Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Mechanical Automata House handmade between 1890 and 1930 now on eBay

 Check out this amazing automaton house now available on eBay!

From the eBay listing:
Mechanical Automata House: handmade between 1890 and 1930, this rare mechanical house displays a tableau of a working estate. A cart pulled by a goat rides in a track around the perimeter. People work various jobs outside and on the balcony, animals frolic and the waterwheel rotates in the center. Powered by a hand crank it is possible this machine was clockwork driven and still contains a mainspring that may have snapped. Evidence of an original clockwork mechanism exists in the form of an on/off switch, brass gearing and a ratchet and pawl.

The vintage lithographed cutouts are applied to thin wood backing. Some are damaged by age and wear. Although we do not know the exact origin of this house it appears to have been made at the turn of the century. It is possible this is a limited edition toy or a one of a kind folk art tableau made from Victorian paper cutouts. Many parts of the house are hand carved. The origin of the house is unclear. It could be from Europe or the US. The condition of the figures in very good and the lithos contain most of their original color. There are a few things to replace, a few things to repair and depending of the buyer things to restore. There is a wooden stair missing, no harness for the goat, an arm needs replacing. Chickens need some maintenance to get them moving, the clock movement needs fixing, friction in the machine needs to be eliminated. The mechanicals need work but the belts and string pulleys are in good shape.

Here is where you can see the listing for the Mechanical Automata House

Monday, September 26, 2016

Roger Daltrey of The Who to sell his automata at auction in Edinburgh

The BBC website reports that Roger Daltrey of The Who will be selling his collection of rare automata. Daltrey and his wife have acquired seven sophisticated 19th Century French automata over several years.

The collection will be sold at Lyon and Turnbull's fine furniture and works of art auction on 28 September and may bring as much as £50,000, about $65,000 USD.

Here is the Lyon and Turnbull auction web site where you can learn more about the upcoming sale

[ Thanks Steve! ]

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Sunday, August 21, 2016

Etch-a-Sketch dissection - what makes this classic mechanical toy work?

Here is a rather long, but very informative video showing a machinist opening up and analyzing the inside of the classic Etch-a-Sketch toy. He rambles a bit which I sort of enjoy. In any case, he's very knowledgeable about machines. The toy is also a small engineering marvel.

If this video has made you miss your own childhood toy, here is where you can get a new Etch-a-Sketch. Or...perhaps you want to take it apart now?

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