“Relying on dozens of moving parts including gears, springs, and a bellows, this small contraption built in 1890 was designed to do one thing: perfectly mimic the random chatter of a song bird. At first I expected to hear a simple repeating pattern of tweets, but the sounds produced by the mechanism are actually quite complex and vary in pitch, tone, and even volume to create a completely realistic song. I think if you closed your eyes you might not be able to tell the difference between this and actual birdsong. It’s believed the machine was built 120 years ago in Paris by Blaise Bontems, a well-known maker of bird automata and was recently refurbished by Michael Start over at The House of Automata.”
These are also stunning! The only known matching pair of gold and enamel singing bird pistols that was offered at Christie’s Hong Kong Important Watches sale on 30 May 2011. Among the most valuable and important works of art remaining in private hands, the value and ingenuity of these pistols are beyond description and must be seen and heard to be truly appreciated.