A superb antique drinking polar bear musical automaton, by Roullet &
One for the road...
When a sufficient volume of water is deposited into his cup, movement wound and start/stop rod actuated, the standing polar bear performs one of the most startling actions ever performed, by pouring the water from canister held in his right hand into the silvered cup held in his left, the canister is returned to upright position, then he lifts the cup to his mouth, tipping head gently to take a big gulp. The cup returns to the midway position and then he repeats the feat by pouring the water from canister to cup and drinking again and again in a perpetual cycle until the spring power ends after around four minutes.
Separate musical accompaniment from cylinder movement wound and started by pull-string wind issuing from his back with cream painted ball terminal.
The bear of solid paper mâché construction, carved and cream painted paws and feet with good black nail details, light olive green glass eyes, fully covered in the white rabbit fur, silvered cup with moulded edge and silvered finished canister clad with a band of brown leather. Open mouth with visible teeth to both rows in bone, loose red tongue and black shiny nose.
Standing upon red rexine covered box base with full width single frieze drawer for storage lined in cream silk and hoop and boss nickel pull to front.
Start/stop rod to upper back, winding spindle to his right side.
Size - 9in. Wide, 7in. Deep, 20in. High - (23 x 18 x 51cm).
Point of Interest -
The trick here demonstrates one of the classic performances tried and tested to audiences the world over by stage professionals - the endless drink in a bottle. There is no secret storage other than the canister, which has an open top for inspection, nor has the cup got anything obvious to hide. It is done using the power of gravity, for when his cup arm lifts, the water simply runs through a tube exiting the bottom of the cup, runs down the inside of the arm and all the way around the back of his neck, down his other arm and into the canister. Very simple, but extremely effective.
This superb example, retaining all fur, the period paintwork and his cup and can, is in untouched and in a fully operative state. He makes a certain impression no other automaton from the heart of the Golden Age does.
And in style of course...