Objects with musical mechanism and automaton

Singing bird box with two ivory figures and clock

    Singing bird box with two ivory figures and clock



    Silver, amber, steel, brass, feathers, ivory, glass; casting, carving, gems setting

    18 x 13 x 8 cm, 1008 g

    Inscriptions on the dial: “HERZFELD”, “17”, “INCABLOC”. German silver mark on the bottom: “800”


    Singing bird box and a clock in cast silver gilded rectangular case on four feet in the form of acanthus leaves, with two ivory figures. A Cast figure of a sitting dog and an oak tree with square amber inserts are on right side of the ornately shaped, decorated with relief ornament top panel. Figure of a girl in a dress with frills, a flower basket and a flower in her hand and figure of a boy a hat are on the top panel left side. A cage with a flower shaped pedestal and a bird inside on a circular platform with a cast pattern of cord and beads is in the center. Miniature clock in cast case with relief floral ornament, with a loop and a crown is hanging on a crook on the front side. Silvery clock dial with floral patterns, with the hours’ graduation by Roman numerals, inscriptions and two black hands is covered with glass. 17 stones’ clock with shockproof balance axis device INCABLOC. Ornament in the form of arches with slotted stylized figures is on the lateral sides. The movement activation lever is on the right lateral side. A keyhole with a pin for the bird's movement winding key, three screws’ heads, German silver mark “800” are on the bottom panel.

    When the rod is pulled out, the miniature bird in painted feathers of black, red, green, yellow colours turns in place, flaps its wings, moves its tail, opens and closes the beak. Musical movement imitates bird’s chirping.

    Shockproof device INCABLOC consists of special movable supports, in which the thin parts of the balance axis are fixed. The movable support is arranged in such a way that, with axial or lateral impacts, the balance axis is shifted upwards or sideways and rests against the limiters with its thickened parts, protecting the thin axle parts from breakage or bending. The first shockproof was invented in 1789 by the famous watchmaker Abraham-Louis Breguet. The device was called a "parachute" (French parachute, from the Greek para-against and French chute-fall); however, contrary to expectations, this invention did not gain popularity. The idea of a shockproof device was revived only 140 years later. It should be noted that various types of shock absorbers were created in Switzerland, including Shock resist and Parechok. The Incabloc system, which was patented by watchmaking firm Universal Escapement Ltd. in 1933, became most popular.