Antique Black smoker automaton, by Gustave Vichy


An exceptionally rare antique standing black smoker automaton, by Gustave Vichy,




circa 1890


The ultimate Golden Age automaton in fully original and smoking condition, the best example offered to the world at last...


when fully wound and a lit cigarette placed into his turned horn cigarette holder held in right hand, he lifts it to his mouth then pausing briefly before inhaling he lifts his head back to exhale smoke from mouth and nose, and moving head to side whilst lowering left hand, then pausing for another inhale whilst nodding head before completing the sequence again, and all the while opening and closing eyelids and opening and closing mouth in pure true-to-life manner. 

With single-spring motor and Vichy signed four-pillar movement to five cam-stack, twin valve smoke bellows within halved papiér-maché torso, painted papiér-maché face and hands, dressed in the original Vichy clothes of white pleated silk shirt with collar, cream waistcoat and matching bow-tie, red jacket, black trousers and shoes to green velvet covered base, finished with beige top hat.


31in. high, 7in. base depth, 9in. base width - (78.7cm x 17.8 x 22.9cm)


Points of interest -


Very few antique automatons of this level appear in totally original condition.  With the limited number of smoking automatons made in the late 19th century, this smoking model is highly prized as being so lifelike in motion, auidiences are always capivated and stop in their tracks to witness the action.

When aquired, the bellows were full of tar and nicotine   - much the same as human lungs are affected by smoking.  After a very delicate cleaning operation and bellow valve linings renewed, he smokes now as he did when he left the famous Vichy factory.


Be prepared to be amazed...

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