Thursday, February 18, 2010

In the Studio with automata-artist Tom Haney

Enjoy this beautiful montage of images and video taken within artist Tom Haney's studio.

See more of Tom Haney's work at www.tomhaney.com.


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Saturday, November 14, 2009

Authentic, working replica of a praxinoscope

Authentic, working replica of a praxinoscope
Here is an heirloom-quality working replica of the praxinoscope -- an animation device invented in 1877.

About this praxinoscope replica:
Used to depict motion using a series of rapidly spinning images, it is considered the precursor to the modern motion picture, it was invented by French science teacher Charles-Émile Reynaud. A dodecagonal drum -- each face containing a 2 3/4" H x 1" W mirror -- sits concentrically inside a smooth, 8" diameter cylinder. A paper strip of 12 images is placed into the cylinder; when the brass finial is spun, the images are reflected in the central prism of mirrors, creating the illusion of movement. This replica comes with 14 image strips, including a galloping horse, two blacksmiths taking turns hammering a piece of iron on an anvil, and a rotund captain of industry rolling by virtue of his own girth. Beech construction.

Here is the link to The Authentic Praxinoscope.


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Friday, November 06, 2009

Two Maillardet Automaton drawings on eBay

Two Maillardet Automaton drawings on eBay
I was recently contacted by a woman who found two drawings while going through her late mother's photos and keepsakes. As it turns out, they were penned by none other than Maillardet's Automaton, now at The Franklin Institute in Philadelphia. She has been in contact with a number of experts who have confirmed these drawings were done by the Automaton.

Here's the eBay listing with the complete story behind the two Maillardet Automaton Drawings.


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Saturday, July 25, 2009

Video of Vielmetter drawing clown tin toy

The other day, I wrote about a drawing tin-toy automaton that was on eBay. Here is some video of the toy showing how the cams are installed in the base and how the clown draws with a pencil on paper.

From the YouTube description:
A very rare and clever toy produced in Germany approximately 1885 until about 1905. The little hand-cranked tin artist draws with a graphite stick onto paper via 'programmed' double-cams (x and y axis).

Some texts say it was an expensive wealthy person's toy, and other texts mention it as a give-away to favorite clients of the firm Phillip Vielmetter Mechanische Werkstatten of Berlin, Germany. This ultra-rare original box was repaired by Randy's Toy Shop.

I suspect the 5 cams are from various production dates. They are labeled (in German): HAHN, KAKADU, GLADSTONE, HARLEKIN, AFFE. There are several more cams that I do not have, such as Napolean, Balzaax, Queen Victoria, and still others.

I had only seen photographs of this amazing toy in the books Mechanical Toys (Spilhaus and Spilhaus)and Automata and Mechanical Toys (Hiller). It's great to finally see the actual toy in operation! Now...to get a peek inside...

[ Thanks Els! ]


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Sunday, April 12, 2009

Automta in antiquity article from SPIEGEL Online

Automta in antiquity article from Speigel Online
The German magazine SPIEGELhas published an article on automata in antiquity. Or...at least that's what I believe it is about. I cannot read German. Nevertheless, they have a number of wonderful drawings and photographs that accompany the article.

Once again the credit must go to Spiel und Kunst mit Mechanik for finding this great resource.

Shown above is a diagram of Hero of Alexandria's clever method for automatically opening temple doors. The fire in the pot, creates pressure in the large water tank. This causes water to spill into the bucket, the weight of which works against the counterweight to rotate the vertical axle attached to the temple door. Very clever. Done with the right amount of ceremony, this must have seemed very magical indeed to the ancient Greeks.

Here is a link to the photoset associated with the article. If you are able to read German, you might also like to read the original article on automata in antiquity.

[ Thanks once again to Falk Keuten! ]


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