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 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.
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.
ADVICE – 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.
100 videos of Automata in action – YouTube channel
Talks and Demo's
Over 20 years we have been asked to talk about Automata many times and have developed a popular demonstration and a range of well received talks that can be tailored to suit a variety of audiences and interest levels. Most popular are: 1 – Demonstration showing 16 antique automata and singing birds in action describing them and how they work. 35-40 minutes. 2 – Its Alive! – How automata eat, drink, dance and sing (and other useful functions!). 45 mins 3 – Automata – A History of mechanical life. 45 mins 4 – Automata on Stage and Screen – from Fritz Langs
Of amazing pictures and fantastic projects. Take a look at some of our finest moments and biggest challenges.