Check out this Cool Ancient Robot – Tipu’s Tiger

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Tipu’s Tiger or Tippoo’s Tiger is an 18th century automaton or mechanical toy created for Tipu Sultan, the ruler of the Kingdom of Mysore in India.

Overview of an ancient robot Tipu's tiger

Table of Contents

The wealthiest humans of century’s past didn’t have car companies or space programs to play with. So, they needed to find other ways to entertain themselves.

For a man named Tipu Sultan that meant having French engineers build him a roaring mechanical tiger which appears to be eating someone. Oh Boy!

Who Was Tipu Sultan?

Image of Tipu Sultan ruler of Mysore india

Tipu Sultan was the egocentric ruler of the Kingdom of Mysore in India during the 18th century. He was commonly referred to as the Tiger of Mysore and adopted the tiger as the symbol of his rule. Which is known to us peasants as a spirit animal. I guess if your going to have a spirit animal, you can’t go wrong with a tiger.

Why was he called Tiger of Mysore?

Close up of an ancient robot Tipu's tiger

Supposedly Tipu Sultan was hunting in the forest with a friend. As one does, when one is in need of an awesome backstory, he came face to face with a tiger.

As fate would have it, his gun would not fire and his dagger tumbled to the ground. In an instant, the beast pounced upon his stoic frame. Fearlessly reaching for the blade with an outstretched arm, barely able to caress it’s fine silver handle with his royal fingertips. Staring into the eyes of the ferocious feline he realized he’d taken his final breath.

The tiger threw it’s head back, unleashed a rage filled roar and with lightning speed lunged for the throat of it’s prey. Only to be met with the gleaming blade of Tipu’s dagger, piercing it’s hate fueled heart, killing the beast instantly. Ending it’s reign of terror and cementing Tipu Sultan as “The Tiger of Mysore.”

I admit, I added a word or two for dramatic effect. I’m positive, when Tipu told the story, it sounded something like my version. Either way, he killed a tiger with a dagger and it earned him the nickname “The Tiger of Mysore”.

Tipu’s Tiger

Close up 2 of an ancient robot Tipu's tiger

The carved and painted wood casing represents a tiger savaging a near life-size European man. Today, it is on display in the Victoria and Albert Museum, London.

Mechanisms inside the tiger and man’s bodies make one hand of the man move, emit a wailing sound from his mouth and grunts from the tiger. In addition a flap on the side of the tiger folds down to reveal the keyboard of a small pipe organ with 18 notes.

Video of the Tiger

Click on the video below to hear the sounds of Tipu’s Tiger

In Conclusion

To our spoiled eyes and ears Tipu’s Tiger seems, to say it nicely, lackluster. However, if you were unlucky enough to have lived a few hundred years ago, this would have been an amazing machine to see.

The tiger was once cutting edge technology and while we may look at it and say, meh. It was ahead of it’s time and a step in the evolution towards the world we live in.

Hey, don’t you think your friends and family would enjoy learning about Tipu’s Tiger? No? Share it anyway! Who cares what they want!

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