Announcement: new column “The unknown about the well known”

Our new column "The unknown about the well-known" features a fascinating life story the master automata-maker Alexander Nicola Theroude, that was the greatest manufacturer of automata since the Enlightenment epoch inventors -- Jacques de Vaucanson and Pierre Jacquet-Droz.

Although not many examples of his work have survived, Theroude unique inventions and improvements testify to his rich imagination, inexhaustible humor and business acumen.  Alexander Theroude was never satisfied with what he had achieved, always striving to improve his creations and adapt them to different environments and even climates. He easily refocused his production, laying emphasis on what was most conforming with the spirit of the times. Theroude created mechanical toys for all ages, any budget-oriented. Aiming to make his products both aesthetically appealing and commercially competitive, he contributed significantly to the development of the French mechanical toy industry.

His invention of a new type of automaton, in which the mechanism is not mounted in the stand, but inside the figure itself, created a real sensation among the public; his pioneering patents, which considerably reduced the costs of automata production and the glory earned by his brilliant participation in the World Industrial Fairs, paved the way to success for the following generations of Parisian automata designers - Gustave Vichy, Leopold Lambert, Henri Phalibois, Jean Roullet and Ernest Descamps. For them, A. Theroude was undoubtedly a reference point and an example to follow.

Automata by A. Theroude are quite rare. The few surviving works by this artisan are now part of the collections of the Museum of European and Mediterranean Civilizations in Marseilles and the Morris Museum in Morristown. Five unique works of  A. Theroude are presented in the museum Collection. Musical automata "Elegant lady harp-player" and “Magician with caps" are the most interesting of them all.

More musical automata are in the collection section "Automata".
Life story of Alexander Theroude is in the section "Authors".