Tuesday, July 08, 2014

Exacting reproduction of the extremely rare Mills Verbal Fortune Teller machine for sale

Larry Bieza wrote to give an update on an automaton fortune teller project his team has been working on. Their recreation of three Mills Verbal Fortune tellers from the turn-of-the-century is complete. The video above tells you all about the machine and the process of reproducing it.

Bieza and his team studied the original extensively to create this faithful reproduction.

The fortune teller's voice comes from two independent cylinder players -- just like on the original. These play six inch long cylindrical records with a mechanism that allows them to play one fortune at a time. The fortunes themselves were created from the original surviving Mills Novelty cylinder.

The video includes many interior shots of this extraordinary build. No expense was spared in the making of these reproductions. Measuring about 8 feet tall and weighting in at some 300 pounds, details include quarter-sawn oak, red silk, period playing cards, hand-strung silver plated beads, spun brass ornaments, flat-key locks, and knob-and-tube wiring.

Production of the original coin operated machines was probably less then 100. Only one is known to exist. Back in 2011, the magician David Copperfield offered to buy the one remaining original for a reported $2,000,000. Unlike the one remaining original, the reproductions are fully functional, making them just as rare. This is the last of three reproductions for sale.

Should you wish to purchase this remarkable reproduction, drop me a line using my contact form or send an email to coinoplibrary [at]comcast [dot] net and tell them you heard about it from The Automata Blog.

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Saturday, July 05, 2014

Christmas Copter automaton by Ron Varga

Here's a clever concept for an automaton -- this one created by Ron Varga. The remote-control helicopter flies around the top of the Christmas, each time barely missing the boy who ducks just in time.

Here is where you can find more information about Christmas Copter automaton by Ron Varga.

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Thursday, July 03, 2014

Summer projects: Build your own wooden ornithopter kinetic model

Take a look at the cool wooden ornithoper kit! The model is based on an invention found in one of
Leonardo's notebook's

Turning the hand-crank sets in motion the gears and linkages that operates the wings, legs and arms of the pilot. It's a pretty big model, measuring 17" by 24" by 12".  The wooden construction kit uses a pegged gear train -- a lantern pinion and contrate pin wheel. This component alone would make this a model worth examing closely!

Here is where you can get the  wooden ornithopter model.

For the advanced Leonardo fanatic:
Leonardo's Machines: Da Vinci's Inventions Revealed
From Leonardo da Vinci's descriptions and drawings - and by using digital imaging - armoured ships, hydraulic machinery, winches and machines destined for use in war, work and pleasure emerge fully equipped and functional in stunning 3-dimensional, computer-generated artworks. A fascinating in-depth discussion of da Vinci's work and inventions accompanies these illustrations, revealing at the same time the incredible journey the authors of this book travelled whilst compiling it.

Here's is where you can find books on Leonardo's inventions.

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