On this page I want to tell you about the Paul Gugelmann Museum.
Probably most of you don't know about the Paul Gugelmann Museum in Schönenwerd, Switzerland, because the web page (www.gugelmann-museum.ch) is not revealing much what will be seen in the museum and Paul Gugelmann never did sell his automata to private collections, his work was always accessible to the public and therefore never a subject on the big art market.
The museum is situated in a beautiful building which was used as granary in old times. The guides (all volunteers!) lead you through the three floors of the house and show you over 40 pieces in action!
Within more than one hour you dive into beautiful mechanical poetry. Attention: because of the museum not being an international touristic attraction (I ask myself why?) the tours are very rarely done in English. But if you ask in advance somebody might be available at your arrival.
If you really like to see things moving it is worth a visit!
View of the ground floor:
View of the 1st floor:
View of the 2nd floor:
As a small appetizer I show you three of the machines which can be seen in the museum.
One of the oldest automata made by Paul Gugelmann: Crescendo, 1964
This sculpture is actioned by three steam motors which movement is accompanied by the sound of a xylophone and a carillon.
Due to the fact that operating it with steam would be quite time and work intensive (heat it up before the museum opens and keep it running during the opening hours) the machine now works with air pressure (as also all other former steam machines).
Detail view of Fehlkonstruktion II (Misconstruction II), 1978, spring motor driven.
The laurel crown on the head is outwards a visible symbol of success. But in the interior it looks differently: on the knocking of the bird the decorated head opens and makes visible withered laurel crowns. The newspaper articles become visible, they represent the knowledge; but the crowing cock and the continous knocking of the woodpecker show that the exterior appearance is misleading.
View of Cristobal, 1973 (spring motor driven).
Great effort for small effect! To have a small hand scratching him the back at the desired intensity, Cristobal actions from time to time a command with his right hand. With the help of his feet he puts into action the great mechanic system.
Merci Paul Gugelmann for the beautiful work you and I hope to meet you soon again!
By the way:
He is now 82 years old (born 1929) and still working every day in his workshop! His creativity and and insistence to work every day is very impressing and inspiring.