This is the sound of an 18th century bird box by Jaquet Droz. It had been owned by the customer for more than 10 years, not working, he had never heard it sing this beautiful song until our restoration:

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

Welcome to our new website.  If you want to explore the classic site it is available here The House of Automata

The House of Automata is a specialist automata company run by Michael and Maria Start. We restore, advise and talk about, and make automata to commission. The House of Automata also buys and sells automata, over the last 20 years many spectacular and beautiful pieces have passed through our hands.

We have in depth knowledge regarding the history of automata and hands on expertise of the mechanisms of most types of antique & modern automata. Our clients include collectors, auction houses, the media and museums.

We also hire and advise on automata and horology to the film industry. Michael and Maria jointly present lively and popular lectures and demonstrations of automata, using real examples.

Michael is an award winning trained Horologist (Clockmaker) and Maria is a skilled sculptor and painter. We are passionate about our subject and are happy to give advice on any automata question no matter how basic or complex, just drop us an email, include pictures if possible. To shop and buy automata visit our For Sale section (under construction!) HERE.

The House of Automata has a busy restoration workshop and a showroom in Scotland UK, visitors welcome by prior arrangement.


Automata Exhibition Video

AUTOMATA EXHIBITION VIDEO The Nairn Museum is located in Scotland and has a great Drawing Room. We exhibited there some years ago and doubled their visitor numbers. It was a pleasure to repeat the event with some of our reserve collection. The video is at 2X speed for a youtube audience, if you want to see it at actual speed open – settings – view – .5 speed. The birds will have a deep voice as I reverted to normal speed just for that section! If you are interested in our Travelling exhibition, contact us and we will do our best to help, we can tailor to suit, we have exhibited

Read More

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.

Find Out More


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

Find Out More