|WHAT IS A SINGING BIRD???
|For more than 200 years a few dedicated individuals, their families, and
subsequent companies have continuously produced Mechanical Singing Bird
Automata (also known as Singing Bird Tabatieres). These intricate and ingenious
mechanical devices were for many years only available to royalty and the very
wealthy. While still highly exclusive and a luxury item, these singing bird as
You will find birds in cages, birds in boxes, birds in floral arrangements, birds
that flit between branches, birds with clocks and extravagant ormolu, birds inside
nests in antique music boxes, and even birds in the original Faberge eggs from the
moving bird (usually done at least in real feathers -- but often (in the old pieces) a
real taxidermist-prepared bird), and a bright clear series of whistles that are
remarkable for their similarity to real birds.
Originally the French and Swiss (Jaquet-Droz, Frisard, Bruguier, Rochat) invented
and perfected the mechanisms. For the longest time each piece was individually
created, signed, and had its own quirks. Bontems in France and ultimately several
German companies (including Eschle and Griesbaum) were able to create
techniques that allowed a bit higher production and lowered the costs (a bit!).
Today there are only two manufacturers in the world with the rights and know-how
to continue this wonderful tradition. Reuge during the 1900s purchased Bontems
and Eschle and has continuously advanced these mechanisms until today.
Griesbaum stopped production in the 1980s but the assets, designs, and tooling
were purchased and reopened just a few years ago by MMM of Germany.
Each era of mechanical bird design has its own charm and dedicated collectors.
Reuge and Griesbaum continue to innovate and add bird songs and enhancements
to the mechanisms. Qualified repairers can bring your long-deceased birds back to
life. Some of the older bird boxes have more than 1000 moving parts. The
modern pieces still have a few hundred pieces.
Thanks for being a part of keeping the tradition alive.
|Click on the picture to the left to see/hear
a mid-19th century Griesbaum box,
clieck on the picture on the right to
see/hear a modern-era Reuge bird box.
|We are sold out of "Flights of Fancy" by Sharon and Christian Bailly --
one of two definitive books on Singing Bird Automata.
|If you don't see what you are looking for we have relationships with
numerous dealers and auction houses and can quickly locate most
items for you. (1.866.EXQUSIT ext. 701)
All of our merchandise can be returned for full refund if you are not completely
satisfied. Check our policy page for additional information.
|Logo, Design, and Images all properties of the original owners. All Rights Reserved.
Copyright 2006 Sisyphus Group, LLC.
|What are Singing Bird Automata?