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.”
‘Thank You’ to all who made AUTOMATACON 2018 such a success. http://www.automatacon.org/home.html
The House of Automata is a specialist automata company run by Michael and Maria Start. Michael is an award winning trained Horologist and Maria is a skilled Sculptor and Painter.
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 museums.
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.
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.
The House of Automata has a busy restoration workshop in the Highlands and a showroom in Edinburgh, Scotland, visitors welcome by prior arrangement.
For 100 videos of Automata visit our YouTube channel
Spring (repair) is here
On a large automaton of Little Tich, the 19th century music hall performer. The large mainspring was found to have its hole torn out from the barrel hooking. This is a fairly common repair, a result of ‘overwinding’. The secret to the repair is the process of softening the steel prior to punching and shaping a new hole. The new end will be curved to fit the shape of the barrel and then the spring cleaned and greased before fitting. The original hole is torn out so begin by softening the end, note the heat protection for the main coils. Punch a small hole or dimple Cut off and reshape
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