Profile of a whimsical arcade machine maker

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That was a good laugh, thanks BB!


Phück, that was evilly brilliant on so many phücken’ levels…


Mr. Hunkin is great! I still regularly watch The_Secret_Life_Of_Machines whenever I need to cool down and relax.


Mr. Hunkin’s machines are wonderful, subversive fun! They reminds me of an exhibit of Victorian automata I saw as a boy (probably) at the British Museum in London, circa 1972. There were several clever machines, but the one I remember best had a chap sitting in a barber’s chair. The chair tips back, comes back empty, and an outsized pie pops out of an oven set below the barber shop floor. Not until years later did I realize it was automating the Sweeney Todd story.

I was lucky enough to meet Tim and tour his workshop in Suffolk a few years ago with some friends (I’m part of a group of geeky jugglers who meet around that time of year to camp out, throw things at each other and occasionally make stuff like trebuchets, programmable badges and pewter medallions. Yes it’s as niche and as fun as it sounds). He’s a lovely chap and the workshop is just as you might imagine: full of machine tools, materials, strange sculptures and left-over projects. At the time he was working on some clever counterbalanced gates for the lion enclosure at a zoo in London (yes, he’s a proper engineer as well!) and one of his arcade machines for the Southwold Under the Pier show which simulated an attack on an oligarch’s yacht by pirates - you bounce up and down on a seat to make your boat go faster. I asked him if he thought of himself as an artist or an engineer - he said ‘an artist for tax reasons and an engineer if I need to get out of a conversation at a party’. More about him at


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