Bruguier Charles-Abraham (The Senior)

Bruguier Charles-Abraham The Senior was born on January 5, 1788, in a family of a clockmaker and inherited the helm. In October 1813, he married Louise-Pernette Noiret, and in June 1814, their daughter Jacqueline was born.

A year later, in June 1815 Charles-Abraham took his family to London, where they lived for several years. Other children were born there: Charles-Abraham in 1818 and Louise in 1821.

The Bruguier family returned to Switzerland around 1823. It is apparently only after his return to Geneva that Charles-Abraham began creating singing birds.

Between 1833 and 1837, Bruguier moved to the town of Sainte-Suzanne in France, to work in the Paur (later renamed as the L'epee) music-box factory. This explains the existence of music boxes with the Bruguier signature.

In 1837, the Bruguier family returns to Geneva. After 1843, Bruguier acquired property in Gran-Pre (north to Geneva), and moved his workshop there. The last trace we have of Bruguier is his application for a passport made in December 1861, for a trip he planned to Paris. Six months later, in June 1862, he passed away at the age of 74.

Bruguier the Senior is known for his bird boxes, but he made other mechanical pieces of art, quite unusual ones. As cited by his grandson “a clock surmounted by a vase, in the center of which a rose opens up each hour. Out of this rose comes a hummingbird which sings and hides back to where it came from, whereupon the rose closes up again”. Or “a flute player leaning against a tree. He plays and every movement of his fingers corresponds to a note. A small bird appears and sings, and the man puts down his flute and turns his head to listen. A cat suddenly appears and pounces on the bird just as it finishes its song, but the bird disappears and the man begins playing again”.