You probably knew that the Catholic Church has long made sacred statues and figurines of important people of the faith. But did you know that the Catholic Church used to make sacred ROBOTS?
You can see one from the 16th century in action in the video below (the machine still works!). The Smithsonian currently has this priceless treasure. Blackbird journal has more on the item’s background:
Tradition attributes his manufacture to one Juanelo Turriano, mechanician to [16th century Holy Roman] Emperor Charles V. The story is told that the emperor’s son King Philip II, praying at the bedside of a dying son of his own, promised a miracle for a miracle, if his child be spared. And when the child did indeed recover, Philip kept his bargain by having Turriano construct a miniature penitent homunculus. […]
In the history of European clock technology, the monk is an early and very rare example of a self-acting automaton, one whose mechanism is wholly contained and hidden within its body.