Musical automaton "Hercules"

    Musical automaton "Hercules"

    France, Paris

    Circa 1920

    Gaston Decamps ? (in Henry Phalibois/Decamps style)

    Papier-mâché, feathers, wood, metal, fabric; sewing, casting, woodwork, painting

    92 х 40 х 51 cm, 10 kg

    On the weight: “50 К”


    Musical automaton is made in the form of a circus weightlifter figure that stands on wooden platform with the top panel covered with tobacco-colored velvet, on four ball-shaped supports. A bench with velvet cover with fringe is mounted in front of the athlete, a dumbbell lies nearby. The smiling athlete has blue eyes, movable eyelids, a fez with yellow feather is on his dark hair. He is dressed in goldish embroidered velvet vest with buttons and lacing, shirt and knee-high trousers with striped silk fringes, marsh-colored scarf is on his belt. Dark red stockings are on his feet,  he is wearing leather shoes with clasps and bows. The athlete has a dumbbell in his left hand, a weight with the inscription “50 K” is on the bench. The head, neck and arms of the athlete are from papier-mâché.

    Musical mechanism with a sound comb, pinned cylinder for four tunes, spring motor and five cams control mechanism are mounted in the stand. An aperture for the crank is on the rear side, on/off lever is above it. When the movement  is activated, a melody sounds, the weightlifter bents parallel with the floor, picks up and lifts the “50 K” weight, bends and unbends his left arm with the dumbbell, as if comparing the weight, turns his head, opens and closes his eyes; bends again and lowers the weight  on the bench, then repeats the movements without weights.