Saturday, December 25, 2010

Joueuse de Tympanon, dulcimer-player automaton

Last week the Dark Roast Blog had a post about assorted automata, which included the piece shown here known as La Joueuse de Tympanon. This is one of those rare cases where the automaton figure actually plays the musical instrument -- eight songs on a hammer dulcimer in this case.  Equally impressive is the automaton's history. Created by German clockmaker Peter Kintzing it was owned by Marie Antoinette, and  restored  in 1864 by none other than the great Robert-Houdin!

The dulcimer player still works to this day and is housed at musée des arts et métiers in Paris.

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