Automata & Working Models (1 of 1) - PennyMachines MUSEUM
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Museum

Automata and Working Models

Automata and working models have their origins in the temple thaumata described by Heron of Alexandria (10 - 70 AD), but they reached a zenith of technical and aesthetic excellence in 19th century France. Automatically collecting coins was a minor extension of an automaton's function. The coin-operated tableaux vivants or working models that became popular in Britain from the end of the 19th century were no great advance on their Greek forebears. At first they were shown in public exhibitions and traveling shows, but by the 1950s they had become a familiar and uniquely British arcade genre. Many appealed to the darker side of the imagination and are part of the British Gothic tradition which brought us such delicacies as The Castle of Otranto and The Curse of the Mummy's Tomb.


 

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The Pharaoh's Tomb

Splendid example of a rare Bollands working model, greatly enhanced by the pseudo-Egyptian glyphs and symbols on the cabinet.

Bollands, 1950s

Yorkshire Pudding

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The Iron Maiden

Dennison, 1930s

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