Amazing antique automaton on eBay

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This incredible antique automaton, circa 1915-1925, just sold on eBay for $1,775. It's 32" high and 16" wide. The auction listing says it may have been "a knight from a King Arthur type of display." I think it'd look right at home in a crucifixion scene. I hope the buyer completely restores and revives the (holy) ghost in this machine. From the eBay listing:
ORIGINAL MECHANISM AND PAPER MACHE HEAD. ARMS ARE WOOD AND POSSIBLY MADE BY SCHOENHUT. GLASS EYES. ELECTRIC MOTOR CAM DRIVEN MULTIPLE ACTION MECHANISM. WORKS FINE, HEAD MOVES FROM LEFT TO RIGHT. EYES MOVE LEFT TO RIGHT, AND EYELIDS OPEN AND CLOSE. BREATHING ACTION AS A CHEST PANEL RISES AND FALLS. OUT OF AN ESTATE IN STATEN ISLAND , NEW YORK. POSSIBLY FROM HAPPYLAND AMUSEMENT PARK . BELIEVED TO BE A KNIGHT FROM A KING ARHTUR TYPE OF DISPLAY. THE MAKER IS SAID TO BE WILLIAM H AND CHARLES W COOK OF COOK STUDIOS AT 550 EAST DUPONT STREET,ROXBOROUGH PHILADELPHIA, PENNSYLVANIA. MAKERS OF DISPLAYS, AND ADVERTISING DISPLAYS.
Link (Thanks, Kirsten Anderson and Andrew Brandou!)

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  1. Are you kidding me? That’s the bearded lady!
    At least the head looks very female to me, were it not for the ‘stache and the beard.

  2. Okay, but that’s not an automaton. Automatons are… autonomous. Clockwork automaton’s are self-powered and self-controlling — all the machinery is inside, no outside control/power required.

    If electricity is externally supplied I might be willing to accept it AS LONG AS the devise itself made all on/off power decisions.

  3. THE OTHER MICHAEL,

    I don’t know…some may disagree. Many motorized animated scenes are regarded as automata. Take for example the Chinese Magician Automaton performing the “transported lady” act. This piece, recently sold by Skinner Auctioneers, is driven by an electric motor. Many of the famous French automata makers made motorized automata — often for window displays — once electric motors became available.

    Regards,

    Dug North

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