In his own time, Manfredo Settala (1600-1680) of Milan was called the Archimedes of his age. He had an insatiable scientific curiosity and became, among other accomplishments, a famed naturalist and maker of scientific instruments. This automaton is sometimes attributed to him. Historian Jonathan Sawday writes that it:
[...] took the form of a grotesque painted wooden devil, whose mechanism was activated by the weight of the unsuspecting visitor to Settala's collections. The creature was capable of emitting terrifying shrieks while its eyes, tongue, and head jerked to mechanical life.