I apologize if I’ve posted some of these before. I forgot to clean out my “desktop goodies” folder and I may be repeating myself (though I don’t think so). Either way, these treasures are worth seeing.
Archive for automata
This is one of the most skilled antique automata I’ve seen. Most have limbs that move, but this one actually carries out the task of drawing a bow and shooting an arrow! This particular masterpiece was made 200 years ago. Watch:
Karakuri puppets are traditional Japanese mechanized puppets or automata, originally made from the 17th century to 19th century. The word karakuri means “mechanisms” or “trick.” The dolls’ gestures provided a form of entertainment. Three main types of karakuri exist. Butai karakuri were used in theatre. Zashiki karakuri were small and used in homes. Dashi karakui were used in religious festivals, where the puppets were used to perform reenactments of traditional myths and legends.
Though I’ve come across many over time, I have never made a concerted effort to seek out automata by Henry Phalibois. After seeing this fishing monkey, I’m inspired to check out his entire viewable collection (they seem to be spread all over the internet without one definitive source).
When in motion, the monkey lifts his fishing rod up and down, puts his pipe to his moving lips (which are quite eerie!), turns his head to look at you, and the fish in the pond swim around.
In 1871 came one of the first automata to appear in the toy scene, patented by Robert J. Clay. You can find more about it here.
My favorite paragraph about the piece is the following:
Despite Clay’s belief that his toy would be very amusing, it had limited appeal for its target audience of little girls. It looks scary, weighs a lot and isn’t particularly interactive. It’s more of an exhibition piece than a cuddly toy, and once the mechanism broke (which happened often with the earlier models), its heaviness and hardness made it a dead weight rather than a doll that could be integrated into regular play.
I wonder how many of these clumsily creeping wonders were mass produced. Two decades later, the world was graced with Edison’s Talking Doll.
This is an incredible piece located in The House on the Rock; a…shall we say, quite unique…coin operated tableau made in 1870.
Cannot type/talk due to severe illness (all words courtesy of voice software or kind typing helpers)…I read and appreciate all comments…Apologies for not being able to respond.
What an interesting interactive installation…
From the website:
Please Smile is an exhibit involving five robotic skeleton arms that change their gestures depending on a viewer’s facial expressions. It consists of a microcontroller, a camera, a computer, five external power supplies, and five plastic skeleton arms, each with four motors. It incorporated elements from mechanical engineering, computer vision perception to serve artistic expression with a robot.
Audiences interact with “Please smile” in three different ways. When no human falls within the view of the camera, the five robotic skeleton arms choose the default position, which is bending their elbows and wrists near the wall. When a human steps within the view of the camera, the arms point at the human and follow his/her movements. Then when someone smiles in front of it, the five arms wave their hands. Through artwork such as “Please smile,” I would like to foster positive audience behaviors.
Too bad the picture is so small because there’s some cool stuff going on here. I tried to find other videos on youtube to no avail, and googled a bit. In my humble opinion, “Haunted House Automaton” should yield many more results.
Oh my goodness…this incredible automaton is up for auction.
When a coin is inserted: doors open and the room is lighted revealing four morticians and four poor souls on embalming tables, the morticians move as if busily at work on their grisly task and mourners standing outside bob their heads as if sobbing in grief.
From the item description:
“St. Dennistoun Mortuary” Coin-Operated Automaton, attributed to Leonard Lee, c. 1900, the mahogany cabinet and glazed viewing area displays a Greek Revival mortuary building with double doors and grieving mourners out front, when a coin is inserted, doors open and the room is lighted revealing four morticians and four poor souls on embalming tables, the morticians move as if busily at work on their grisly task and mourners standing outside bob their heads as if sobbing in grief, ht. 30 1/2, wd. 24, dp. 17 1/4 in.
[EDIT] The fine folks at Skinner Inc. were kind enough to post this video in the comments. Check it out in action!
I’ve had the artwork from Christmas With Colonel Sanders saved for a few years now. I was quite surprised that I hadn’t posted it before.
As a special treat I uploaded Christmas Day With Colonel Sanders here! Enjoy these extra crispy tunes.
…I never did get my hands on one of those awesomely absurd KFC Buckets for Breast Cancer.