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Vintage Automata

October 10, 2013

How many of you read The Invention of Hugo Cabret?  It was made into a movie called Hugo. If you haven’t, I highly recommend you see it or pick up the book. It’s a heartwarming tale of a young boy finding his place in the world and it features one of the coolest things in the antique world, automata or automaton.  To give you an idea of what I’m talking about check out this scene from the movie Hugo

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Impressed? So am I! These machines are real and they have various degrees of intricacy and skill. Automata dates back as far as the medieval times, while the Victorian era is commonly referred to as the golden age of automata, there is even evidence of it in ancient Greece.  Magicians routinely used them in their shows,  shops sprung up throughout Europe and watch makers made automatons to brag about their skills. Today, Automata is highly sought after by collectors.

The Franklin Institute in Philadelphia has an impressive automaton in their collection that works and is fascinating to watch; which helped inspire the author of the book The Invention of Hugo Cabret.

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Imagine my surprise, when our very own automaton walked through our doors!



He isn’t as intricate as some the ones at the Franklin Institute or in the movie Hugo, but it makes the mind wonder what is possible with a little clock work.  There are fantastic collections of automata all over the internet, so if this little guy gets your wheels turning (pun intended) I encourage you to come by and check him out.

Gateway Gallery Auction will be selling an automaton on Monday, October 14th at 5:45 PM.  Preview will be Sunday, October 13 from 1-4 PM.

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