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.
For 100 videos of automata visit our YouTube channel
The House of Automata is a specialist automata company run by Michael and Maria Start.
We have in depth knowledge gathered over 25 years, 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.
As well as buying and selling we also hire and advise on automata and horology to the film industry. We present lively and popular lectures and demonstrations of automata, using real examples.
Michael is an award winning trained Horologist and Maria is a skilled Sculptor and Painter. We are passionate about our subject and are happy to give advice on any automata question, just send us an email & include pictures if relevant.
The House of Automata has a busy restoration workshop in the Highlands and a showroom in Edinburgh, Scotland, visitors welcome by prior arrangement.
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. Softened Punch a small hole or dimple Enlarge
Of amazing pictures and fantastic projects. Take a look at some of our finest moments and biggest challenges.