Request a free site audit

Need help with your digital news operation?

Life news: I got a dog


Elsewhere on the Web

Ben Franklin & the Mechanical Turk

The discovered serendipity of history fascinates me to no end. Like seeing Ben Franklin pop up in the Wikipedia entry for the Turk (known as frequently now as the “Mechanical Turk”, thanks Jeff).

I did some light research and found a letter BF received from the Turk’s inventor, Wolfgang von Kempelen, while Philly’s best man was there trying to negotiate the Treaty of Paris.

Screen Shot 2016-10-10 at 11.53.07 AM

Here’s how Google Translates it. Have a better one? I’d love to see it.

If I have warned you rather my return from Versailles, and renew my request to attend a representation of my chess-playing automaton, it was only to gain a few days, which were necessary to advance me a another very interesting machine that I have the book, and I wish to see you at the same time. So have Mr. goodness for me to name the day and time in which to I-rai have the honor to have you home. My home is a hotel Aligre series of Orleans St Honorè. I have the honor to be with the Respect and esteem the perfect Mr. três your humble and obedient servant três

I wasn’t able to find a direct source confirming that Franklin accepted the invite, and the Wikipedia reference isn’t cited. Point me there if you know the way!

Update: This book by Gerald Levitt seems to have the reference.



Did you enjoy this post?

Signup to receive a weekly email containing my new posts, curated links, and book reviews.

Thank you for subscribing.

Something went wrong.


Follow me on Twitter

The past, present, and future of making the WordPress Editor work for editors

Presented originally in 2017 at WordCamp Baltimore and adapted for this weekend’s WordCamp Lancaster.


The people you meet at WordCamp

Last weekend I presented at WordCamp Lancaster and had a great time. When I did this last time, I wrote about driving route 30 (the historic Lincoln Highway), but this year I wanted to spotlight a few other attendees, as it’s the people that make WordCamp worth attending. And really, it’s the people that make WordPress and other open source communities so special.


Send this to a friend