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Androids in the EnlightenmentMechanics, Artisans, and Cultures of the Self$
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Adelheid Voskuhl

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780226034027

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: September 2013

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226034331.001.0001

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The Dulcimer-Playing Android; or, Furniture-Making in the Rhineland

The Dulcimer-Playing Android; or, Furniture-Making in the Rhineland

(p.86) Three The Dulcimer-Playing Android; or, Furniture-Making in the Rhineland
Androids in the Enlightenment

Adelheid Voskuhl

University of Chicago Press

This chapter takes the journey down the Rhine to the furniture manufacture of Abraham and David Roentgen in Neuwied, about seventy miles south of Cologne. David Roentgen became the most distinguished and sought-after furniture-maker of his time, and his manufacture was the biggest and most productive of its kind in the entire Holy Roman Empire. His success, like that of the Jaquet-Droz clock-making workshop in Switzerland, had its roots in a society in which early industrialization and the court culture's continuing need for luxury commodities coincided. Roentgen's dulcimer player exemplifies the multifaceted social, spiritual, and political circumstances in the second half of the eighteenth century that facilitated the production of an android automaton.

Keywords:   David Roentgen, android automaton, dulcimer player, furniture manufacture, furniture-maker, industrialization, court culture, luxury commodities

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