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Automata and Mechanical Toys Hardcover – August 1, 2002

4.8 out of 5 stars 17 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

No other craft so brilliantly captures the magic of turning a handle, þicking a switch, or pulling a lever to see the unexpected come to life. Automata and Mechanical Toys is a book for anyone drawn to simple, entertaining mechanics. The book features 21 leading makers, each with a distinctive style. With 160 color photos and 100 delightful examples of the craft, the book is a feast for collectors and enthusiasts. A substantial section of the book is devoted to making automata mechanisms, ideal for novices or those wishing to learn new techniques. Illustrated, step–by–step instructions explain how to make a bearings box, which separately houses all the main mechanisms used in automata. The box can then be converted to any mechanism you choose. Rodney Peppé is a winner of the British Toymakers’ Guild Toy of the Year Award; he has had exhibitions of his work at the Victoria & Albert Museum of Childhood. He is also the author of Rodney Peppé’s Moving Toys.

About the Author

Rodney Peppe is well-known for his activity and picture books for the very young. Some of his previous titles include the Little Toy board books, Circus Numbers and Open House.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 160 pages
  • Publisher: Crowood Press (August 1, 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1861265107
  • ISBN-13: 978-1861265104
  • Product Dimensions: 8.7 x 0.7 x 10.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.9 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #230,742 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Brad Alan Sommers on November 24, 2004
Format: Hardcover
Depending on what your interests are, this can be a valuable addition to your library. It is not for collectors, in my opinion, and most of the examples are on the "folk art" side: crude, kitschy, and sometimes even made of junk. There are profiles of a few builders who make complex automata demonstrating fine craftsmanship, such as the wonderful Keith Newstead and John Grayson. I would have preferred to have some detailed explanations of how some of their automata work, though. The REAL strength of this book is if you are beginning to make your own automata and would like to have a "kit" to experiment with. The book contains full sized plans for an experimenter's "kit" which is really nice. I have Robert Addam's "How to Design and Make Automata" and CMT's book, but they both only have crude drawings with no dimensions. I made photocopies of the parts and then used Xylene to transfer directly onto plywood and cut the parts out on a scroll saw, saving a great deal of time and giving me a nice litte platform for experimenting. This alone makes the book a must have for the beginning builder.
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This book is everything you could ask for in book on contemporary artistic automata.
Each chapter has a brief summary of the topic in question -- say tools and materials. Next, each chapter moves on to showcase the work of two or three automata artists with many pictures and a page or two of information about each artist.
The photographs of automata in this book are outstanding. You can really get a sense for the devices, their construction, and most especially, their finishes.
If you love automata, want to see more of them, and want to learn about some of the top automata artists in the contemporary scene, this book is a must-have.
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Format: Hardcover
This is the best book on automata since Flying Pig opened it's doors. Peppe shows how to build your own test board of mechanical movement and provides examples of the best current automata for inspiration. The "test board" is finely crafted, covers a wide range of movements and it's fun to play with too.
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Format: Hardcover
This has got to be one of the best books on the subject of automata and mechanical theatre. There are lots of great color pictures and diagrams to build your own automata. Worth the money!
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Format: Hardcover
I'm just trying to learn to make automata. I find this book the best that I've found so far, for beginning to understand the complexities of gears, cams and levers used in making automata.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
With out a doubt this is one of the finest of the books that I have bought to teach you about things of wood that have movement associated with them. Most all of my book that I have bought have helpful information, techniques, and tips but to me this one is a stand out. Great full color pictures to help you learn and visualize the mechanical movements in these great wooden toys and structures.
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Format: Hardcover
If you like this kind of thing - then you are going to love this book! The range of different toys is amazing and seeing them in a historical perspective is fascinating. It really shows that simple machines can be beautiful and amazing.
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The book certainly has nice and inspiring pictures of great automata. To a certain extent, some of the concepts of automata are defined. But largely, the chapters are devoted to eccentric and creative automata artists who inspire more by examples than theories.
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