Mechanical Dolls

The art of automating dolls is probably as old as doll making. In the first century A.D. for example, Petronius refers to a silver doll which could move like a human being. In the 19th century, musical dolls were very popular, and doll makers often collaborated in the production of mechanisms. Jumeau dolls in particular can be found on music boxes of German or Swiss origin.

Walking dolls appeared in Paris as early as 1826, and both France and Germany experimented with this type through the century. But perhaps the best known walking doll of this period was patented in the United States in 1862. This was the Autoperipatetikos, which had legs with metal feet that, when the doll was wound with a key, worked with an alternating movement.