Sunday, March 6, 2011

AUTOMATON ( Au-tom-a-ton)

A very large signing bird in a brass cage. Made in France around 1845-1860. Key wond, bird head  moves and he sings like a song bird.

The birds were metal with the workings inside and then covered with real feathers.
   I wanted to do a beautiful post today, about my very small collection of Automatons. I wish I had a lot more, but, the price and my income has held me back. Being simi-retired, I get to buy very few  new, old,  treasures these days, but I am so very thankful that I have so many wonderful and beautiful things all around me, in My Old Historic House. My camera hates me today. I have tried everything. I even thought about throwing it in the Mississippi River out side my door. But I think the real problem is me, the operator. Some times the pictures are just really good, but today, that ain't the case.  So please forgive the pictures, I will try and do better next time.
    The word Automaton means self operating machine. It is pronounced, au-tom-a-ton. The word could be used to descripe a robot. Automaton is the latinization of the Greek word,"auroyatou", meaning, acting on ones own will. It is most often today used to discripe non-electric moving machines.
    18th century makers included Frenchman,Pieree Jaquet-Droz and Swissman Henri Maillardet. Belgin born John Joseph Merlin made an Automaton that was capable of drawing 4 pictures and writing 3 poems. It is now in a museum in Philadelphia.
   The King of Prussia ,1745-1786, was obsessed with Automatons and he put together his armies as a well oiled clockwork  mercranism whose components were robot like warriors.
The bird is made to sign with a bellows and the movement is done with a music box like  workings.

This is how the Victorians entertained there guest before TV and Radio.

This is a French doll Automaton made by the Lambert company. latter part of the 1800's. She is a peasant girl selling flowers.

Her hands move up and down and her head also, Notice she has pierced ears.

The box she stands on holds all the mecanics and it is covered in hand marbled paper. She has  a key to wind in the back under her train.

I got her in  New York when there was money in the world. She is Freanch and made by Roullet Co.She plays the mandolin and moves her head side to side and up and down. Her hands also go up and down.

I found this tall dome at an antique mall, so I bought it to protect her and keep her clean.

Here you can see her ear rings
     1860-1910,  is known as the Golden Age of Automatons. During this period many small family based companies of Automaton makers thrived in Paris, where   from workshops they exported thousands of clockwork automaton and mechanical signing birds. It is those Automatons that are collected today, althogh now rare and expensive they attract collectors worldwide.
   If I could win the Lottery, will not happen, as I do not buy tickets, I would go mad all over the world and buy up Automatons. They can sell for over $10,000.00 and have to be handled with care. It is very hard to find some one that can repair them today. I had a really large brass bird cage with 6 birds and it had a floor stand.  I paid 4 figures for it. I messed it up and I  gave it to this clock person to work on. That was 4 years ago. I have turned him into the police, better business, and brought suit against him. Now he is no where to be found.  Come to find out he had a way about getting the best stuff to work on and then he just is no where to be found. He was brought to court for another case the other day. Mine is still pending. I believe he is in jail, but where my birds are, is another thing. Maybe I should have thrown him in the river. So be careful before you trust them to some one you do not know.
   If you have any, I would love to see them,so please share. I rarely ever see one for sale in my part of the world.