A short history of automata
July 30, 2018 5:55 PM   Subscribe

A nicely illustrated roundup of self-operating machines, from ancient Greece and China, through the 19th-century Golden Age of Automata, to the 2018 AutomataCon (held in Morristown, NJ). From Collectors Weekly. Lots of great links throughout. And don't miss the "related articles" in the sidebar: Attack of the Vintage Toy Robots, The iPod's 4,000-pound Grandfather, and Not Your Grandma’s Cuckoo: Decapitating, Rat-Eating Clocks of the Black Forest. (Previously.)
posted by beagle (4 comments total) 34 users marked this as a favorite
 
The Morris Museum is really worth checking out if you're in northern New Jersey and are at all interested in this sort of thing; if you go, make sure to time it with a demonstration as noted in the article.

Some of the musical automatons are loud (to be better heard over a tavern full of people)--like, can feel it in your rib cage volume--and really do benefit from being experienced in person.

And, alas, it looks like the Kinetic Art contest exhibit is over for this year, but the one for next year should be nifty.
posted by damayanti at 6:35 PM on July 30


The Morris Museum is really worth checking out if you're in northern New Jersey and are at all interested in this sort of thing; if you go, make sure to time it with a demonstration as noted in the article.

Might have to see if I can work a visit to the Morris Museum into my upcoming trip to see North America’s longest painting. I’ll probably be passing right by Morristown.
posted by rodlymight at 7:01 PM on July 30


I need to keep an eye out for that clock with the dog and the rabbit at the yard sales.
posted by lagomorphius at 7:58 PM on July 30 [1 favorite]


We love the Morris Museum, we have been members for many years. I have gone there since I was a child on field trips, as did my children, and my grandkids have visited. It keeps growing and getting better. The Guinness collection is amazing, and the rest of the museum has rotating exhibits of art, sculpture, costume etc. If you have kids or grandkids bring them with you, there are many things for them there, including a giant interactive model train layout. There is a little of everything including a formal room from the original mansion, a Native American exhibit, the rock and mineral room featuring glow in the dark minerals, a big stuffed grizzly bear, and a small dinosaur exhibit. The Kinetic Art this year was great and I look forward to next year.
posted by mermayd at 11:19 AM on July 31


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