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An automaton (also: android) is a self-moving mechanism. Especially in the 18th century watch automatons were developed. In addition to the indication of time they presented moving figures, often in connection with repetitions (musical signals at a given time period).

The Swiss watchmaker Pierre Jaquet-Droz, his son Henri-Louis, and Jean-Frédéric Leschot built the famous three automata the musician, the draughtsman and the writer.