Wolfgang von Konigswinter

Wolfgang von Kempelen

Johann Wolfgang Ritter von Kempelen de Pázmánd (Kempelen Farkas; Ján Vlk Kempelen) (23 January 173426 March 1804) was a Hungarian author and inventor with Irish ancestors.


Kempelen was from Pressburg (Bratislava), Kingdom of Hungary (nowdays Slovakia). He studied law and philosophy in his birthtown, and then in Győr, in Vienna and in later Rome, but the mathematics and thy physics also interested him. He startedto work as a clerk in Vienna. He was most famous for his construction of The Turk, a chess-playing automaton later revealed to be a hoax. He also created a manually operated speaking machine, which was a genuine pioneering step in experimental phonetics.

Kempelen died in Vienna. The Wolfgang von Kempelen Prize for Computing Science History Prize was named in his honor.


  • Vajda Pál: Nagy magyar feltalálók. Bp., 1958.; Pap János: Kempelen Farkas.
  • Magyar tudóslexikon. Főszerk. Nagy Ferenc. Bp., 1997.
  • Homer Dudley and T.H. Tarnoczy. The Speaking Machine of Wolfgang von Kempelen. Journal of the Acoustical Society of America, March 1950, Volume 22, Issue 2, pp. 151–166.
  • Robert Löhr, "The Chess Machine" (Penguin Press, 2007) is a novel about Kempelen and his chess-playing hoax. Translated from the German by Anthea Bell.



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