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Leopold Lambert Automaton of a Narghile Smoker

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Clocks, Watches & Scientific Instruments - 2314
Date / Time :
November 03, 2005 10:00AM


Leopold Lambert Automaton of a Narghile Smoker, with papier-mache head, fixed brown paperweight eyes, arched brows, parted lips and mohair moustache, sitting cross-legged on velvet-covered base, a coffee cup in his left hand, in his right a bone agizlik mouthpiece connected by silk rope to the hookah at his feet, the base with five-cam open-spring motor playing two airs, bellows and LB key, in the original collarless velvet jacket edged in looped metal braid, metal-thread embroidered silk cummerbund, gold taffeta harem pants, Turkish slippers and turban, ht. 24 in.

Note: The smoker looks from left to right, inclines his head to inhale from the agizlik which he lifts in his right hand, looks in the opposite direction to exhale, raises the coffee cup in his right hand (two movements) and tilts it to his lips, then lowers his head to take a sip, pauses for a few seconds and exhales again. The smoke is pulled by bellows from the hookah, through the base and body and exhaled through the mouth. The smoking mechanism and the figure's movements are in good working order.

The Narghile Smoker in its two versions was one of Lambert's most enduring automata. Its large size and long cycle (unlike most smokers, this automaton exhales twice for every drag he takes) made the Narghile equally at home in the drawing room and the tobacconists' window. Chapuis illustrates a similar automaton in Automata, a Historical and Technological Study, p. 331, and describes a visit in the early part of the 20th century to what was presumably Leopold Lambert's workshop in the rue Portefoin. "Some years ago the present authors found their way into a little workshop in the Cite, in Paris, where a humble workman spent the greater part of his life making smoking automata. These were admirably made and richly dressed and he exported them to all parts of the world."
Estimate $10,000-15,000


Leopold Lambert Automaton, Leopold Lambert, looped metal braid, metal-thread, Paris, humble workman, Automaton, Hookah, Pakistani culture, Persian culture, Pipe smoking, Smoking, Tobacco