Wolfgang von Kempelen
|Wolfgang von Kempelen|
|Born||Johann Wolfgang Ritter von Kempelen de Pázmánd
23 January 1734
Pressburg, Kingdom of Hungary, Habsburg Empire (now Bratislava, Slovakia)
|Died||26 March 1804
Vienna, Habsburg Empire (now Austria)
|Known for||The Turk|
Von Kempelen was born in Pressburg , Habsburg Empire (now Bratislava, Slovakia). The Kempelen family settled in Pressburg in 1640. He is supposed to have been of Irish ancestry, but the name Kempelen itself is Hungarian. Kempelen's father, of noble ancestry, was Engelbert Kempelen (1680–1761). Kempelen's mother was Ágnes Mohai.
Von Kempelen studied law and philosophy in his birthplace, and then in Győr, Vienna and Rome, but mathematics and physics also interested him. He spoke German, Hungarian, Latin, French, Italian, and later also English. He started to work as a clerk in Vienna.
The Turk and other inventions 
Von Kempelen was most famous for his construction of The Turk, a chess-playing automaton It was described in an essay by Edgar Allan Poe, "Maelzel's Chess Player". He also created a manually operated speaking machine.
He constructed steam-engines, waterpumps, a pontoon bridge in Pressburg (1770), patented a steam turbine for mills (1788/89) and a typewriter for the blind Viennese pianist Maria Theresia von Paradis (1772), and built a theatre house in Buda (inaugurated October 25, 1790) (now Budapest) and the famous fountains at Schönbrunn in Vienna. The reconstruction of the demolished Buda castle was also partly led by von Kempelen. He was also a talented drawer, etcher and wrote poems and epigrams. He composed a singspiel, Andromeda and Perseus, performed in Vienna.
He was married twice, and had five children from the second marriage, of whom two survived into adulthood. He died poor because the Austrian emperor withdrew[when?] his economic support. Von Kempelen died in Vienna. The Wolfgang von Kempelen Computing Science History Prize was named in his honor.
- Albert Allis Hopkins, Henry Ridgely Evans (1901). Magic: stage illusions and scientific diversions, including trick photography. Munn & Co.,. p. 370. Retrieved 2009-05-06.
- Von Kempelen's Chess Turk recreated
- Flanagan, James L., "Speech Analysis, Synthesis and Perception", Springer-Verlag, 1965, pp. 166-167.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to: Johann Wolfgang von Kempelen|
- Angéla Imre: On the personality of Wolfgang von Kempelen, in: Grazer Linguistische Studien 63 (2004), pp. 61–64
- Wolfgang von Kempelen on the Web
- Wolfgang von Kempelen's speaking machine and its successors
- The Chess-playing Turk