The Kid Should See This

Mechanical singing bird box automata of the 1700s and 1800s

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While googling about mechanical inventions like Mark Galt’s walking mechanical humans, I happened upon this lovely 1890 piece of restored gears and springs, with the original bellows: a singing bird mechanism. From Colossal:

“It’s believed the machine was built 120 years ago in Paris by Blaise Bontems, a well-known maker of bird automata and was recently refurbished by Michael Start over at The House of Automata.”

singing bird music box
Singing bird boxes were extremely popular in Europe starting from the 18th century, first as a toy for a privileged few and then later as a more affordable item.

Watch this video from The British Clockmaker Ray Bates to see how the bird fit in with the box’s innerworkings:


And below, find an HD video of a singing bird box made by Pierre Jaquet-Droz and Jean-Frédéric Leschot, Switzerland, circa 1785:

singing bird music box HD

Watch more automata videos on TKSST, including:
• The Writer, a drawing machine automaton by Pierre Jaquet-Droz
• Hand cranked mechanical singing birds by Bliss Kolb
• The Silver Swan, an 18th century automaton at the Bowes Museum
• The Peacock Clock at The State Hermitage Museum

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