Wednesday, December 09, 2009

Realistic dachshund clockwork automaton

Made in Paris around 1900 by Roullet & Decamps, this is a life-sized paper-mâché automaton dog. The clockwork mechanism housed inside the dog's body makes it nod its head and open and shut his mouth -- as if panting -- for about 20 minutes.

Visit AutomatomaniA to see more images of this very realistic dachshund automaton.


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Monday, October 19, 2009

Roullet & Decamps pipe-smoking automaton

Automata that appeared to smoke were a common theme around the turn of the century. Here is a smoking automaton made by the famous firm of Roullet et Decamps.

From the eBay listing:
This ca. 1880 automaton by the quality makers, Roullet & Decamps, is in fully original condition. As described on pages 209-212 and page 321 of the Automata: The Golden Age 1848-1914 by Christian Bailly, the "Black Smoker" is a very rare automaton in this original condition. The "Smoker" has some fiber loss from the jacket and a small area of fiber separation on the left front shirt. When tobacco or a lighted cigarette is placed in the pipe and the mechanism activated, you are entertained by two different aires from a magnificent miniature musical movement.

Body movements include the eyes, lips, head and both arms. When the right arm with pipe is raised to the "Smokers" lips, the tobacco glows as the mechanism "inhales" the smoke. The eyes move in delight, the head moves from right to left, and the lips move (slightly) in anticipation. As the right arm is lowered, smoke billows from the lips as the "smoker" exhales.

Here is the complete listing on eBay for the Roullet & Decamps smoking automaton.


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Sunday, October 04, 2009

Video of antique walking peacock automaton

I posted last month about an antique walking peacock automaton by Roullet and Decamps that was on eBay. I'm happy to report that the peacock has found a good home and will soon be getting a new coat of feathers.

Visit the AutomataMania Workshop to see more pictures of the walking peacock clockwork automaton.


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Sunday, September 20, 2009

Roullet & Decamps walking peacock automaton

Roullet & Decamps walking peacock automaton
Here's a cool antique automaton from the famous French automata-makers, Roullet et Decamps. This spring-driven peacock from the turn of the century walks forward while moving its head from side to side. The tail feathers (missing at present) move too.

From the eBay description:
This is a nice "PAON MARCHANT...."WALKING PEACOCK"....MADE BY ROULLET-DECAMPS, PARIS, FRANCE C.1890-1910......The body is made of mache paper it is in regular conditions with details. It doesn't have feathers...... The mechanism is in good conditions and it is clockwork and working, it walks to the front and moves the head from one side to the other side and the tail too...... the measures 6.5 inches large by 8 inches tall.

Here's the full listing with 12 different photographs of this walking peacock automaton.


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Friday, July 31, 2009

Roullet & Decamps rabbit with maracas automaton

Roullet & Decamps rabbit with maracas automaton
There is something charming in a mechanical rabbit automaton playing the Maracas. This one was made in France circa 1910 the by the famous French manufacturers ROULLET & DECAMPS .

From the eBay description:
When wound, the rabbit hops up and down as he shakes the maracas and his ears go up and down. He is covered with real rabbit fur and has glass eyes. His maracas are replacements that are made of hard plastic just like the original ones were, but they have been painted to simulate the originals (the one original maraca that still remains is included in the auction but is no longer attached to the toy, as you can see it is laying next to the rabbit in the last two photos). Though the replacement maracas are not original to the toy, they do make noise just like the original maracas would have and are just slightly smaller than the originals. The rabbit's fur is quite dingy from age and has been patched up here and there, but he still looks pretty good and is very amusing to watch! The rabbit measures just over 10" tall to the top of his head (ears laying out flat), and his ears are over 4" long!

Here is the full eBay listing with a ton of photos of this Roullet & Decamps rabbit with maracas automaton.


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Sunday, June 28, 2009

Video of vintage automaton cat restoration

Here is bit of video from the folks at Automatomania showing the inner workings of a antique cat automaton made by the famous makers Roullet and Decamps.

From the YouTube description
This is an automaton of a fur covered papier mache cat by Decamps of Paris Circa 1900. The film shows the restoration at the stage where all the parts have been repaired and the cat is tested prior to re-assembly.

Note the tail curl, it is a realistic action achieved with wooden balls wedged along a tapering spring within the tail, the cord pulls on the last ball only to curl it. This is a fragile part of the cat and is always broken in antique examples I have seen.

The restored cat is now for sale and can be seen at the Automatomania shop online shop.


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Sunday, May 24, 2009

Roullet and Decamps smoking monkey automaton

Here is a good video of a smoking automaton -- once a popular theme. This one, made by Roullet and Decamps, features a monkey puffing away on a cigarette.

From the YouTube description
This monkey has been trained to smoke cigars and cigarettes. He was made around 1900 by the Parisian firm of Roullet and Decamps and is made of Papier Mache covered with real fur. His enigmatic green glass eyes show just how much pleasure he gets from a fine tobacco.


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Monday, March 30, 2009

Antique leaping tiger clockwork automaton

Roullet et Decamps antique leaping tiger clockwork automaton
Shown here is a fine example of an automaton by the French firm of Roullet et Decamps, made around 1890.

From the eBay Listing
When wound, the tiger turns his head slowly from side to side as if sniffing out or stalking something, he crouches down (his rear legs go forward under his body and his front legs stretch out in front of him), and then he leaps into the air and moves forward about six inches! This is amazing to see, and it'll startle you every time he does it! In the center of the tiger's tummy is the brass on/off pin. The pin should be pushed in before winding, and then pulled out once the tiger has been placed on a hard surface. He works best on carpet since he has short metal pins that protrude from the bottom of his rear paws that give him the traction to leap forward.

The eBay listing for this jumping the tiger automaton offers more details as well as 12 photographs from every angle.


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Thursday, March 05, 2009

Roullet & Decamps - rabbit drummer automaton

Roullet & Decamps rabbit drummer automaton
Here's a charming antique by the famed French automata makers Roullet & Dechamps.

The eBay listing has a long description of the piece and a dozen nice photographs of Roullet & Decamps rabbit drummer automaton.


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Thursday, January 01, 2009

Cute antique wind-up pig automaton from 1890s

Here is a video of an automaton walking pig by Roullet and Decamps from around 1890. The sound is great!

The video is courtesy of our friends over at AutomatomaniA.


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Friday, August 22, 2008

Roullet et Decamps Automaton has Odd Surprise

Roullet et Decamps Automaton has Odd Surprise
This finely made automaton by famed Parisian makers Roullet et Decamps features a young woman with a rather odd surprise hidden in her basket.

Check the additional images on the eBay listing for this Roullet et Decamps Jumeau Automaton to see what I mean.


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Sunday, November 04, 2007

Drinking Bear Automaton by Roullet et Decamps

The estimates valued this drinking bear automaton between $600 and $800 dollars. In ended up selling at auction for $2233!

It is a clever mechanism, indeed. The bear pours a drink with real liquid. When he raises his arm to drink, the liquid drains down a hidden tube and refills the decanter for his next drink.

Learn more about the makers, Roullet et Decamp, in Christian Bailly's book: Automata: The Golden Age 1848-1914.

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Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Roullet & Decamps Cambodian Dancer

One of only two known examples, this Cambodian Dancer was never offered for sale to the public by its makers, the famed Roullet et Decamps of Paris.

This beautifully sculpted automaton is most likely the handiwork of Gaston Decamps -- a gifted artist and student of sculpture.

The dancer performs by swaying from side to side, tilting her head, rotating her arms at the elbows, and turning her hands at the wrist.

Every inch of this 40 inch tall piece is lavishly adorned: gold silk brocade, sequins, beads, anklets, bracelets, and an elaborate headdress. This piece is a marvel of artistry on many levels.

This extremely rare automaton will be part of the auction on October 28th, 2007 held by Skinner Auctioneers.

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