Nov. 18 (UPI) -- Walking figurines, intricate clocks and scientific instruments dating back hundreds of years will soon go on display at New York City's Metropolitan Museum of Art.
The exhibit, titled "Making Marvels: Science & Splendor at the Courts of Europe," will feature about 170 objects from museum collections and 50 private lenders. Many of the exhibits have never before been shown in the United States.
The gear-powered masterpieces still work centuries after they were created -- including "The Draughtsman Writer," an automaton dating back to 1774 that inspired the book The Invention of Hugo Cabret and a film adaptation. The human-looking automaton can dip its hand in ink and write on paper. Created nearly two centuries before the first computer, it stored more information than anything that preceded it, the museum says.
Royal families assembled vast collections of technological marvels during the Renaissance and early Baroque periods.
"The widespread and emotional commitment to machines and gadgets in the royal courts of Europe in the 16th through 18th century encouraged men of talent to put their energies into building the new devices for production, transportation and communication, which are among the most distinctive features of modern life," said exhibition curator Wolfram Koeppe.
Met director Max Hollein said the fascination with technology today was no different during the Renaissance and Baroque periods.
"These families' feelings echo those of princely patrons in centuries past who desired to possess and display the most marvelous artistic creations and inventions, made of the most precious and unusual materials and incorporating the newest scientified information," he said.
Also on display will be the 41-carat Dresden Green, the world's largest flawless natural green diamond.
The exhibit opens Nov. 25.