Monday, November 04, 2013

Antique bubble-blowing polar bear automaton

Polar bear automaton

The good folks at Douglas Fisher Antique Automata just posted this amazing piece by Roullet & Decamps dating to around 1905. This is one of the best antique automata I've seen in quite a long time!

From the Douglas Fisher web site:

When bubble mixture present in chalice and automaton wound by the key and bayonet start/stop rod actuated, the polar bear turns his head to the left as his right hand holding bubble hoop scoops up mixture from the chalice held in left hand and lifts hoop in front of face, pausing for a moment then suddenly blowing to exude a stream of many bubbles which blow around the room. He then quickly turns his head to the left and opens his mouth to clearly reflect on the fun of the action, scooping more liquid for the next of many bubbles blown in repeating sequence again and again.

The bear has a clever movement within torso which animates the arm, head, and mouth. It also contains a bellows which provides the air needed for the bear to blow the bubbles. As with many automata of this era, the body is made papier-mâché covered in real fur. It figure stands 17 inches high, has glass eyes, and carved wood teeth.

Here is where you can learn more about this antique bubble-blowing polar bear automaton.

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