Thursday, February 11, 2010

More cute wind-up robots that do unlikely things

wind-up robot salt and pepper shakers
Recently, we featured a little wind-up robot that serves as a pencil sharpener. A trend is emerging. Here are more wind-up robots with a utilitarian purpose: they dispense salt and pepper. So, if someone asks for the salt at dinner -- and they are very patient -- you can wind the appropriate robot up and send it walking over to them. I suppose it would be fun to do to an unsuspecting guest.

Here's a link to the wind-up robot salt and pepper shakers


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Wednesday, December 09, 2009

Fully automatic electric crossbow

Granted...this is a little off-topic for this blog, but its overwhelming mechanical awesomeness requires me to repost it.

See more amazing crossbow creations on the creator's web site.

[ Found via Hack A Day ]


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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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Sunday, August 09, 2009

Le Pinch stainless steel wind up inch worm toy

Le Pinch stainless steel wind up inch worm toy made by Kikkerland. It's nice to see wind-up toys taking some new evolutionary steps (no pun intended).

Here's a link to the Le Pinch Wind Up.


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Thursday, August 06, 2009

Gorgeous singing bird music box automaton

I love the range one finds in automata -- from ingenious paper automata costing a few dollars hand-made on your kitchen table, to lavish antiques costing thousands. Here's one on the older, opulent, and intricate end of the spectrum: a singing bird automaton music box housed in a cigarette case (made in Germany around 1920).

From the eBay listing:
...one of a kind singing bird box in combination with a cigarette case. This sterling silver case has 4 sides that fold open in and give acces to the cigarettes. In the centre of the case behind glass panels is a Griesbaum singing bird movement. By pushing the stop start knob this lid will jump open and a little bird will appear. It will turn from left to right moving its beak and wings and sing a song with a loud and strong voice After it is finished it will return into the box and the lid will automatically close again. The mechanism is spring wound. The complete case is machine worked in combination with unbelievable highly decorative engravings.

The eBay listing features many more photographs and a video clip of the bird in action. Here's the link for this singing bird music box automaton.


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Thursday, June 25, 2009

Mxykikker mechanical wind-up crawling critter

Mxykikker mechanical wind-up crawling critter
A clever new spring-powered stainless-steel beastie that can even climb over small obstacles.

From the Amazon description
Mxykikker is a tongue-twisting, multi-legged, multi-purpose commemorative wind-up celebrating the 15th year of Kikkerland Design's founding. Mxykikker loves to climb over objects and it sometimes enjoys galloping upside down, with its eighteen fidgety feet. At 6.5" long and 3" tall, this is one buggie that is sure to impress. An occasional bit of spray lubricant is recommended to help keep Mxykikker fit and trim. Designed by Chico Bicalho. Assorted colors, randomly selected.

Here's the link to Mxykikker Mechanical Wind-up Critter.


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Friday, November 14, 2008

Griesbaum whistler - singing bird box automaton

Griesbaum Whistler bird box automaton
I love these little spring-driven singing bird boxes. It's simply amazing that they were able to pack all of the mechanics for pieces like this into such a small box (its longest side is a only 4 1/4 inches). This one is by German maker Karl Griesbaum and dates to the middle part of the last century.

From the eBay listing:
When activated, the hatch on top opens, bird appearing, and there is bird song. The bird turns from side to side as it sings. The beak/tailfeathers/wings move to some degree while the bird is singing. The bird darts inside when it has finished singing and the hatch closes automatically.

Here is the full ebay listing with many more pictures of Griesbaum Whistler singing bird box automaton.


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Thursday, October 16, 2008

Automatic Accordion - Hohner Magic Organa

Automatic Accordion - Hohner Magic Organa
Check out this German-made automatic accordion by Hohner.

A spring-wound mechanism inside the instrument moves a paper roll over tubes connected to the accordion's 44 notes. A foot pump bellows connected via a hose to the accordion provides the air needed to for the instrument to sound its notes.

It's bit like a player-piano/organ strapped to your chest. I had no idea such things existed. Amazing. This one comes with 7 different programmed paper rolls.

Here is the eBay listing with more photographs of the automatic accordion called the Hohner Magic Organa


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Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Vaporizer / Condenser Unit Winds a Spring Clock

Clock with a Vaporizer / Condenser Unit that winds the clock's spring
I'd like to say "What will they think of next?" but this novel method for winding a mechanical clock has been around since the 1930s. Shown here is the back of a Jauch and Schmid clock with a vaporizer/condenser winding mechanism.

The winding key axle of a fairly conventional clock is fitted with a set of connected glass tubes and vials filled with alcohol. A heating element below the lower-most vial causes the liquid to vaporize and move up to the opposing upper vial. Now separated from the heat source, the alcohol cools again to form a liquid. The orientation of the heavy liquid filled vials on top causes the winding axle to rotate. Perhaps a bit of a fire hazard -- heat, glass, alcohol, bare wires and 220 volts...Yikes! Not exactly "set it and forget it" to my way of thinking, but ingenious nonetheless.

From The Watchismo Times and found via BoingBoing.net.


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Friday, September 19, 2008

Cat-A-Pults: Chain-reaction Toy by Arthur Ganson

Designed by celebrated mechancial artist, Arthur Ganson, the Cat-A-Pult is a new interactive, chain-reaction toy.

Each Cat-A-Pult can be adjusted to throw the included foam cats from one to six feet. With each set you get 5 catapults, 10 Cats, and instruction booklet with games and activities.

You design the layout of the Cat-A-Pults, set them up and adjust them to fly from room to room or contained on a table. This toy is not only a great idea but has great potential to be combined with other chain reaction toys like dominoes and marble-run tracks.

You can get the Cat-a-Pult from HandsOnToys.

Cat-a-Pult miniature cat flinging gun
Note: This new chain-reaction mechanical toy is not to be confused with the similarly named Cat-A-Pult, miniature cat flinging gun made by the great novelty company called Accoutrements.

What is it about flying cats that is so compelling? We may never know.


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