Objects with musical mechanism and automaton

Singing bird

    Singing bird

    France, Paris


    Blaise Bontems

    Copper, brass, steel; silvering, casting, chiselling, blueing

    13.5 х 4.8 х 11.8 cm, 246 gr

    On the tail: “BREVET”, “S.J”

    A bird, standing on two feet, appearance and size similar to a blackbird, performed in copper casting with further silvering and blueing. Inside the body, assembled from two halves with the screws and separately rotating head with eyes of agate cabochons, is fixed the cam mmovement with  whistle. During the movement operation the bird's head rotates from side to side, the beak is opening and closing in time with chirping. The movement is driven by a spring, the groovy hole for it is located on the bird's right shoulder. The pin, activating the movement, is located near the right foot. Mechanical creatures belong to one of the oldest forms of automatas. In ancient times, around 400 BC Archytas of Tarentum created a mechanical dove. Separately standing birds - are the most rare. In the late 18th and early 19th centuries, all sorts of automata were very popular, it was the time when a legendary figurine of a duck was created (in 1738) by Jacques de Vaucanson. That duck flaps the wings, splashes in artificial pond, eats and " digests" the food. As well as automaton created by Pierre Henri Jaquet-Droz. This bird is in a certain sense "the descendant" of the famous Age of Enlightenment automatas. The bird has a realistic appearance, natural movements of the head and beak, it sings naturally. It chirps, stops for a while, starts a new song, looking around as if waiting for something, and continues to sing. The creator of this rare bird is a Parisian master Blaise Bonemt (1814-1893). He was the greatest specialist and the founder of the dynasty. His son Charles Jules and grandson Lucien were his followers.