Automata – 19th Century Home Entertainment

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Join us at David Parr House for an evening of sights and sounds from a clockwork age! Maria and Michael Start run The House of Automata from the Highlands of Scotland. As restorers and dealers in antique automata for over 30 years, they are the European specialists in these enchanting and surreal objects. As well as an insight into how …

Magician & Drumming Bear – The Restorers on Quest TV

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Restoration of a 130 year old Magician automaton features in episode 10 of series 3 and is described as a “world class” restoration. The Magician was made by Phalibois of Paris and features a clown with a disappearing head! Episode 2 details our restoration of a spectacular 4 foot high  Drumming Bear. The bear came as a box of bits from …

Atlas Obscura – Show & Tell

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The world famous Atlas Obscura from New York have interviewed the The House of Automata for Show & Tell. The show goes to their huge subscriber base with a 99% thumbs up rate! You can see it by clicking the LINK HERE.

Ball Boy Restoration

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Automaton Ball Balancer Click for Video The restoration was particularly delicate. The gesso had separated into plates with raised edges and we wanted to keep the original paint. So Maria softened the gesso and pressed it flat. She then filled the cracks and painted just the filler. The end result was quite pleasing. The music played is Je Veux Vivre from …

The House of Automata – LIVE weekly on INSTAGRAM

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Thursday 16th April at 4pm. On Instagram. A fleeting half hour in a Magical world of of Mechanical Life. Weekly on Thursdays for as long as the Pandemic Lockdown lasts in the UK. This Thursday (16th April) will feature Maria ………. showing Workshop techniques to replace a missing head and Michael telling the surprising story of the Birth of Automata with …

Automata Live! – Webcast

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We will be presenting a LIVE show this THURSDAY 4pm on Instagram and Facebook. Broadcast from the Attic of our workshop in the Highlands of Scotland. Michael and Maria will present 40 minutes of dramatic entertainment assisted by clockwork performers from the 19th century. Our cameras will be operated by Maud Start and quite possibly there will be sound effects …


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The latest for sale, restorations, and film of amazing automata in action, in pieces and in the workshop. Ranging from an exquisite treasure like the Gold Fairy Ship to the rather dubious Tin Devil and Nun. Scroll up on the comments to see the text description.

The Moon

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Our man on the moon was there 80 years before Apollo’s and now he is on loan to the blockbuster MOON exhibition at the National Maritime Museum in London. Celebrating the 50th Anniversary of Man’s landing on the Moon, the exhibition charts the cultural and scientific story of our relationship with the Moon, featuring over 180 objects, including artefacts from NASA’s …

Exploring Automata Event – 19th January

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Two presentations of wonderful automata in action in Edinburgh at the National Museum of Scotland. Machines pre-dating Robots and made to entertain and amaze you! See 19th century mechanical moving figures performing for you,  singing birds, acrobats and magicians. The springs will be let fly by The House of Automata with an introduction from  Dr Tacye Phillipson, Head of Science at the Museum. …

Talks and Demo’s

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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 …