Posted Friday, Dec. 7, 2012, at 5:20 PM
Sometimes you don’t know you need a device until you’ve seen it—or heard it.
A newly restored automaton created in the 1890s uncannily recreates bird calls through an elaborate mechanical process, chirping with remarkable cadence and range. Likely created by the Parisian craftsman Blaise Bontems, who specialized in such devices, the nifty contraption works through a series of springs and gears interacting with one another.
Several generations of the Bontems apparently created the unique musicboxes into the 1950s.
The device’s uncanny songs led one YouTube user to accuse it of “witchcraft.” It’s either that or the work of an inventor who had more charming preoccupations than today’s hypercompetitive tech landscape allows