Merlin's Mechanical Museum

General vintage slot machine related topics.
Post Reply
pennymachines
Site Admin
Posts: 6650
Joined: Wed Nov 06, 2002 12:12 am
Reaction score: 59
Location: The Black Country

Merlin's Mechanical Museum

Post by pennymachines »

It seems rather shocking that we've never discussed here the early, brilliant contributions to the field of automatics made by John Joseph Merlin. What an apt surname for a mechanical genius whose creations must have seemed close to magic in their day.
JJMerlin.jpg

Born in Belgium in 1735, he worked in Paris as a mathematical instruments maker before moving to London in 1760 where he invented a whole slew of mechanical devices that were ahead of their time.

A collection of his entertaining creations were exhibited for many year's at Merlin's Mechanical Museum, 11 Princes Street, Hanover Square, London, which opened in the 1780s. (Inspired by his visit as a child, Charles Babbage, applied similar mechanical engineering principals to the problem of automatic calculating). Of particular interest to us are Merlin's mechanical music, weighing and measuring machine, tableau vivants, automata (working models), mechanical figures (robots) and an automatic gambling machine.

The latter (about which I've found no details) might qualify this as the world's first amusement arcade. More significantly perhaps, these very popular exhibitions anticipated the arrival of the machine age.

MMM.jpg

Merlin's Swan automaton


Earlier expositions included Maillardet's Magnificent Automatical Exhibition at the Great Room, Spring Gardens, London, Cox's Museum, at the same venue (officially open from 1772 to 1776) and the Spectacle Mécanique at the Great Room, 6 King Street, Covent Garden where Henri-Louis Jaquet-Droz's automata performed in 1776.

chris roadhog
Posts: 134
Joined: Thu Feb 04, 2010 6:18 pm
Reaction score: 0

Re: Merlin's Mechanical Museum

Post by chris roadhog »

WOW!!
User avatar
wembleylion
Posts: 184
Joined: Wed Oct 30, 2013 8:07 pm
Reaction score: 2
Location: Norfolk UK

Re: Merlin's Mechanical Museum

Post by wembleylion »

Mr PM says, Spectacle Mécanique at the Great Room, 6 King Street, Covent Garden where Henri-Louis Jaquet-Droz's automata performed in 1776.

Henri-Louis and his son Pierre worked from the mid to the late 1700's building exquisite clocks and amazing automaton. Such was their reputation that much of their work was purchased by heads of state throughout Europe and China.

This link is 17 minutes long and displays the very best surviving examples of the Jaquet-Droz's work. It is hard to believe that the exquisite craftsmanship of father, son and their craftsmen could produce such remarkable time pieces and automaton considering that they were all hand built using the most basic of tools and working in just daylight or candlelight long, long before the invention of electricity and CNC machines.

It made me wonder if this class of work could be reproduced today.

I hope you enjoy the spectacle you are about to see.

John


speedwell
Posts: 108
Joined: Sat Jan 17, 2009 2:16 pm
Reaction score: 0

Re: Merlin's Mechanical Museum

Post by speedwell »

Would love to see the link but not showing ( at least not to me ). Any chance of putting it up again ?
Thanks
woody2
Posts: 45
Joined: Fri Apr 04, 2014 7:20 pm
Reaction score: 0

Re: Merlin's Mechanical Museum

Post by woody2 »

Wasn't it covered by the BBC4 documentary a few years ago?

http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b0229pbp
User avatar
wembleylion
Posts: 184
Joined: Wed Oct 30, 2013 8:07 pm
Reaction score: 2
Location: Norfolk UK

Re: Merlin's Mechanical Museum

Post by wembleylion »

speedwell wrote: Would love to see the link but not showing ( at least not to me ). Any chance of putting it up again ?
Thanks
Speedwell,
Rather than re-send the link I think it would be better if you fire up You Tube and type JAQUET DROZ CORPORATE MOVIE into the search box and then open from the list.

John
User avatar
badpenny
Forum Moderator
Posts: 7221
Joined: Thu May 05, 2005 12:41 pm
Reaction score: 28
Location: East Midlands

Re: Merlin's Mechanical Museum

Post by badpenny »

speedwell
Posts: 108
Joined: Sat Jan 17, 2009 2:16 pm
Reaction score: 0

Re: Merlin's Mechanical Museum

Post by speedwell »

Dear John,
Thanks for your help.
yours,
Speedwell
Post Reply

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: Semrush [Bot] and 0 guests