Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Antique wall-mounted automaton by the French maker Tharin

Antique wall-mounted automaton

This wall-mounted automaton by the French maker Tharin is currently for sale on eBay. The automaton figures are hand-painted paper and depict a nineteenth century lady and gentleman at a well.

It's hard to tell from the photo shown here, but the well emits a stream of "water" which is really a rod of glass that has been twisted into a spiral shape. When set it motion, it creates a it creates a convincing effect. The eBay listing has a close up shot of this often-used mechanical illusion.

From the eBay description:

The music box plays two tunes while the automaton picture has 6 moving parts. The ladies head moves up and down, the gentleman's head and hand move, the dog and horses head move up and down to drink water. There is also a special piece in the center, a turning glass cane that makes the simulation of water. All the mechanical parts are intact and original. The music box plays for half a minute.

Mechanism of wall-mounted automaton

I am always amazed at how delicate and spidery the works are for these old wall-mounted paper automata. Somehow that assemblage of tangled wires and thin strings continue to run after 100 (and sometimes 200 or 300) years. The eBay listing has some wonderful shots of the mechanism as seen from the back.

The automaton has an integrated music box which plays two tunes. These are changed by pulling on a dedicated string. The piece measures 15 1/2" x 18 3/4" inches.

Here is where you can see this Antique wall-mounted automaton by the French maker Tharin.

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