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This post is really only intended for those that can appreciate and afford high quality bird pistols
September 19, 2011 4:03 AM   Subscribe

The Only Pair of Matching Singing Bird Pistols
posted by twoleftfeet (40 comments total) 18 users marked this as a favorite

 
These are amazing. *puts down really low bid just so she can say she bid on them*
posted by dabitch at 4:05 AM on September 19, 2011 [1 favorite]


Ambassador, with these Matching Singing Bird pistols you are really spoiling us!
posted by biffa at 4:06 AM on September 19, 2011 [4 favorites]


I have a feeling there will be a flurry of bids tomorrow.
posted by pH Indicating Socks at 4:10 AM on September 19, 2011


These seem like the sort of things the Joker would want to steal, having grown tired of guns that shoot flags saying "Bang!"
posted by GenjiandProust at 4:18 AM on September 19, 2011 [1 favorite]


TWEET!

wait, that means something else. drat.
posted by oonh at 4:21 AM on September 19, 2011


I like the first few moments of this video, it's like the world's fanciest unboxing video ever.
posted by xingcat at 4:34 AM on September 19, 2011 [4 favorites]


I'm not really a dueler, but if I were, THESE would be the pistols I'd like to use.
posted by The 10th Regiment of Foot at 4:38 AM on September 19, 2011


...8...9...turn and *tweet-twit-twit-tweeet-twit*

"Oh, look Sir Roger, isn't it simply ridiculous? You thought I was going to shoot you, but instead a delightful little bird has come out to sing to us! Isn't is simply the gayest thing you've ever seen? Look at the ingenious mechanism, have you ever seen the like? And the embellishments, it really is the absolute height of frivolity! I knew you'd enjoy my marvelous little jape, and..."

*BANG*

"Well, I daresay you've shot me, Sir Roger. Really, sir, that is rather unexpected, and if I do say so, unkind!"
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 4:43 AM on September 19, 2011 [13 favorites]


I heard these are going to be unlockable in MW3.
posted by EndsOfInvention at 4:45 AM on September 19, 2011 [7 favorites]


Wow, those are tacky as hell.
posted by delmoi at 4:57 AM on September 19, 2011


Well... damn! That's something!
posted by flapjax at midnite at 4:57 AM on September 19, 2011


These exquisitely balance my delighted astonishment at the artistic playfulness and outright brilliance of their construction with my utter revulsion at a society that throws up people with nothing better to spend 2.5 to 5 million dollars on than a pair of antique, diamond-encrusted toy mechanical pistols that "shoot" singing birds.

I honestly have no idea what to think right now.
posted by Naberius at 4:59 AM on September 19, 2011 [1 favorite]


To quote this child and Dr. Henry Jones: "It belongs in a museum!"

But instead it was sold to a private collector for $5.8 million. At least Christies made a video.
posted by Kattullus at 5:01 AM on September 19, 2011


Twitter should buy them..
posted by seanmpuckett at 5:02 AM on September 19, 2011


Upper-Class Tweet Of The Year?
posted by Pallas Athena at 5:23 AM on September 19, 2011 [7 favorites]


"Well, I daresay you've shot me, Sir Roger.

What they don't tell you is that, after a few seconds of singing, both barrels discharge, just as the target bends down to look at the extremely detailed plumage. They are dueling pistols for sneaky villains who are not terribly good shots.
posted by GenjiandProust at 5:25 AM on September 19, 2011 [2 favorites]


I feel a bit cheated that you can't actually shoot anyone with them.
posted by elizardbits at 5:36 AM on September 19, 2011 [3 favorites]


OK, those are simply amazing... the amount of craftsmanship that went into these in 1820(!) is simply staggering. What wonders we little evolved monkeys can make with our hands!
posted by Ron Thanagar at 5:44 AM on September 19, 2011 [2 favorites]


Am I the only one that wants to shoot that inane little bird?
posted by troll at 5:46 AM on September 19, 2011


The video isn't clear. Are these actual working firearms?
posted by pjdoland at 5:50 AM on September 19, 2011 [1 favorite]


The video isn't clear. Are these actual working firearms?

no they're part of the automaton crafting tradition
posted by the mad poster! at 5:59 AM on September 19, 2011


Once upon a time, in a tiny village in upstate New York (Deansboro, not far from Utica) there was once a music museum whose collection included a miniature singing bird in a cage which bore more than a passing resemblance to the device shown in the video.

The museum owner loved demonstrating everything including the bird, showing that the singing was generated using a system of miniature bellows and whistles, with a clockwork mechanism with cams driving it. This always generated oohs and aaahs from museum guests. (The museum is long gone now and its collection scattered.)

About ten years ago, at the gift shop of the Fenimore House in Cooperstown, New York, I was actually able to purchase (for $9) a miniature singing bird with precisely the same mechanism and attributes. They're still made. All those diamonds and enamel work, fake frizzens and flints to make the "pistols" are just stage dressing.
posted by kinnakeet at 6:02 AM on September 19, 2011 [3 favorites]


The video isn't clear. Are these actual working firearms?

No, but my first thought on trying to parse the words "singing bird pistols" in the FPP was that we would be talking about very small bore black powder pistols that fired a more or less BB-sized bullet and were used by 18th century gentlemen to shoot songbirds.

Like some kind of very specialized saloon pistol.
posted by Naberius at 6:37 AM on September 19, 2011 [4 favorites]


My second was a larger, heavier, Hitchcockier version of that gun from one of Bradbury's Martian Chronicles stories that shoots bees at you.
posted by Naberius at 6:44 AM on September 19, 2011 [1 favorite]


trying to parse the words "singing bird pistols"

Haha, I did exactly the same thing! Is this a "bird pistol" that sings? A pistol fro shooting song birds? A style of pistol known as a "singing bird?" It could have been anything! I was not disappointed, although I am a little sad that my vision of cruel, effete noblemen gunning down helpless songbirds was not fulfilled.
posted by GenjiandProust at 7:38 AM on September 19, 2011


On third thought, someone clever with arduino and miniature keyboards should assemble a pistol that generates tweets on twitter when the trigger is pulled.
posted by oonh at 7:43 AM on September 19, 2011


That's an astonishing piece of clockwork automation. It's a little too ornate for my tastes, but then, if I had the craft to put together a masterpiece of engineering like that, I'd probably want to surround it in gold and pearls as well.
posted by quin at 7:54 AM on September 19, 2011


used by 18th century gentlemen to shoot songbirds.

I took my golden pistol,
out of its handsome box,
i thought I'd go and shoot some little song bird.
i aimed at a lovely nightingale, but hit a crow instead,
"oh dear", said I, "it seems i've killed the wrong bird!"
posted by flapjax at midnite at 7:55 AM on September 19, 2011


I took my golden pistol,
out of its handsome box,


Hey! Wait a minute... 5 lines of 18th C verse without one reference to Greek myth? I am suspicious....
posted by GenjiandProust at 9:23 AM on September 19, 2011


Me too.
posted by Pallas Athena at 9:28 AM on September 19, 2011 [5 favorites]


"i think it's a great chance for mankind that these two objects have survived in such great condition"

...or for the super rich who bought them!
posted by beerbajay at 10:11 AM on September 19, 2011


NO WIRELESS. LESS SPACE THAN A NOMAD. (gold) lamé.

Also the birds don't have bees in their mouths, and when they chirp, they don't shoot bees.
posted by blue_beetle at 10:15 AM on September 19, 2011 [1 favorite]


This is a gold toy pistols. All craftsdwarfship is of the highest quality. It is studded with pearl and encrusted with diamond. On the item is an image of a lion in gold. On the item is an image of a stag in gold. On the item is an image of a bird in gold and bird feather. The bird is singing. The image relates to the paying of a large quantity of money to Frères Rochat of Geneva in 1820.
posted by darksasami at 10:29 AM on September 19, 2011 [6 favorites]


Finally, you can kill with kindness.
posted by Tweachzone at 10:33 AM on September 19, 2011


Finally, you can kill with kindness.

Or at least with schmaltz.
posted by The 10th Regiment of Foot at 10:44 AM on September 19, 2011


Personally I'm surprised it's the *only* pair. I mean, you'd think something like that would constantly be in great demand.

Speaking of automata from 1820, ever seen this thing?
posted by Hoopo at 1:36 PM on September 19, 2011


Hoopo, thank you for the link to the caterpillar! It's even more startling than the bird pistol...
posted by of strange foe at 6:50 PM on September 19, 2011


Watching this made me sad. I realized that my frustration and disgust with income inequality and the super-rich now so colors the way I see the world that I can barely appreciate the craftsmanship that went into these. Instead of seeing the exquisite work of a master jeweler, I see $5.8 million that will be spent on smug self-superiority, gathering dust in some private collection, instead of $5.8 million into roads, vaccines, and primary schools. I know this isn't entirely rational, and I don't like that I reflexively contextualize it like this, but there it is.

And, of course, I blame the super-rich for making me feel this way, the fuckers.
posted by kprincehouse at 9:44 PM on September 19, 2011


Kudos to Christies for securing the right guy to pitch these amazing contraptions.
Is there anything Werner Herzog can't do?
posted by DonnyMac at 11:13 PM on September 19, 2011 [1 favorite]


Man, if I had a million dollars, I'd pay it just to be able to take one of these apart.

'Course, I'd never be able to get it back together, so it's just as well that I only have a buck and a half.
posted by carping demon at 12:38 AM on September 20, 2011


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