History Mesh

Al-Jazari (12th Century)

Abū al-'Iz Ibn Ismā'īl ibn al-Razāz al-Jazarī (1136-1206) was a prominent Muslim polymath: a scholar, inventor, mechanical engineer, craftsman, artist, mathematician and astronomer from Al-Jazira, Mesopotamia, who lived during the Islamic Golden Age (Middle Ages). He is best known for writing the Kitáb fí ma’rifat al-hiyal al-handasiyya (Book of Knowledge of Ingenious Mechanical Devices) in 1206, where he described fifty mechanical devices along with instructions on how to construct them.

Relation to Automatons:

If you went to a royal party at the Artuklu Palace in the early 12th century, you might hope to see a performance by Al-Jazari’s musical robot band, which floated in a small boat on the lake for the amusement of guests — perhaps while drinking tea served by a robotic waitress, although you’d have to wait seven minutes between each cup served.

Much like the inventors before him, al-Jazari had a whole range of inventions and contraptions; as well as some more entertaining inventions, like automated moving peacocks, he also made many practical inventions, such as machines for raising water and a variety of clocks.

Read more about Al-Jazari on Wikipedia.