By DAMIEN GAYLE
We usually think of robots as an achievement of the modern era.
But this remarkable machine is proof that the resourceful inventors of the 19th Century had the technology to create their own automata.
Not only that, its remarkable gold and diamond-studded design shows they had the imagination to create them with far more style than our functional modern versions.
Thought to date back as far as 1820, this incredible pre-electronic mechanical robot was made by Swiss watchmaker Henri Maillardet for sale to aristocratic Chinese buyers.
The rare gold, enamel, jewel and pearl-set automaton mimics the gracious undulating caterpillar's crawl with a clockwork powered mechanism which drives a pair of gilt-metal knurled wheels.
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