Psycho, the whist playing automaton: 19th century
© Museum of London
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Psycho, the whist playing automaton. J N Maskelyne constructed this automaton, named 'Psycho', in the guise of an oriental magician. He played thousands of performances at the Egyptian Hall in Piccadilly. According to 'The Times', 'Psycho could spell words with lettered cards, answer mathematical problems, perform conjuring tricks, and smoke cigarettes incessantly. His most famous feat was playing whist or nap with members of the audience - games which he played honestly and by no means always won. He was a sufficient celebrity to be the subject of a 'Punch' cartoon.' Part of Psycho was removed before he was donated to the Museum and no-one has figured out how he was capable of such amazing exploits.
1873 AD - 1874 AD