An Early 20thC German Singing Bird Cage Automaton c.1930

Origin: German
Period: Early 20thC
Provenance: Unknown
Date: c.1930
Height: 11.5”
Diameter: 5.75”

The two-bird singing automaton in good working order, being brass-cased with a domed top to hanging ring, the two singing birds chirping for a full two and half minutes on a full wind, the real fathered plumage in yellow/black and red/black amongst leaves and foliage, the circular base cast with garlands of flowers, the whole being raised on three short turned brass feet, the underside with stop start lever and key wind, surviving from 1930s Germany.
In good overall condition the mechanism works perfectly with the two birds both singing and moving in a realistic way. Both the brass and copper cage and mechanical movement are in good age-related condition. Please refer to the video for full visual and audible reference.

The invention of singing bird boxes is attributed to Swiss-born watchmaker Pierre Jaquet-Droz who also played a significant role in the creation of The Writer, a programmable automaton of a writing boy that recently inspired the movie Hugo. The basic device includes the bellows mechanism mentioned above along with a fully articulated bird with a moving beak, rotating head, and flapping wings. Several 18th and 19th century watchmakers including Jacob Frisard, Frères Rochat, and Charles Bruguier, were inspired by Jaquet-Droz’s to create their own opulent variations of singing bird boxes which are highly prized by collectors today. Variations include cigar holders, singing bird guns, and jewellery/makeup boxes.

A truly enchanting sound with which to escape with from this troubled world.