Twitter Gun

Angry Birds, indeed! Video of a cool weapon automata from the 19th century, in which a little birdie spins on the top of a gun when you fire it. Video is from Christies, the auction house where this oddity is offered. The intricate mechanics are what make this precious device a win; the narrator is what makes the video win.

(via Submitterator, thanks amok69, via from Tree Climber, the blog of goldsmith David Neale)


  1. You know, the Archie McFee catalog sells a similar item, but instead of a bird, it’s a big flag that says ‘bang’ on it.

    Much easier to read from across the room.

  2. Those are fantastic – the sheer ingenuity and precision to get those tiny birds to work is just amazing.

  3. Those so need to be added to every tactical nuclear device the US builds from now on.

  4. Very cool! Even more amazing is that it works well, even until today. I wonder, who was the previous owner?

    1. Put a bird on it INDEED! :-D hahahahah! LOL Portlandia is soooo funny, thanks for the larf.

  5. At first I thought it was a working gun that just happened to have a pretty singing bird inside, which would be fairly dark humor.

    Instead it looks like it’s a novelty gun that only “fires” singing birds, though.

    1. Great – another rich asshole art collector. Gee – we need more of them. Maybe he can stop by a soup kitchen and just show them off. You know, let the little people enjoy them a bit.

      1. Actually, it’s a little known fact that Christies donates 100% of all sales directly to soup kitchens.

      2. To be fair it is pretty unlikely that had there not been some rich asshole collector back in the 19th century these toys wouldn’t even exist today. And modern rich assholes are the only people that can afford to hire specialists to maintain the toys now, and they are the same people who are probably still funding the creation of the kinds of gizmos that people in the 22nd century will be bitching about a contemporary paying 5 billion gooplorks for.

        I seldom envy huge wealth as I’m pretty happy with my very minute material wealth (immense wealth in contrast to the 3rd world, however) but when I see shit like this I really do know what I’d be spending my money of if I had it to spend.

          1. “We should burn all the rich people or eat them, and smash the machines they hold so dear.”

            Great! You can start with your computer!

        1. Thank god for rich a-holes of the early 19th century.
          They fvck up 98% of the people whom they rule/employ/own.
          But, hey, if they happen to commission a brace of
          “bird pistols” and they forget to specify that
          same be buried with them upon death, it’s all good.
          You go, rich a-holes of the early 19th century!

  6. I sooo want! In the age of mass production this stuff just appeals to me more and more. I would love to even just have the 3d files, maybe make a replica someday.

  7. “I shall have sattisfaction, sir, for your tresspasses against my honor. 10 paces, turn, and fire.”

    1..2..3..4..5..6..7..8..9..10 – TURN!


    *Tweeet tweet tweeddle dee deeet dett…*

    “Damnit, Jeeves, you gave me the wrong pistol. I said the one on the night stand by the kangaroo.”

  8. Price realized yesterday: $5,866,499

    Sir, at Christie’s, these fine items do not “realize” their price. They “fetch” it.

  9. My jaw don’t often literally drop. When that little bird popped up I sat with an open mouth for about a minute. Wow!

  10. This may actually be the coolest thing I’ve seen in my entire life. If not, it certainly has to make the top 10 list.

  11. Upon seeing the automata pop up fluff around, I began making noises not dissimilar to the piece itself: eep! eep! ehe! he! ehheeee… (and devolved into giggling fits).

    These are exemplars of masterwork. I hope that the purchaser has the ability to preserve as well as enjoy them. And as for the original owner: supporting art is supporting art. Whether it is on canvas, on the stage, on the page, or intricately crafted out of precious metals and bird feathers.

    Regardless, this makes me much happier than a functioning set of elaborate dueling pistols.

  12. These are wonderful, and I hope the new owner decides to share them with the rest of us (preferably in a museum near me).

  13. God DAMN those rich people.

    Who, uh, pretty much have donated most of the artwork on display at all major museums that I’ve certainly ever been to.

    Yes, damn them to HELL. I’d rather not have ever seen any masterworks at all in my entire life, for having known that they were once/currently owned by RICH people. The BASTARDS.

    Letting me go to their “museums” for the “public” (often for free) so I could observe beautiful things up close and personal, that otherwise I would never, ever get to see in person. My life is much the worse for them, I say!

    1. Do you really have the audacity to demand masterpieces more beautiful than a sunset, a wildflower, and an ocean?

  14. I should point out my posts were all sarcasm I was exhibiting the same attitude some people had towards an photo that sold for millions.

    It was borderline trolling – but maybe it proved a point.

    I have nothing against the rich, and with out them most of the master works of the last 500 years ago would neither have been created or survived.

    1. This is a fallacy. Plenty of people still make art even without the financial incentive of rich people. Hell, it’s arguable some of the better art was made separate from that popular establishment.

      Regardless, let’s ignore all that and just focus on how incredibly awesome this piece of engineering is no matter how it came to be.

      1. Sure – cave men made are for arts sake. But ‘professional’ painters who made a living at it required patrons who could afford to keep them clothed and fed. And once the art was made, you needed people able to keep the art nice and passed down through generations. I imagine there were still some amateur artists, but their works were less likely to survive if they weren’t in a church, palace, or mansion.

        This is less of an issue in the last couple hundred years, and less popular artists of the time are more likely to have surivied. Folk art is both popular and important, but the equivalent of ‘folk art’ from the renaissance is nearly non-existent (I could be mistaken on that, but I can’t ever recall anything about it in my art history classes.) Ancient art has examples of ‘folk art’, in he forms of pottery etc, but things like Greek mosaics, Aztec jade masks, and Egyptian sculpture required skilled artists under the employ of the rich or the rulers.

        But yes – these pistols are nice. People don’t think of guns being super old, but I have seen amazing works by Beretta (the company is still in business today, who make the M-9 for the military and the 92F that a lot of police use, and are known for their shot guns). They are works of art with gold and ivory inlay and around 500 years old.

  15. It is an interesting development in English that Greek/Latin based words which are originally plurals are being interpreted as singular: a visa, an automata. I wonder how long it will take for a musea, a cacti and a discussion fora to take hold.

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