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The Kid Should See This

Hand cranked mechanical singing birds by Bliss Kolb

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This hand-cranked mechanical bird sings from a small leather bellows that whistles in two notes. A cam presses a lever that changes the pitch while other cams pull on strings that animate the bird’s six movements as it sings. This hand carved automaton was created by Seattle-based designer and builder Bliss Kolb. He creates them from wood, brass, steel, and milkpaint. See two more of his pieces below:

The Chirping Bird is a simpler version of the Singing Bird. When cranked, the Bird’s tail flips as it stands up, its throat moving as it chirps. The sound is produced by miniature bellows that blow air through a small brass whistle.

The Crow has the feel of an early american toy. When cranked, the Crow stands up, raises his head and caws twice. The bellows blow air through a wooden “crow call”.

Kolb’s birds come from a long tradition of singing automata birds. Watch this next: Mechanical singing bird box automata of the 1700s.

Plus: Paul Spooner’s Curious Contraptions, The Dulcimer Player, Mekanikos vs. The Minotaur, and Haruki Nakamura’s surprising paper karakuri animals.

h/t The Automata / Automaton Group.

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