1877 – “Zoe” the Drawing Automaton – John Nevil Maskelyne (British)
My initiial intention with this posting was to show "Zoe" as an example of an early Anthropomorphic mechanical master-slave manipulator as well as being a drawing machine. What is presented are some images and illustrations of John Nevil Maskelyne's "Zoe", and an operational description of what could be "Zoe", but nevertheless a contemporary suggestion of how a drawing automaton of this type works and could be constructed. All the information present is available in the public domain, which is where I obtained it.
The key description and construction notes comes from the book "More Exclusive Magical Secrets" by Will Goldston, 1912. As Zoe was first shown by Maskelyne and Cooke in 1877, the publication is some 35 years after Zoe's introduction.
See also the Toy Artist here.
More Zoe info:
Zoe would draw the likeness of any person chosen by the spectators from a list of 200 names, such as Darwin, Disraeli, Lord Beaconsfield, Mr. Gladstone, and a score of other characters .
Other images I have come across of Zoe.
I'd say that looks like Darwin.
I'm not familiar enough with significant people of the time to know whose picture is shown above.
The above images show a stencil like quality about them, hinting that the method describe above is most likely how the drawing is 'traced' from a pre-cut stencil-like template.
One of Zoe's routines she could write down numbers – see Cartoon below.
Here is a later patent of a similar idea:
Inventor: FRANK N. REEVES See full patent here.
Patent number: 817092
Filing date: Jan 20, 1906
Issue date: Apr 3, 1906