Autoperipatetikos Mechanical Walking Doll. Circa 1880.
With porcelain head and original silk dress and leather arms, the papier mache body encasing a clockwork mechanism, with winding key. The unusual name is Greek for ‘automatically walking’ and is typical of the 19th centuries cluttered Victorianism.
The distinctive feature of this 1862 patented mechanism is the surefooted gait of the doll as it walked along. This reluctance to fall over when one foot is lifted and placed in front of the other helps ensure the survival of the fine porcelain head. The mechanism although hidden inside the papier mache body is particularly beautiful and features on the cover of Gaby Woods book ‘Edison’s Eve’ (‘Living Dolls’ in UK edition). You can see an Autoperipatetikos mechanism in action in this VIDEO HERE.