05-03-2005 05-04-2005
Skinner Auctions
Skinner Auctions Bolton MA
May 3, 2005 10:00AMCalender

Scarce American Walking Automaton

Auction: Clocks, Watches & Scientific Instruments - 2283 Location: Bolton Date / Time: May 03, 2005 10:00AM


Scarce American Walking Automaton, possibly by Jerome Secor, the French bisque swivel-head with shoulderplate, closed mouth, outlined lips, fixed blue rayed eyes, arched feathered brows, pierced ears with blue bead earrings, and original blonde mohair wig, on papier-mache body with leather arms, individually stitched fingers and fabric-covered "skirt" containing the open-spring motor with stop/start (on underside) driving two large spoked front wheels and a small swiveling wheel for altering the direction, wearing original mauve silk walking outfit (fragile) with short train and fob chain at the waist, ht. 12 1/2 in.

Note: Jerome B. Secor of Bridgeport, Connecticut, began by manufacturing sewing machines and later obtained space at the Ives' factory after becoming interested in mechanical toys. In 1873 he exhibited singing bird automata at the World's Fair in Vienna. In addition to advertising various black folk characters (such as Brudder Bones and Sister Lucinda), Secor also imported classical bisque heads from France for several versions of his piano-player. Surviving examples of his toys tend to be larger and more complex than contemporary American figures, closer in style to French automata.
Estimate $1,800-2,500


Jerome Secor, France, Jerome B. Secor, bisque swivel-head , Connecticut, Ives' factory, Bridgeport