The brightly dressed Clown Artist, crank-operated, German lithographed tin toy by Philip
Vielmetter sits at an easel, drawing a caricature of Queen Victoria. The
clown's pencil is controlled by a double cam, a rotating irregular metal plate
which forces the pencil to move along its edges. Watch a video of the Clown Artist here.
In their book, "Mechanical Toys, How Old Toys Work” Athelstan & Kathleen Spilhaus show that although Vielmetter is generally credited with inventing this toy's mechanism, he probably purchased its patent from its English creator, Joseph Walker. Both toys' cams are interchangeable.
Clown Artist was the only toy made by Vielmetter. Although not as rare as the Joseph Walker Drawing Artist it is nonetheless a scarce mechanical toy and only occasionally surfaces at auctions.
Production date: Around 1895
Condition: very good (some plating and paint losses)
Automata and Mechanical Toys, Mary Hillier
Mechanical Toys, Charles Bartholomew
Art of the Tin Toy, David Pressland
Collecting Tin Toys, Jack Tempest
Magic: Stage Illusions, Special Effects and Trick Photography, Albert A. Hopkins, 1898 (extract here)