From man-eating tigers to the most elegant of robotic birds, some of the earliest automata were tributes to the wonders of the animal kingdom. Here are five of the most astounding mechanical animals. Be sure to watch the videos to see these objects spring into surprising life.
Shown above: The Peacock Clock, still in operation at the State Hermitage Museum in Saint Petersburg, Russia.
Created in 1777 by James Cox, three life-size birds — a peacock, an owl, and a rooster — spring into life singing songs and fluidly moving their bodies. The owl twists its head adorned with glassy eyes, the peacock slowly and grandly lifts its wide tale and turns its neck with lifelike elegance until it flips around to display its full fan of metal feathers, while the rooster crows below. The clock dial is actually a metal mushroom embedded in the intricate clock scene.
For more mechanized animal wizardry, including Tipu’s Tiger, a gilded swan, and Paris’ frozen “In Defense of Time,” continue reading Five Astounding Animal Automata on Atlas Obscura…
William Cowper (1666-1709) was an English surgeon and anatomist.This is his most noted work, and is one of the most beautiful anatomical atlasesof its time. The first edition was published in 1694 and contained ten illustrative plates.Cowper then spent the years until his death on expanding it for the second edition (1724)
Some tutorials that I’ve come across, organized both for my own viewing pleasure and to hopefully assist others as well. I update this list whenever I come across new, helpful pieces.
A lot of these are hosted on my personal Tumblr, but I don’t change my url so it’s pretty safe to bookmark them there (and not have to worry about the url changing) if you don’t wish to reblog them yourself for whatever reason.