Winter Schedule: 9.30-18.00 | Last entry at 16.30

Winter Schedule: 9.30-18.00 | Last entry at 16.30

Drinking Automaton

French
19th century, Lacquered wood, fabric, mechanical parts within glass case

Elegantly dressed as bon vivant, the automaton pours wine into a glass when a coin is slipped into the slot, surely not the first drink of a cheerful evening judging by the look of his ruby cheeks. The automaton of the Franco Maria Ricci collection was acquired in London, where he was given a poppy flower, presumably after the First World War, and where the piece of carpet at his feet was added. Nevertheless, the automaton was certainly built in France. Indeed, it is typical of the production of French firms that had inherited a refined engineering culture and applied it to the invention of complex devices. From 1850 to 1920, the firms Decampes, Lambert, Vichy, and Phalibois shared the market for this kind of production, and it is very likely that one of them was responsible for making the Drinking Automaton.