Von Neumann replicators, also known as "von Neumann machines" and "clanking replicators", are non-biological matter printers capable of creating a copy of themselves out of raw materials.[1]

In the Long Earth series, the Silver Beetles were von Neumann replicators.


In real life, the theory of these machines is named after John von Neumann, the first person to seriously study the idea of non-biological self-replicators. He first suggested the idea in the late 1940's, although it was first introduced by Samuel Butler in 1863.[1]


  1. 1.0 1.1 Drexler, K. Eric (1986), "Engines of Abundance (Chapter 4) Clanking Replicators", Engines of Creation,
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