Phinéas-T.Barnum (1810-1891) - The website of automatons, automata and androids.
Phinéas-T. Barnum (1810-1891), called " The Great Barnum ", created the Barnum-Baily's circus as well as the "American Museum", one of his great works. Alfred Chapuis, the author of A travers les collections d'horlogerie (The clock collections) wrote that—according to Barnum— the Barnum American Museum contained "about 100.000 unusual attractions, such as various living beings (giants, dwarfs, albino, ventriloquists), animals (like dogs and performing fleas) along with dioramas and a wide range of sophisticated automatons."
Phinéas-T.Barnum - The website of automatons, automata and androids.
Phinéas-T.Barnum

Among the automatons was the admirable talking machine—created by Dr Faber from Vienna—which was the mechanical ancestor of the gramophon.... In his Memories, Barnum wrote: "This beautiful machine cost me $20,000 for a 6-month rental. " He added: "I had an infinite number of musician automatons and objects, moving scenes made in Paris and Geneva.

We have good reasons to believe that one of the two replicas of the "Musician" from the Neuchâtel Museum and the Jacquet-Drozets' Grotto became his property too..

Faber's talking machine was part of the Barnum Museum  - The website of automatons, automata and androids.
Dr Faber's talking machine was part of the Barnum Museum

Were they in the United States, then ?

Unfortunately in 1865 a fire broke out in the "American Museum" and the flames from the first floor reached the upper floors —where the animals and mechanical objects were—too quickly. An eye-witness told: " It was a sudden deafening noise of yelling apes, miaowing cats , belling dogs, screaming parrots, growling bears... a kangaroo uttered a distress sound while the birds were fluttering wildly in their cages." No animal could be rescued. Two sperm whales which arrived the week before burnt down into steam. The total loss damage amounted $400,000.

A few months later, P.-T.Barnum who was always in fighting form, acquired new collections and reopened a museum in New York. Unfortunately, neither his optimism nor his amazing daring idea could bring the wonderful automatons—which were created by patient and hardworking clockmakers and mechanics—back to life.

They were all dead, more precisely badly burnt scrap.
Fair freaks exhibited in the Barnum Museum - The website of automatons, automata and androids.
Fair freaks exhibited in the Barnum Museum - The website of automatons, automata and androids.
A few fair freaks exhibited in the Barnum Museum. Some were fake disabled ...but first of all Barnum was a business man.
In their book Les Jaquet-Droz et Leschot (The Jacquet-Drozes and Leschot), Charles Perregaux and F.Louis Perrot give information about another automaton's tragedy: " In Geneva a second female musician was created between 1782 and 1787. It was even more sophisticated than its 10-year elder sister. It could play 16 tunes. It sat at a piano of a new design. Each note can be obtained by the fingers' pressure on the keys. It was also designed with all the movements that gave the illusion of life. Its feet regulated the music tones. Through posters we were able to track this automaton until 1833 when it was about to be sent to Saint-Petersburg along with other automatons. It could then not be traced anymore. We suppose it tragically disappeared at seas after it had burnt down in the fire at the Barnum Circus.

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