This is the sound of an 18th century bird box by Jaquet Droz. The owner had never heard it sing until our restoration:

“Automata are mechanical objects endowed with life by ingenious means.”

The House of Automata Movie! -

The House of Automata is a specialist automata company run by Michael and Maria Start, an award winning trained Horologist and a skilled Sculptor and Painter respectively  We run a busy restoration workshop in Forres, Moray  and have a showroom in Edinburgh, Scotland.801Ball boy maria

We have in depth knowledge based on 25 years experience restoring and conserving fine automata both antique and modern.  We also have good connections across the world to other specialists and academics with associated specialities.

Our clients are collectors, auction houses, the media and muBlack Forest Magicianseums.

BUYING/SELLING – Singing Birds and Automata

HIRE –  We hire Automata and Horology to the film industry.

TALKS – We present a range of lively and popular talks.

EXHIBITIONS – With a large stock and an important collection of automata we mount our own interactive exhibitions and loan automata to museums and galleries.

VISIT  Behind the scenes workshop tour in Forres, Morayshire.

HELP – We are passionate about our subject and are happy to give advice on any automata question, just send us an email with pictures if possible.

Videos of Automata see our YouTube channel 



BBC 360º The Strange Dolls that come to Life

Our Workshop has become an Interactive Experience thanks to the latest technology from the BBC. Use your mouse to scroll around our workshop and see us working, surrounded by moving Automata. Can you spot the Crocodile and do you know why it’s there? BBC Reel The Strange Dolls that come to Life

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For Sale

Under construction, please email if you are looking for a specific piece, we may have it in stock.

We have a selection of automata for sale or hire. Take a look and if you would like more details please contact us.

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Of amazing pictures and fantastic projects. Take a look at some of our finest moments and biggest challenges.

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