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A brief history of automata: Reading Answers & PDF

IELTS General Test – Passage 04: A brief history of automata reading answers explanation, location and pdf. This reading paragraph has been taken from our huge collection of Academic & General Training (GT) Reading practice test PDF’s.

A brief history of automata

An automation is a machine, usually made to resemble a person or animal, that operates on its own, once it has been started. Although few are constructed nowadays, they have a history stretching back well over two thousand years. Several myths show that the ancient Greeks were interested in the creation of automata. In one, Hephaestus, the god of all mechanical arts, was reputed to have made two female statues of pure gold which assisted him and accompanied him wherever he went. As well as giving automata a place in mythology, the Greeks almost certainly created some. These were probably activated by levers and powered by human action, although there are descriptions of steam and water being used as sources of power. Automata were sometimes intended as toys, or as tools for demonstrating basic scientific principles.

Other ancient cultures, too, seem to have developed automata. In Egypt, Ctesibius experimented with air pressure and pneumatic principles. One of his creations was a singing blackbird powered by water. A Chinese text of the third century BC describes a life-size, human-shaped figure that could walk rapidly, move its head up and down, sing and wink its eye.

Much later, Arab engineers of the ninth and thirteenth centuries wrote detailed treatises on how to build programmable musical fountains, mechanical servants, and elaborate clocks. A ninth-century ruler in Baghdad had a silver and gold tree with metal birds that sang. The art of creating automata developed considerably during the fifteenth century, linked with improvements in clock making: the mechanisms of automata and clocks had a great deal in common. Some truly remarkable automata were produced at this time. Muller was reputed to have made an artificial eagle which flew to greet the Emperor on his entry into Nuremberg, Germany, in 1470, then returned to perch on top of a city gate and, by stretching its wings and bowing, saluted the emperor on his arrival. Leonardo da Vinci made a lion in honour of the king of France, which advanced towards him, stopped, opened its chest with a claw and pointed to the French coat of arms.

Automata were normally very expensive toys for the very rich. They were made for royal or aristocratic patrons, to be viewed only by themselves and selected guests – who were expected to be impressed by their wealth. Automata were also created for public show, however, and many appeared on clock towers, such as me one in Bern, Switzerland, built in 1530.

During the eighteenth century, some watchmakers made automata to contribute to the progress of medicine and the natural sciences, particularly to investigate the mechanical laws governing the structure and movement of living things. Many of their creations simulated almost perfectly the complex structure of human beings and animals. Maillardet made extensive use of gearing and cogs to produce automata of horses, worked by turning a handle. Vaucanson produced a duck made of gilded copper which ate, drank and quacked like a real duck. He also made a life-size Female flute player. Air passes through the complex mechanism, causing the lips and fingers of the player to move naturally on the flute, opening and closing holes on it. This automation had a repertoire of twelve tunes.

In another well—known piece, Merlin’s silver swan made in 1773, the swan sits in a stream consisting of glass rods where small silver fish are swimming. When the clockwork is wound, a music box plays and the glass rods rotate, giving the impression of a flowing stream. The swan turns its head from side to side. lt soon notices the fish and bends down to catch and. eat one, then raises its head to the upright position. The mechanism still works.

One of the most skilled makers of automata was the Swiss watchmaker jaquet-Droz. He produced three automata which, even today, are considered wonders of science and mechanical engineering. One of these, The Writer, simulates a boy sitting at a desk, dipping his pen into the ink and writing perfectly legibly.

Another Stunning creation of the eighteenth century was the Mechanical Theatre in the grounds of Austria’s Hellbrunn Palace, home of the Archbishop of Salzburg. Designed by the miner Rosenegger, and completed in 1752, this depicts the nobility’s idea of a perfect society, with every class in its proper place. The figures inside a palace depict eighteenth- century court life, while industrious activity is carried on in and around this building. A total of 141 mobile and 52 immobile little figures demonstrate all manner of trades of the period: building workers bring materials to the foreman, who drinks; butchers slaughter an ox; a barber shaves a man. A dancing bear performs, guards march past the palace, a farmer pushes an old woman in a wheelbarrow over the road. The theatre shows great skill in clock making and water technology, consisting of hidden waterwheels, copper wiring and cogwheels.

During the nineteenth century, mass production techniques meant that automata could be made cheaply and easily, and they became toys for children rather than an expensive adult amusement. Between 1860 and 1910, small family businesses in Paris made thousands of clockwork automata and mechanical singing birds and exported them around the world. However, the twentieth century saw traditional forms of automata fall out of favour.

Questions 28-30

Complete the summary below.
Choose ONE WORD ONLY from the text for each answer.
Write your answers in boxes 28-30 on your answer sheet.

Automata and the ancient Greeks

The ancient Greeks had a number of 28 ……………………………………concerning automata. According to one, the god Hephaestus created two assistants made of gold. The Greeks probably also created real automata; it seems most likely that the mechanism which controlled them consisted of 29 …………………………which were worked by human operators. Some automata were designed to be 30……………………………………… with an educational purpose.

Questions 31-35

Look at the following descriptions (Questions 31-35) and the list of people below.
Match each statement with the correct person, A-G
Write the correct letter, A-G, in boxes 31-35 on your answer sheet

List of Descriptions
31. created an automation that represented a bird in water interacting with its surroundings
32. created an automation that performed on a musical instrument
33. produced documents about how to create automata
34. created automata which required a human being to operate the mechanism
35. used air and water power

List of People
A Ctesibius
B Arab engineers
C Da Vinci
D Maillardet
E Vaucanson
F Merlin
G Jaquet-Droz

Questions 36-40

Complete the sentences below.
Choose ONE WORD ONLY from the text for each answer.
Write your answers in boxes 36~40 on your answer sheet.

36. The Mechanical Theatre shows court life inside a ………………………………………..
37. In the Mechanical Theatre, building workers, butchers and a barber represent various ……………………….. of the time.
38. ……………………………….. provides the power that operates the Mechanical Theatre.
39. New ………………………….. that developed in the nineteenth century reduced the cost of the production of automata.
40. During the nineteenth century, most automata were intended for use by…………………………………

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Answers/Explanation

Check out A brief history of automata reading answers below:

28. MYTHS

29. LEVERS

30. TOOLS

31. F

32. E

33. B

34. D

35. A

36. PALACE

37. TRADE

38. WATER

39. TECHNIQUES

40. CHILDREN

Wondering how the answers are chosen?? Then, read A brief history of automata reading answers explained below:

SUMMARY COMPLETION

QuestionAnswer Explanation
The ancient Greeks had a number of 28 ……………………………………concerning automata.Underline keywords: ancient Greeks, a number of, concerning automata, god Hephaestus, created, two assistants, gold

In Paragraph 1, in lines 3-6, the author describes, ____Several myths show that the ancient Greeks were interested in the creation of automata. In one, Hephaestus, the god of all mechanical arts, was reputed to have made two female statues of pure gold which assisted him and accompanied him wherever he went____.”
   
In this text, several means that ➙ a number of
&
interested in the creation of automata means that ➙ concerning automata

Hence, the answer is going to be: myths
The Greeks probably also created real automata; it seems most likely that the mechanism which controlled them consisted of 29 …………………………which were worked by human operators.Underline keywords: Greeks, probably, also created, real automata, most likely, mechanism, controlled them, consisted of, human operators   
In Paragraph 1, in lines 6-8, the author describes, “___As well as giving automata a place in mythology, the Greek almost certainly created some. There were probably activated by levers and powered by human action, although there are descriptions of steam and water being used as sources of power____.”

In this text, the Greek almost certainly created some means that ➙ The Greeks probably also created real automata
&
activated by means that ➙ controlled them
&
powered by human action means that ➙ worked by human operators

Hence, the answer is going to be: levers
Some automata were designed to be 30……………………………………… with an educational purpose.Underline keywords: some automata, designed to be, with, educational purpose

In Paragraph 1, looking at the ending lines, the author says, “____ Automata were sometimes intended as toys, or as tools for demonstrating basic scientific principles____.”

In this text, intended means that ➙ designed to be
&
for demonstrating basic scientific principles means that ➙ with an educational purpose

Hence, the answer is going to be: tools

MATCH THE FOLLOWING

QuestionAnswer Explanation
31. created an automation that represented a bird in water interacting with its surroundingsUnderline keywords: created, automation, represented, bird in water, interacting with, surroundings

In paragraph 6, carefully look at, “___In another well-known piece, Merlin’s sliver swan made in 1773, the swan sits in a stream consisting of glass rods where small silver fish are swimming. When the clockwork is wound, a music box plays and the glass rods rotate, giving the impression of a flowing stream. The swan turns its head from side to side. It soon notices the fish and bends down to catch and eat one, then raises its head to the upright position. The mechanism still works.____”

In this text, sliver swan ___ sits in a stream means that ➙ a bird in water

Hence, the answer is going to be: Merlin (F) 
32. created an automation that performed on a musical instrumentUnderline keywords: created, automation, performed on, musical instrument

In paragraph 5, in lines 6-9, the author says “____ Vaucanson produced a duck made of gilded copper which ate, drank and quacked like a real duck. He also made a life-size female flute player. Air passes through the complex mechanism, causing the lips and fingers of the player to move naturally on the flute, opening and closing holes on it. This automation had a repertoire of twelve tunes.____”

In this text, female flute player means that ➙ automation that performed on a musical instrument,

Hence, the answer is going to be: Vaucanson (E)
33. produced documents about how to create automataUnderline keywords: produced documents, how to create, automata

In paragraph 3, read the starting lines, “Much later, Arab engineers of the ninth and thirteenth centuries wrote detailed treatises on how to build programmable musical fountains, mechanical servants, and elaborate clocks_____.”

In this text, wrote detailed treatises means that ➙ produced documents
&
how to build programmable musical fountains, mechanical servants, and elaborate clocks means that ➙ how to create automata

Hence, the answer is going to be: Arab engineers (B)
34. created automata which required a human being to operate the mechanismUnderline keywords: created automata, required, human being, operate, mechanism  

In paragraph 5, in lines 4-6, the author describes “_____ Maillardet made extensive use of gearing and cogs to produce automata of horses, worked by turning a handle_____.”

In this text, produce automata means that ➙ created automata
&
worked by turning a handle means that ➙ required a human being to operate the mechanism

Hence, the answer is going to be: Maillardet (D)
35. used air and water powerKeywords for this answer: used, air and water power  

In the paragraph 2, in lines 1-3, the author pointed out, “ ___In Egypt, Ctesibius experimented with air pressure and pneumatic principles. One of his creations was a singing blackbird powered by water_____.”

In this text, with air pressure & powered by water means that ➙ used air and water power

Hence, the answer is going to be: Ctesibius (A) 

SENTENCE COMPLETION

QuestionAnswer Explanation
36. The Mechanical Theatre shows court life inside a ………………………………………..
Underline keywords: The Mechanical Theatre, shows, court life, inside  

In the paragraph 8, the author explains, “____The figures inside a palace depict eighteenth-century court life ____”

Hence, the answer is going to be: palace
37. In the Mechanical Theatre, building workers, butchers and a barber represent various ……………………….. of the time.
Underline keywords: the Mechanical Theatre, building workers, represent, various, of the time

In paragraph 8, carefully look at lines 5-8, the author says, “____ A total of 141 mobile and 52 immobile little figures demonstrate all manner of trades of the periodbuilding workers bring materials to the foreman, who drinks; butchers slaughter an ox; a barber shaves a man____.”

In this text, demonstrate all manner of means that ➙ represent various

Hence, the answer is going to be: trades    
38. ……………………………….. provides the power that operates the Mechanical Theatre.
Underline keywords: provides, the power, operates, the Mechanical Theatre

In paragraph 8, the author describes, “_____ The theatre shows great skill in clock making and water technology, consisting of hidden waterwheels, copper wiring and cogwheels.____”  

In this text, hidden waterwheels, copper wiring and cogwheels means that ➙ the theatre was run by water power.

Hence, the answer is going to be: water
39. New ………………………….. that developed in the nineteenth century reduced the cost of the production of automata.
Keywords for this question: new, developed, nineteenth century, reduced, cost of the production, automata
     
In the beginning of the last paragraph, the writer explains, “During the nineteenth centurymass production techniques meant that automata could be made cheaply and easily____.”

In this text, mass production techniques means that ➙  new techniques that developed
&
automata could be made cheaply means that ➙ reduced the cost of the production of automata

Hence, the answer is going to be: techniques  
40. During the nineteenth century, most automata were intended for use by…………………………………Underline keywords: during, nineteenth century, most automata, intended for, use by

Look at the lines 1-3 of the last paragraph, “During the nineteenth century, mass production techniques meant that automata could be made cheaply and easily, and they became toys for children rather than an expensive adult amusement_____.”

In this text, they became toys for means that ➙ most automata were intended for use by

Hence, the answer is going to be: children  
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