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Automata and Mechanical Toys [Hardcover]

Rodney Peppe
4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
RRP: £20.00
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Book Description

26 Aug 2002
Automata and mechanical toys delight children and adults alike with the beauty of their design and the excitement of their movement. This book explains how the mechanisms work and celebrates many leading makers. The book covers the history of automata and mechanical toys, including the early inventors from Hero of Alexandria, through the mechanical marvels of the 18th and 19th centuries, to contemporary automata. Also included is advice on how to get started; tools and materials required; and techniques together with step-by-step instructions and theme projects based on the author's 12 days of Christmas.

Frequently Bought Together

Automata and Mechanical Toys + 507 Mechanical Movements: Mechanisms and Devices + Making Simple Automata
Price For All Three: £29.98

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 160 pages
  • Publisher: The Crowood Press Ltd (26 Aug 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1861265107
  • ISBN-13: 978-1861265104
  • Product Dimensions: 26.7 x 22.4 x 1.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 206,235 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

About the Author

Rodney Peppe is author-illustrator of over eighty children's books, and creator of Huxley Pig and Angelmouse for television. Rodney Peppe's Moving Toys was published in 1980, and this led to his toymaking. He rarely sells, but exhibits in one-man shows at venues including the V&A Museum of Childhood and the National Theatre.

Inside This Book (Learn More)
First Sentence
People are often puzzled about the meaning of the word 'automata', but they usually know what a 'mechanical toy' is, and many have fond memories of a favourite wind-up animal or human figure. Read the first page
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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Customer Reviews

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4.8 out of 5 stars
4.8 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars My comments on the Automata Book 4 Mar 2011
Quality book. This guy has not just put together a few plans, and some nice shots. He's attempting to explain how to aquire the skills. He gives you the kick start. Sorts out the basics well, and then as any reasonable person knows - it's up to you.
I actually bought another book at the same time which also attempted to teach automata (same price). I won't name it. But put it this way, I only looked at it twice. I'm reading this book instead. It's good. He's not just a craftsman - he can write. If you want to know the basics - then get it.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Kind of a text book 21 Mar 2013
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
This seems to be arranged for a course on making modern automata. It has a brief history and sections profiling and reviewing, mostly British, modern automata artists. The photos of their work are very nice, and it is interesting to have quotes from them.

The "how-to" section is very explanatory, but not really inspiring. It is arranged so you can build sort of a demonstration cabinet of mechanisms, but it is not very charming. If you can translate the bits and bobs straight away into your own creation, it is a good source, but if you build what you're supposed to, you'll die of boredom before you finish.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Automata and Mechanical toys 28 Sep 2013
By Nelson1
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Although used the book is in perfect condition and arrived quickly by post. This is a very good introduction to basic automatons.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Moving swiftly on 15 Jun 2014
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
I bought this book before I retired as a Design and Technology teacher in a secondary school. I found the projects to be excellent for the more able students in a subject which is increasingly turning to CAD/CAM. While I understand that students should be familiar with the processes used in "real life" I think it is essential that they also understand how to use hand tools and basic materials. This is one of several books I bought which I believe further this ideal and highly recommend it, especially for after-school clubs. There is also the fact that kids love things which do something, and this book is filled with that kind of project.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.8 out of 5 stars  13 reviews
65 of 67 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Good Buy for Beginning Builders 25 Nov 2004
By Brad Alan Sommers - Published on Amazon.com
Depending on what your interests are, this can be a valuable addition to your library. It is not for collectors, in my opinion, and most of the examples are on the "folk art" side: crude, kitschy, and sometimes even made of junk. There are profiles of a few builders who make complex automata demonstrating fine craftsmanship, such as the wonderful Keith Newstead and John Grayson. I would have preferred to have some detailed explanations of how some of their automata work, though. The REAL strength of this book is if you are beginning to make your own automata and would like to have a "kit" to experiment with. The book contains full sized plans for an experimenter's "kit" which is really nice. I have Robert Addam's "How to Design and Make Automata" and CMT's book, but they both only have crude drawings with no dimensions. I made photocopies of the parts and then used Xylene to transfer directly onto plywood and cut the parts out on a scroll saw, saving a great deal of time and giving me a nice litte platform for experimenting. This alone makes the book a must have for the beginning builder.
25 of 27 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Must for Automata Enthusiasts! 9 Jun 2003
By Dug North - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
This book is everything you could ask for in book on contemporary artistic automata.
Each chapter has a brief summary of the topic in question -- say tools and materials. Next, each chapter moves on to showcase the work of two or three automata artists with many pictures and a page or two of information about each artist.
The photographs of automata in this book are outstanding. You can really get a sense for the devices, their construction, and most especially, their finishes.
If you love automata, want to see more of them, and want to learn about some of the top automata artists in the contemporary scene, this book is a must-have.
16 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent book! Great color pictures and diagrams 10 Jun 2003
By Karl Williams - Published on Amazon.com
This has got to be one of the best books on the subject of automata and mechanical theatre. There are lots of great color pictures and diagrams to build your own automata. Worth the money!
6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Clear directions and eye candy too. 8 Nov 2006
By Jennifer L. Wolcott - Published on Amazon.com
This is the best book on automata since Flying Pig opened it's doors. Peppe shows how to build your own test board of mechanical movement and provides examples of the best current automata for inspiration. The "test board" is finely crafted, covers a wide range of movements and it's fun to play with too.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars learning automata 3 Sep 2009
By Robert Jeffery - Published on Amazon.com
I'm just trying to learn to make automata. I find this book the best that I've found so far, for beginning to understand the complexities of gears, cams and levers used in making automata.
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