Lately the world has been all a-buzz about the newest iPhone, but innovative technology is nothing new. The late 18th c. cabinet in this video clip combines ingenious mechanisms to reveal hidden drawers and secret cubbies plus musical fanfares, and disguises it all inside a breathtakingly beautiful piece of cabinetry.
Here's the description:
One of the finest achievements of European furniture making, this cabinet is the most important produced from Abraham (1711-1793) and David Roentgen's (1743-1807) workshop. A writing cabinet crowned with a chiming clock, it features finely designed marquetry panels and elaborate mechanisms that allow for doors and drawers to be opened automatically at the touch of a button. Owned by King Frederick William II, the Berlin cabinet is uniquely remarkable for its ornate decoration, mechanical complexity, and sheer size. This cabinet is from Kunstgewerbemuseum, Staatliche Museen zu Berlin.
As is the case with the wonderful clockwork automatons from the same era (such as this, this, and this), I'm amazed by not only the skill and artistry that created these pieces, but also that they have survived. I also wonder how all the buttons and triggers were discovered. Could there still be one more secret hidden somewhere inside?
Many thanks to our good friend Chris Woodyard for spotting this video first.
There’s a big difference in how we use history. But we’re equally nuts about it. To us, the everyday details of life in the past are things to talk about, ponder, make fun of -- much in the way normal people talk about their favorite reality show.
We talk about who’s wearing what and who’s sleeping with whom. We try to sort out rumor or myth from fact. We thought there must be at least three other people out there who think history’s fascinating and fun, too. This blog is for them.