1890s mechanical device sounds exactly like a bird singing

Originally published at: https://boingboing.net/2020/12/02/1890s-mechanical-device-sounds-exactly-like-a-bird-singing.html


I think I saw one like this on The Repair Shop but sadly that episode is not available on iPlayer at present, so no link.
Here’s the preamble of the object being brought it, but I cannot find any more. It shows the birdcage and model birds the mechanism made sounds for. But nothng about the repair and no sight of the innards.


I love this series on Netflix.

I assume this means you are getting only the early series. (First couple of series?)

More recent series on BBC1 have tended to lose some of the actual repair process detail (very annoyingly) and amp up the ‘let’s get all the human interest and emotions on camera’ angle to the extent of making the repairers ask the repetitively asinine question ‘what does this mean to you’ even when the person has just told them the back story that tells us exactly what this means to them.

I think they should now rename it “The Emotional Personal Nostalgia Show with Incidental Repairs”

They’ve moved it to prime time on the main channel under the assumption it was all the crying that everyone watched it for. Many of us watched it out of fascination with the repair process and skills deployed - the very bit they are now marginalising. It is very telling that the bit the BBC allows on YouTube is the bit that contains zero info about the mechanism or the repair itself.

Sigh. Something about lawns.


it’s fooled my kitten, Gremlin, who is at this moment trying to figure out where exactly the bird is in my tablet.


Having studied avian anatomy at Steam Punk U., this is remarkably similar to how actual birds produce sounds.

Likewise. This video certainly got my cats’ collective attention.

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I recently got rid of a 1980’s Frigidaire refrigerator that made a similar noise.

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This would be nice to go under a bird feeder.

I knew the swiss used kid leather to make the bellows so am guessing that what
they got here

There are only a few books written on the subject, and a handful of restorers of these.

Automata repair is really the only thing above things like clockwatches and minute repeater watches.

This makes total sense, since birds are robots.

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My grandmother had one of them. =)

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