324
324
Knauss, Friedrich von (1724-1789)
SELBSTSCHREIBENDE WUNDERMASCHINEN, AUCH MEHR ANDERE KUNST- UND MEISTERSTÜCKE. VIENNA: FOR THE AUTHOR BY SCHULZ-GASTHEIM, 1780
Estimate
1,5002,000
LOT SOLD. 4,000 GBP
JUMP TO LOT
324
Knauss, Friedrich von (1724-1789)
SELBSTSCHREIBENDE WUNDERMASCHINEN, AUCH MEHR ANDERE KUNST- UND MEISTERSTÜCKE. VIENNA: FOR THE AUTHOR BY SCHULZ-GASTHEIM, 1780
Estimate
1,5002,000
LOT SOLD. 4,000 GBP
JUMP TO LOT

Details & Cataloguing

The Erwin Tomash Library on the History of Computing

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London

Knauss, Friedrich von (1724-1789)
SELBSTSCHREIBENDE WUNDERMASCHINEN, AUCH MEHR ANDERE KUNST- UND MEISTERSTÜCKE. VIENNA: FOR THE AUTHOR BY SCHULZ-GASTHEIM, 1780
FIRST EDITION, 4to (215 x 153mm.), engraved portrait frontispiece (by Mansfeld) and 10 plates (9 folding), errata at end, woodcut ornaments, uncut, early nineteenth-century half calf gilt, some dust-marking to edges
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Provenance

bought from Helmut Schumann, Zurich, 1986

Literature

Tomash & Williams K53; Peter R. Frank & Johannes Frimmel, Buchwesen in Wien 1750-1850 (Wiesbaden, 2008), pp.179-180; VD18 10612114

Catalogue Note

Knauss was a watchmaker and inventor of automata, including a clockwork musician that played a simple flageolet, and some sets of talking heads. Here the author describes and illustrates several automatic writing machines, designed to replicate handwritten pages simultaneously with the creation of the original, using pens and ink. Knauss's contraptions foreshadow the "Polygraph" machine that Thomas Jefferson used extensively from 1804, to produce copies of his signature. A later mechanical development is the "Autopen", used by Harry Truman, Kennedy and other American presidents (and celebrities); this reproduces a signature from a matrix originally created by the signer, but without the signer being present. Throughout the nineteenth century office-clerks used a completely different wet-transfer process to create retained copies of outgoing correspondence.

The Erwin Tomash Library on the History of Computing

|
London