Monday, January 2, 2012


The Maillardet automaton, on display at Philadelphia's Franklin Insistute
Before the invention of the phonograph and electricity, recorded music, playable by amateurs, was still available through the invention of intricate music boxes. These marvels of engineering, using clockwork and pneumatics are still fascinating to young and old. I just took my boys to see one of the greatest collections at the Morris Museum. Check out some of the amazing music boxes and automata on display here:

Another famous automaton has inspired the recent movie Hugo. The 200 year old doll pictured at the top of this post is on display at the Franklin Institute in Philadelphia. It can write three poems and sketch pictures. Imagine the intricate workings behind such a feat.

Here's a trailer for the movie, Hugo:

More details in the New York Times article

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