Musical automaton “Smoking Dandy”

    Musical automaton “Smoking Dandy”

    Switzerland, Geneva


    Michele Burnet Cichon

    Wood, metal, leather, plastic, biscuit, mother-of-pearl; carpentry and mechanical work, sewing

    Height 104 cm

    On oval plate: “ LE DANDY FUMEUR”, on rectangular plate: “AUTOMATE des CIBURS”, “fabrication SUISSE GENEVE (1994) de Mme Michèle BURNET CICHON pour SCHUHKNECHT'S Musikwissenschaftliches Museum / HANNOVER DEUTSCHLAND”. On the nape: “MCB be CH BCODUR 1994”


    Automaton in the form of a stylish young man figure is fixed on wooden rectangular stand with golden color trimming and two carrying handles. Golden color oval plate with the inscription "LE DANDY FUMEUR" is on the stand front panel. Rectangular plate with the automaton name, the author, manufacturing date and other information is fixed on the rear panel. The man head, neck and hands are made from biscuit, brown glass eyes with moving eyelids, brown eyebrows, mustache and beard, open mouth with an aperture between teeth, lush dark hair on the head and top hat. 

    The man is dressed in white shirt with bow tie, white speckled vest with two rows of buttons and golden chain, trousers made from diagonal fabric with gray and black stripes. His coat is from black woollen cloth with vent, lapels, cuffs and pocket flaps from brown fabric. White textured muffler is on his shoulders, and black leather shoes with mother-of-pearl buckles are on the feet. The dandy holds a monocle in his left hand and a cigarette holder in his right one. Musical movement is with sound comb, pinned cylinder and spring drive. The mechanism controlling the automaton movements is with bellows and in-let pipes is mounted in the stand. Winding key is on the left side.

    When the movement is activated the dandy turns his head,

    brings his right hand with the cigarette to his mouth, as if inhaling smoke, raises his left hand with the monocle, lowers and raises his eyelids, lowers his hand and exhales smoke, then all movements are repeated. The key is in the set.

    The author of the automaton Madame Michele Burnet Cichon (born in 1948), a chemist by education, became an artisan since 1971, and since 1971 she was elected the president of the Geneva Association of Craftsmanship. Madame Michele Burnet Cichon undertook vast chemical research with the aim of finding a porcelain formula that perfectly matched natural skin tone. She mastered manufacturing automata and made them look distinctively. She was textile to equip her graceful automata perfectly, so that their clothes looked as authentic as possible. Musical automaton “The girl with a powder box and a puff” was manufactured for the museum of musical automata in Hanover, Germany (SCHUHKNECHT Musikwissenschaftliches Museum), founded by Peter G. Schuhknecht in1975.