32 episodes

I Can't Believe That Happened, a children's podcast every week full of interesting moments in History.
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I Can't Believe That Happened History Podcast for Kids Monica Michelle

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    • 4.5 • 26 Ratings

I Can't Believe That Happened, a children's podcast every week full of interesting moments in History.
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    History of Robots: Jaques de Vaucanson :Pooping Robot Duck & the Flute Playing Automaton

    History of Robots: Jaques de Vaucanson :Pooping Robot Duck & the Flute Playing Automaton

    Jaques de Vaucanson

    Early Life:

    Jaques de Vaucanson was born in Grenoble, France in 1709 
    10th child to a poor family of glove makers
    Jaques wanted to become a clock maker as a child. His mother being very religious took Jaques to church with her. While she was in confession Jaques would watch the clock until he memorized its’ mechanisms to such perfection he was able to recreate it at home.
    When Jaques father died when he was seven he was sent to live and train with the Jesuits. It was a difficult place for Jaques and he did poorly unable to concentrate on lessons. He was even punished for having cogs and wheels to create a boat in his possessions. There was a stand off with the priests where he refused to learn until a teacher would help him make a boat that could cross the pond. After being punished a math teacher and monk decided to help Jaques.
     Later he became reacquainted with his love of mechanics after meeting the surgeon Claude-Nicolas Le Cat this is where his love of anatomy came from that will feature in his work.
    At 18 he had his first automaton workshop in Lyon in 1727. Jaques created a robot that would serve the dinner and clear the table. Instead of being impressed one of the politicians found the robot to be an insult to the natural order and demanded the workshop to be destroyed.
    This era was the time of the robots. They were all the rage in the royal courts though were often classified as toys or games.
    Jaques was also greatly admired by the famous minds of his time. Voltaire even called him a "new Prometheus". 


    The Flute Player
    The flute player while a marvel was Jaques first steps into creating not just a robot that would perform tasks but a robot that could imitate life. In 1737 the flute player was made as a life size Shepard that could play 12 songs.
    It is said that the flute player came to him in a fevered dream during a four month illness.
    Vaucanson had been told by a musician that the most difficult instrument to play and tune was a flute. The challenge was set and he decided to make an automaton that would not just mimic playing but would actually play the most difficult instrument.
    This is what made the flute player unique in a court full of interesting automata was that the machine was playing the music as if it were alive using fashioned lungs that created the breath, fingers that moved, and a mouth that created the shapes need to make the music. The robot was playing the flute in an approximation of how a human would. He also created a tambourine player and a pipe and drum player based on the same principles.

    The Digesting Duck:

    When attendance and money fell of from his musicians in 1739, Jaques turned to something entirely new, the digesting Duck.
    “…it was the same size as a living duck. It could drink, muddle the water with its beak, quack, rise and settle back on its legs and, spectators were amazed to see, it swallowed food with a quick, realistic gulping action in its flexible neck.” Gaby Wood
    It is important to say the duck would grab pellets from the hands of visitors, gulp the food down a tube where the pellets would be “digested” in the duck’s stomach and then the duck would poop out the food. The entire food cycle in a robot duck all to the hilarity and enraptured crowd of France.


    This Eighteenth-Century Robot Actually Used Breathing to Play the Flute
    By Kat Eschner
    FEBRUARY 24, 2017
     Living Dolls: A Magical History Of The Quest For Mechanical Life by Gaby Wood The Gaurdia

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    • 13 min
    The History of Robots: Leonardo Da Vinci: Robot Knight, Self-Driving Cart, and Robot Lions:

    The History of Robots: Leonardo Da Vinci: Robot Knight, Self-Driving Cart, and Robot Lions:

    Please Hit That Subscribe & Like. Remember, sharing is caring.
    Leonardo DaVinci’s Robots History Podcast for Kids. Robot Lion, first self-driving cart, and robot lion all from the 1400’s! Share and press like.
    Early Life: 1452- 1519 born into a challenging circumstance in Florence, Italy, but was given an apprenticeship at a painter's studio. Fishing reference.

    Leonardo’s Mechanical Knight: 
    The knight’s existence was discovered in 1957 by historian Carlo Pedretti.
    Designed 1495 wearing German-Italian armor. According to records, it is believed the knight was built and at a celebration for Duke Ludovico Sforza in the court of Milan.
    The knight worked via gear and pulley.
    2002 the knight was rebuilt by robotics expert Mark Rosheim.
    The knight went on to NASA helping in designing the planetary exploration robots.

    Robotic Cart: 1478 the design was based on clock works with the power coming from wound up springs to regulate the cart’s drive mechanism. The direction or steering could be programmed with pegs put in round holes which would guide the carts directions to move at specific times. The drawing were found in the early 1900’s by Girolamo Calvi who dubbed the cart “Leonardo’s Fiat.”
    In 2004 a working replica was made in Florence at 1:3 scale.
    Take a look at these and then look up the Mars Land Rover.
    Recreations and Applications to Current Robotics: 
    Da Vinci Lions:According to records he built two automated lions for the French King Louis XII in 1509. It is said that one could rear up on their hind legs and present lilies (the flower of France). The second was a gift to Francois I when he visited, you guessed it Lyons (a city in France) in 1515. The King was so impressed with his new mechanical pet he offered Leonardo a permanent home in the French court.
    Unlike the cart and the knight, we have far more records of the lions. Michelangelo wrote on the second lion’s abilities and design.
    The lion was powered by a key capable of 10 steps before needing to be turned again. 
    In 2019 the lion was remade for The Italian Culture Institute in Paris. The lion was 10 feet long and 7 feet tall.

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    • 11 min
    The History of Robots: Al Jazari Brilliant Inventor: A History Podcast for Kids and Curious Adults

    The History of Robots: Al Jazari Brilliant Inventor: A History Podcast for Kids and Curious Adults

    Name: Badīʿ az-Zaman Abu l-ʿIzz ibn Ismāʿīl ibn ar-Razāz al-Jazarī
    Early Life :
    Born 1136 CE
    Born in Upper Mesopotamia. Like his father, he served as chief engineer at Artuklu Palace. His book: The Book of knowledge of Ingenious Mechanical Devices includes all we know of al- Jazari's life and only includes inventions he created himself.
    Wrote: The Book of Knowledge of Ingenious Mechanical Device descriptions of over fifty mechanical devices with instructions on how to build them. His book was so important because he wrote it with full instructions, not keeping any trade secrets, a DIY book.
    Famous Inventions:
    The camshaft: this invention is what truly makes something a programmable computer. These are not seen again in Europe until a few centuries later. While we will focus on his Automata he did invent ways to bring water up without electricity.
    Automata: Moving peacock driven by hydropower.
    Musical Robot Band: Remember the can system? Robotic musicians would float on the lake playing music according to which can was put in place. Why the lake? Water power or hydraulic power.
    Elephant clock
    Castle clock: 11 feet high displayed zodiac, solar, and lunar orbits. The clock had five robot musicians 2 falcons that would drop balls into buses
    Best Website
    to view the book and an easy breakdown for teachers and homeschoolers https://aljazaribook.com/en/
    Ben Kingsley describes Al-Jazari's Elephant Clock (1001 Inventions)[FILM] 1001 Inventions and the Library of Secrets - starring Sir Ben Kingsley (English Version)Al-Jazari: The Mechanical Genius
    by Salim Al-Hassani

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    • 12 min
    The History of Robots: Hero of Alexandria: History Podcast for Kids and Curious Adults

    The History of Robots: Hero of Alexandria: History Podcast for Kids and Curious Adults

    Lived: 1st century writing between 60-70 AD. 
    Was a student of Ctesibius a man believed to be the head of the Museum of Alexandria. It is thought he was a teacher and lecturer there as well. Historians believe this since his writings appear to be lecture notes. He was also inspired by Inspired by Philo of Byzantium (3 centuries before wrote about the use of trapped and compressed air)
    The museum was described to be a school that taught through experimenting and doing as well as by lecture. “Unusual blend of pure science with engineering . . . [and] applied technology . . . [where] much can be discovered through experiment.”
    Wrote: Automata, the Pneumatica, the Dioptra, the Catoprica and the Mechanical
    Hero used these techniques and expanded on them using water, steam, a need for the inventions, and a sense of humor.
    From amusing tabletops (Hercules stands with a bow on the ground is an apple in front is a tree with a servant. If one lifts the apple Hercules draws his arrow and servant begins to hiss.)
    In his treatise on pneumatics Hero outlines various birds that could move and sing according to which species they were be changing the pressure of air or water or the length of the tube. One of my favorites is the fountain surrounded by songbirds that would trill until an automaton owl would turn and notice them into still silence.
    Hero also created a programmable cart that was powered by a falling weight. The ability for the cart to be programmed was created by strings wrapped around the driving axel. Pay attention to the rest of the book and see how many inventors use this invention as a starting point.
    Hero is credited with the first robot which was used in his mechanical theatre. A theatre that ran a ten-minute play where actors, scenery, and sound were all mechanical and powered by gears and pullies. 
    “Using pegs projecting from the axle, Heron could vary how the rope was wound around the axle, allowing the robot to change direction and move along a pre-programmed course. This primitive mechanism is very similar to a modern binary computer language; old fashioned punch cards operated on exactly the same principle.
    Heron used the same system of ropes, cylindrical axles and knots to create a mechanical play of almost 10 minutes in length, including dropping metal balls onto a sheet of metal to resemble thunder.” Heron's Inventions, Martyn Shuttleworth

    Hero is credited with creating the world’s first: 
    Automatic Door Opener: 
    vending machine
    Steam engine: Described by NASA as a "rocket-like device," Hero's steam engine (called an aeolipile) was essentially:
    A hollow sphere that can rotate about an axis passing through antipodal points, because of steam flowing out through two bend pipes placed at its equator.
    In case you would like to build your own
    Hero gave detailed instructions on how to build one:
    Place a cauldron over a fire: a ball shall revolve on a pivot. A fire is lighted under a cauldron . . . containing water, and covered at the mouth by the lid . . . with this the bent tube . . . communicates, the extremity of the tube being fitted into the hollow ball. . . . Opposite to the extremity . . . place a pivot . . . resting on the lid . .. and let the ball contain two bent pipes, communicating with it at the opposite extremities of a diameter, and bent in opposite directions, the bends being at right angles . . . . As the cauldron gets hot it will be found that the steam, entering the ball . . . passes out through the bent tubes towards the lid, and causes the ball to revolve.
    Mechanical Puppet Theatre: Animated figures acted out a series of dramatic events, including the repair of Ajax's ship by nymphs wielding hammers, the Greek fleet sailing the seas accompanied by leaping dolphins, and the final destruction of Ajax by a lightning bolt hurled at him by the goddess Athena.
    Fire Engine: describ

    • 9 min
    The First Drone: Robot History: History Podcast For Kids and Curious Adults

    The First Drone: Robot History: History Podcast For Kids and Curious Adults

    Archytas of Terentum First Drone
    mathematician, political leader (elected seven times), and philosopher
    Alive and active during the time of Plato. We know this because he sent a ship to rescue Plato from Syracuse. (not the city → this guy).
    We only have four fragments of Archytas' work. We mostly rely on writings that took place fifty years after his death to piece together his life.
    350 B. C.
    The first self-propelled flying device
    Wooden mechanical dove capable of flapping wings and flying
    200 Meters using compressed air and steam.
    These are second-hand reports and many believe pulleys and counterweights were used since the first wind up bird was not invented until a few hundred years later by Hero of Alexandria who will talk about next week-This is only a theory since all records of the event state that-the bird actually flew but with no drawings of the workings of the dove we have to take guesses. Until a clever person or child recreates this original drone using materials and techniques of the times to see what was possible.


    A Brief History of Robot Birds

    The early Greeks and Renaissance artists had birds on their brains By Jimmy Stamp


    MAY 22, 2013

    Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy


    First published Thu Jun 26, 2003; substantive revision Tue Aug 23, 2016

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    • 7 min
    Elizabeth Jennings The Woman Who Started Desegregation of New York Transportation System

    Elizabeth Jennings The Woman Who Started Desegregation of New York Transportation System

    Today I want to talk about Elizabeth Jennings her story is about the importance of challenging systems
    A special thank you to Mo Rocca and his show Mobituaries for bringing Elizabeth Jennings to my attention and patching up a massive hole in my US. history education.
    Elizabeth Jennings-Grahm Born free in 1827 to a freeborn father and a mother who was born into slavery. Her father Thomas L. Jennings was the first black patent holder in 1821 for developing a new clothes Cleaning method. He was able to purchase his wife's freedom though under the abolition law of 1799 She remained an indentured servant until 1827. Elizabeth grew up with well politically-active parents. Elizabeth grew up to become a school teacher at New York African Free School-and was the organist at her church.
    During the 1850's the 'bus' was a horse-drawn wagon. These were not run by the city but by private companies that felt that they could refuse passengers or assign seating based on race. The rule was segregated carts or if no person objected then they could ride.
    On July 16, 1854 Jennings was running late for service at church. Elizabeth and her friend Sarah Adams got on the trolley and was ordered off. She refused bravely holding window sashes and then the conductors' coat as she was thrown off. She jumped back on the train only to be forcibly removed by a police officer.
    Her father took donations at church to sue the transportation company Third Avenue Railroad Company. Fredrick Douglas wrote about her case in his paper. The future president of the United States was her lawyer, Chester A Arthur. This is almost exactly one hundred years before Rosa Parks. with a jury of all white men, they ruled in favor of Elizabeth awarding her $250 about $8,000 today. She had asked for $500. Judge William Rockwell added 10 percent plus legal costs. This made the railway companies desegregate and began a ten-year process to full desegregation in 1865 of the New York public transportation system.
    Elizabeth continued teaching for thirty-five years. She did go on to start and operate one of the first kindergartens for black children out of her home in her later years. She died on June 5 1901.
    For a woman who used her bravery and her use of disobedience to challenge a corrupt system why have so many not heard her name? Thanks to a group of third and fourth graders from P. S. 361 lobbied in 2007 to name the street corner "Elizabeth Jennings Place" In 2019 Chirlane McCray announced a statue at Grand Central. please see our show notes for details or how you might help.

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    • 11 min

Customer Reviews

4.5 out of 5
26 Ratings

26 Ratings

CDuehly ,

Love the history!

We enjoy these as a family, they are fantastic for road trips!

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Like Stuff You Missed in History -- for KIDS!

We love this podcast! Great historic context with kid friendly topics!!

devadaleous ,

Always room to improve

I mean it’s a little annoying but my daughter and son love it! The facts are very kid friendly (my favorite is the pug topic) so over all good job👍🏻 Γεια

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