Archive for the automata Category

Wintergatan Marble Machine

Posted in automata, craft, music, music video with tags , , , on March 21, 2016 by shewalkssoftly

Are you ready to have your mind blown by the most insanely elaborate handmade musical apparatus you’ve ever seen? Seriously…don’t miss this video.

According to the source:

The machine, made by Martin Molin, uses an elaborate marble track system to create a sophisticated song. There are some 2000 marbles raised by a tracked elevator which is powered by some vigorous hand cranking. As they descend, the marbles strike the right parts of a glockenspiel, percussion instruments, and bass guitar. A lever system allows the operator/musician to turn selected instruments on and off. This allows the machine to be played in a way that goes beyond simply turning the crank and allowing the programmed track to run.

The Harp-Playing Pig Automaton

Posted in absurd, anthropomorphic, antiques, automata, creatures with tags , , , , on March 13, 2016 by shewalkssoftly

Jackson’s International Auctions had a listing for this rare 19th Century French automaton of a pig playing a harp.

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This dapper swine music box moves his arms over the harp strings via a clockwork key windup.

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He stands just over thirteen inches tall and sold for $2,160.00.

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See the listing here.

Desktop Goodies 7/25

Posted in absurd, automata, Books, ephemera, humor, monsters, vintage with tags , , , , , , , on July 25, 2014 by shewalkssoftly

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.

This is real!
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I’ve seen fortune teller automata before, but never Puss in Boots. He sees straight into your soul. It burns.
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Take a moment to really absorb and digest this book. This may be one of the most horribly absurd things I’ve seen, and that’s saying something.
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I love this headstone. If I am interred, I hope I get a lot of reading done down there.
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Famous monster candle making? Sign me up!
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Need I comment on this? I think not.
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Where’s the bumper sticker that says MY OTHER CAR IS A FLOWER COVERED CARRIAGE STEERED BY A GIANT DEER HEAD?
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Dr. Coffins wonders why his private practice attracts very few patients.
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Talk about a niche market!
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Best caption ever.
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In closing, we must all ask ourselves…
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Ellen Rixford

Posted in automata, craft, puppets, sculpture with tags , , , on July 23, 2014 by shewalkssoftly

Ellen Rixford creates mixed media puppets, sculptures and automata that are fun, beautiful, imaginative and full of character.

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One of my favorites in her portfolio:
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I haven’t seen many artists do cloth portraits of this type, but I think it works!
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Ellen Rixford

Japanese “Karakuri”

Posted in antiques, automata, japan with tags , , on July 14, 2014 by shewalkssoftly

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:

From Wiki:
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.

Phalibois Fishing Monkey Automaton

Posted in antiques, automata with tags , on June 24, 2014 by shewalkssoftly

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).
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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.

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Phalibois Fishing Monkey Automaton

Creeping Baby Doll 1871

Posted in antiques, automata, dolls with tags , , on April 1, 2014 by shewalkssoftly

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.

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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.

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I wonder how many of these clumsily creeping wonders were mass produced. Two decades later, the world was graced with Edison’s Talking Doll.

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