More Machine Now Than Bird
December 6, 2012 10:50 AM   Subscribe

120 years ago, in Paris, Blaise Bontems made a mechanism for reproducing birdsong. More recently, Michael Start restored it to working condition and recorded a video.

Michael Start previouslies: 1, 2.
posted by gilrain (8 comments total) 19 users marked this as a favorite

 
Enchanting! The little air bellows is reminiscent of a Serinette, an 18th century music box for teaching songs to pet birds. Bird organ.
posted by Erasmouse at 12:07 PM on December 6, 2012 [1 favorite]


I would totally pay into a Kickstarter to replicate these.
posted by mykescipark at 12:32 PM on December 6, 2012


This is amazing. Those little bellows are the coolest!
posted by jonbro at 1:19 PM on December 6, 2012


My dog, who couldn't care less about videos of howling wolves or squeaky pomeranian puppies, woke up immediately and peered intently out the window when I played the video.
posted by oneirodynia at 1:33 PM on December 6, 2012


Once upon a time in the middle of nowhere in Central New York there was a museum that included one of these... except that it had the tiny bird automaton with it, and the gorgeous case that held them. The collection owner would bring this thing out for visitors, carefully wind it and let it go. Astonishing.

The Deansboro Music Museum collection is now scattered to the winds. While it existed it was a wonder, and I recall that tiny bird was a major highlight.
posted by kinnakeet at 2:45 PM on December 6, 2012


This is the greatest thing I’ve ever seen.
posted by bongo_x at 5:08 PM on December 6, 2012 [1 favorite]


They are good, but a hundred years before that, Maillardet built an automaton that could write. And draw.
posted by BWA at 7:06 PM on December 6, 2012 [1 favorite]


Missed this post here at Mefi, saw it posted from a Facebook friend today, and was just now about to make an FPP on it here. Ya beat me to it by six days, gilrain! Which, in internet terms, might as well be an eternity. Or at least 120 years.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 9:44 PM on December 8, 2012


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