The first automaton devices entered popular consciousness in the 17th century. The mechanical toy took off in the 18th century, along with automata such as an android flautist, which captured intellectual and popular interest (Tiffany, 2000). During the late 18th century, Henri Mallardet was one of the creators of automated writers and draftsmen for exhibition tours. By the nineteenth century, around 1800, Maillardet had built and displayed his Juvenile Artist automaton.
Maillardet also had a "Musical lady, who performs the majority of the functions of animal life, and plays sixteen various airs upon an organized piano-forte" (Macmichael, 1906).
His first shows were held in a house on Howland Street. By 1803 they had been relocated to the Great Room in Spring Gardens, Charing Cross. The Juvenile automaton, who wrote and drew, the musical lady, a rope dancer, and a Conjurer were all on display at the museum. Miniature automatons of an Ethiopian caterpillar, an Egyptian lizard, and a Siberian mouse were also on display. By 1812, he was also showing at the "Philipstal and Maillardet's Automatical Theatre" on Catherine Street in Covent Garden.
Because it was designed to look like a boy, the automaton was thought to be intelligent (Lauckner, 1994).
These automata undoubtedly influenced the experiments of the computer's forefathers, such as Charles Babbage and Ada Lovelace.