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Machines
Art Deco Majesty
A Clockwork Folly
An Old Brownie Movie Camera Put To Bad Use
The Zig-Zagging Rolling Ball Machine
Ballet With Three Pendulums
Art Deco Elegance And The Mystery Arm
Victor Rat Trap No. 1
Victor Rat Trap No. 2
Victor Rat Trap No. 3
Wimshurst Electrical Discharge Machine
Up One Spiral And Down The Other
Mechanical Snakedance
The Altar Of Complexity
La Grande Machine: A Towering Mechanical Symphony
About
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Mechanical Contrivances That Both Delight And Confound
 

 Machines are usually designed to perform some useful function. However, without apology, I have designed my machines to do absolutely nothing 'useful'! Instead, my machines are simply meant to be amusing celebrations of mechanical movement...mechanical design for its own sake.

In keeping with the aesthetics and technology of the past, I not only use fine woods and carefully machined brass (as well as the occasional found object), I refuse to have any of my machines powered by electricity. Rather, all of my machines are powered by either weights, falling balls, clockwork springs, or simply by hand.

The use of weights and springs presents many design challenges, mainly because one is dealing with a very limited amount of 'power'. Thus, one must be exceedingly careful and creative in designing mechanisms that have very little friction. It is not easy. Many things can (and do) go wrong, especially since my machines have become increasingly more complex over the years.

In my opinion, the video footage of my machines pales in comparison with actually experiencing them in person. Not only is there something satisfying about the smell of the wood and the feel of the brass, many people find themselves pleasantly hypnotized watching my machines go through their various gyrations.

While most of these machines are not for sale, I have recently begun making machines that are intended for sale. I'm also receptive to the idea of building other custom machines on a commissioned basis. So, please contact me if you are interested in such possibilities.

All in all, I don't consider my machines to be 'fine art', and the woodworking was certainly not meant to overwhelm the engineering design. Rather, these machines are highly original mechanical creations in which I have attempted to combine engineering, visual aesthetics, and fine craftsmanship into something amusing that feels right to me.

I hope you enjoy my machines.

Edmund Dohnert

 
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