This 200-Year-Old Windup Gun Is Extravagant

Who needs TV when you have 19th century automatons?

by Beckett Mufson
Jan 28 2016, 5:15pm

Screencap via

Leave a cuckoo clock and an antique pistol in a dim room with Barry White's complete discography, and the result might look something like this 200-year-old wind-up gun, recently restored by Swiss watchmakers Parmigiani Fleurier. Likely created in 1815, this automaton has had a rough life, enduring no less than five shoddy attempts to be fixed before Parmigiani Fleurier did it properly.

Designers had to take every mechanism and gaudy decoration apart and put it back together to get the slick action seen in its demonstration video, The Pistol and its Songbird. Shaped like a double-barreled calvary pistol, the piece hides an elaborate system of clockwork mechanisms that combine to "fire" a tiny metal songbird from the muzzle. It pops out, sings a cheery tune, does a little dance, then slips back from whence it came. Watch the whole show in action in the video below.

Learn more about Parmigiani Fleurier on their website


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