"The Enlightenment-era automata and mechanical singing birds". Part II (video)
The first part of the story "The Enlightenment-era automata and mechanical singing birds" dealt with the legendary anthropomorphic automata of the Enlightenment.
In the second part of the Museum Story, you will learn about the legendary mechanical duck designed by Jacques de Vaucanson (1709-1782). Its unprecedented success among audiences contributed to the emergence of a new, independent type of automata, the mechanical singing birds, which gained enormous popularity in the 19th century. Blaise Bontems (1814-1893) was the key producer of these mechanical curiosities and a peculiar successor to Vaucanson. The legion of birds create by Bontems conquered all continents. Moreover, they nested themselves in various spheres of the world of objects that surrounded man in that distant era. For example, besides snuffboxes, mechanical birds decorated clocks, utensils, furniture, children's toys, toiletry cases, necessaires, caskets and other objects.
Blaise Bontems achieved such huge commercial, public and professional success that in 1863 he was able to acquire and successfully restore the legendary Vaucanson duck.
The museum Collection sections “Singing Birds” and "Objects with musical mechanism and automaton” features numerous works by Blaise Bontems.
The automaton "Duck: In Memory of Vaucanson" is presented in the museum Collection exposition. This automaton, a replica of Jacques de Vaucanson famous mechanical duck, dated the 1738th, was made by the watchmaker Frédéric Vidoni in 1997.
The mechanical duck moves its neck and body, picks up steel balls with its beak, swallows them and "digests" them. The performance ends with the blowing out of the ignited flame. You can see how this happens in the video.