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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Monday, October 05, 2009

Lambert Brothers smoking musical automaton

Lambert Brothers smoking musical automaton
Here is an interesting antique smoking automaton in working condition currently listed on eBay.

From the eBay description:
He has the following movements: Head moves back and forth and tilts upward. Leg raises and lowers, giving the appearance of crossing, the arm with pipe raises and lowers. the arm with feathered fan raises and lowers. A concealed bellows gives the appearance of inhaling and exhaling smoke. Both the SMOKER mechanism as well as the MUSICAL Automaton mechanism are both in good shape. The SMOKER bellows and Tubes are fine and he will actually "inhale" and "exhale" SMOKE. There is an old repair to the base of the wood stool. A piece of the wood base that covers the mechanism is also missing but a simple fix. A hard to find piece in excellent original condition.

Here is the link to the full eBay listing for this Lambert Brothers smoking musical automaton

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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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Sunday, December 07, 2008

Wind-up clockwork smoking automaton

Wind-up clockwork smoking automaton
This is an interesting piece on eBay. I don't think I've seen such a small smoking automaton. Pretty cool.

Here is the eBay listing with a short description and several additional photographs of this small clockwork smoking automaton.

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Wednesday, December 03, 2008

More info on antique smoking head automaton

disembodied head automaton
Michael Start of AutomatomaniA has been kind enough to supply some additional information about the smoking head automaton we saw a few days ago.

Michael thinks the head dates from circa. 1865, though Maria thinks it may be as early as 1840. Additional photographs and a scan of the 1882 letter may be seen on his news page. The letter is in the last two photos of the sequence.

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Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Gentleman smoker automaton from 1905

Here is a antique piece going to auction on eBay on November 9th, 2008. I've always thought that smoking automatons are particularly clever.

The secret generally lies in the fact that the smoke from the cigarette or pipe held in the hand is not usually drawn through the mouth. Rather, it usually passes down a hidden pipe in the arm to a bellows in the figure, where it is then transferred back up to the mouth to be expelled. A very ingenious means of creating the illusion of smoking without the complications of creating a tight seal at the mouth.

From the eBay listing:
GENTLEMAN SMOKER AUTOMATON - The man has a papier mache head w/ open mouth, glass eyes, bisque forearms, and holds a black cigarette holder in right arm. When wound, music plays, he raises right arm to mouth, and turns head from side to side. 24" (62cm) Bottom of base to top of hat.

Here is the full eBay listing for Gentleman smoker automaton from 1905

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