk was a mechanical device created by a Hungarian engineer that convinced people for over 80 years that it could play chess.
01:37 Kempelen created a wooden mannequin that could play chess and amazed the Empress and everyone at court with its complex inner workings.
02:58 Kempelen's automaton chess player, known as the mechanical turk, amazed audiences with its ability to play chess and answer simple questions, sparking debates about how it worked.
04:16 After being retired for several years, the mechanical turk was rebuilt by Kempelen and went on a successful tour throughout Europe, playing chess against notable figures such as François-André Filador and Benjamin Franklin.
05:32 The mechanical turk was eventually returned to Vienna, where it sat unused until it was acquired by Johann Metzl, who figured out its secrets and made it work for himself, leading to notable chess matches with Napoleon Bonaparte and performances for the viceroy of Italy.
06:49 The mechanical turk was taken to the United States where it performed in New York and Boston, traveled throughout the country, and eventually ended up in a Philadelphia museum where it was destroyed in a fire in 1854, and it was revealed that the secret to the trick was that there was a person inside the cabinet controlling the movements.
08:13 The people inside the cabinet of the mechanical turk were usually expert chess players, including Johann Baptiste Algierre, Jacques-François Moret, William Schlumberger, Aaron Alexander, and William Lewis, and the turk's most famous opponent was Charles Babbage, who lost to it twice.
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