Ajeeb

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Photo of "Ajeeb the Wonderful", 1886
An advertisement for an exhibition of Ajeeb, including an illustration of its appearance. Ajeeb was an imitation of the Turk.

Ajeeb was a chess-playing "automaton", created by Charles Hooper (a cabinet maker),[1] first presented at the Royal Polytechnical Institute in 1868. A particularly intriguing piece of faux mechanical technology (while presented as entirely automated, it in fact concealed a strong human chess player inside), it drew scores of thousands of spectators to its games, the opponents for which included Harry Houdini, Theodore Roosevelt, and O. Henry.

The genius behind "Ajeeb" were players such as Harry Nelson Pillsbury (1898–1904),[1] Albert Beauregard Hodges, Constant Ferdinand Burille,[2] Charles Moehle, and Charles Francis Barker.

In the history of such devices, it succeeded "The Turk" and preceded "Mephisto".[3][4]

After several spectacular demonstrations at Coney Island, New York, Ajeeb was destroyed in a fire in 1929.[citation needed]

Ajeeb is an Urdu word meaning strange or unexplainable. In Arabic ajeeb means something very unique and beautiful.

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