Engraving of The Turk Engraving of The Turk
1789
Courtesy of the Library Company of Philadelphia
L062302012

In 1770, Hungarian inventor Wolfgang von Kempelen created a chess-playing automaton called The Turk whose human-like playing qualities amazed audiences across Europe and America. Some observers guessed the secret that was a mystery for most of its career: the source of its playing strength was a human chess player hidden inside.