A story of the Bontems family - the dynasty producing singing birds
Today we will tell you about the Parisian artisan Blaise Bontems - the founder of a dynasty that produced mechanical singing birds "in vases with flowers, in cages, aviaries, clocks and other objects". The products of the firm, which was founded by this talented craftsman, were distinguished by “grace, natural movements and singing of birds, simplicity and reliability of the mechanism.
... While working as a watchmaker's assistant, Blaise Bontems was constantly considering how to improve the musical mechanism built into the snuffbox. He dreamed of creating a mechanical bird that could sing like a live bird - made of flesh and blood. He listened to the singing of nightingales, recording it with notes, and then spent whole days tuning the musical mechanism, trying to achieve the desired sound. The first mechanical singing birds created by Blaise Bontems were so good and in such demand that the master decided to make similar birds for sale.
In 1849, Blaise Bontems opened his own firm in Paris. It developed rapidly, participated in national and international exhibitions and for a long time remained the only producer of singing birds. By the end of the 19th century, the company produced about four hundred items a year, participated in international exhibitions, where it was awarded with gold, silver and bronze medals.