Jacques Vaucanson was born in the French town of Grenoble in 1709. Vaucanson grew up poor and was the tenth child of a glove-maker.
In 1728 Vaucanson decided to leave the monastery to devote himself to his mechanical interests, and departed to Paris, where he remained until 1731.
In 1737 Vaucanson completed The Flute Player. The Flute Player was a life-size figure of a shepherd. It played the transverse flute and had a repertoire of twelve songs. The tunes were played on a real instrument.
The Digesting Duck was also referred to as the mechanical duck or the clockwork duck. It is considered his masterpiece. The Digesting Duck was made of gilded copper and had over 400 moving parts.