Where mechanics meet magic, birds, & music

Hello dear readers! I’ve had some great projects come in and out of the shop recently, so I thought I’d share with you one of my favorites.

Below is a beautiful clown magician by Gustav Vichy recently completed here at Memoria Technica.



Made to pay homage to magicians past and enchant viewers, the clown uses his handkerchief to transform the rat in his hat to a cat!


Magic has been a long standing theme in automata. This clip of the magician’s box from a recent sale at Sothebys is one of the finest examples of this type. Complete with a set of tokens that you insert to ask age old questions. What is most fleeting in life? ::love:: What is most precious? ::time::


Some of the worlds greatest magicians were also horologists. Take clockmaker and magician Jean Eugène-Robert Houdin (1805-1871) for example and his famous orange tree trick. Below is a clip from The Paul Daniels Magic Show, demonstrating a recreation of the famous tree. I urge you to watch full episodes of the Paul Daniels show. The nostalgia of the early ones is amazing….


I am sure many of you know the name Fabergé. Goldsmith and artisan Peter Carl Fabergé made a beautiful version of the orange tree, known as the Bay Tree Egg (1911), containing a singing bird. As you can see below, a very likely homage to the world renowned artisan and magician.

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Image from the Fabergé Museum


Hopefully that has peaked your curiosity a bit and now you are inspired to dig into the history of magic. The lecture I recently gave at the Stimson Green Mansion to kick off the Horological Lecture Series covered this and a lot more. The next one promises to be just as engaging. David Lindow will be coming out to deliver the history and development of the rose engine and talk about creating the world’s most versatile (and beautiful! if I don’t say so myself!) rose engine lathe. Come join us May 15th! There will be wine and hors d’oeuvres to enjoy, as well as beautiful turnings by David to admire.

Here are photos from the last event, so if you didn’t make it you certainly will be tempted to come this time around. Tickets are available here.

Become a sponsor and receive some extra perks. I couldn’t host this series without sponsorship, as it is organized and funded by Memoria Technica in an effort to promote these esoteric topics and make them available to a wider audience. I am very grateful to those who have already sponsored the series, making the first two lectures possible!

As a sponsor, enjoy reserved front row seats and other goodies, such as the reissue of the Sacred Geometry Coloring book. The original release of 300 has now sold out, so Al Colins and I teamed up again to create some new patterns for the second edition. It will have a few other bonuses as well, straight from Mike Stacey of the MADE lathe team! I’ve just picked up the covers, printed on thick black stock with silver foil and white leaf. It’s also available for pre-order here.  There will also be another limited special edition (of 24), which will be out this fall.


In other news, I recently returned from giving a talk to the Horological Society of New York on my work with bellows materials in smoking automata. If you’ve been curious about the smoker and the machine I made, the talk is available here to see, as well as a meeting recap. I urge you to join the society if you have an interest in horology. You don’t have to be a New Yorker to enjoy the lectures, as they are all available online with membership.


I also had the pleasure of speaking about my work and the art of guilloché to the Seattle Metals Guild last week. It was a lot of fun introducing the topic to so many new people. If you’re local to Seattle and are interested in anything metals, I highly recommend joining the Guild.


Speaking of guilloché, David and I still have a spot left in our intermediate and two in our advanced classes! I’m not sure when we’ll be able to offer these classes next, as we both have a lot on in our individual workshops for the foreseeable future. So this may be your last chance to come and take a class with the dynamic Mr. Lindow here at Memoria Technica for a little while. Now is the time; register here.

Below are some photos from our earliest classes at the shop and different student projects. Hope to see you soon!