His workshop started in the 1770s the theme of the bird cage that will deserve a great success. The song of the bird is obtained by a miniature mechanical organ named serinette with a unique note per pipe. Six pipes are enough to provide the illusion of a high variety.
In the middle of the next decade, Pierre Jaquet-Droz is associated with his son Henri-Louis and with Jean-Frédéric Leschot and engages the best mechanicians of Geneva including Henri Maillardet and Jacob Frisard. The trend to miniaturization increases and Frisard invents around 1784 the box that throws out the songbird at opening and folds it back at closing.
Success invites for the diversification of models and the integration of these mechanisms in enamelled goldware of highest luxury. The Chinese imperial court is interested in these innovations. From London, the clever entrepreneur James Cox maintains trade relations with the Far East.
On June 11 in New York, Sotheby's sells a sumptuous automaton with an articulated singing bird made by Jaquet-Droz, Leschot and Frisard circa 1786 and sold to Cox in 1787, certainly for the Chinese market.
This piece 16 cm high has the shape of a scent flask with its stopper and also incorporates a watch, as it was often the case in this range of products. The size of the bird, 12 mm high, demonstrates the extreme miniaturization achieved by Jaquet-Droz at the time of Frisard.
This automaton is estimated $ 800K, lot 104. It is the first of three Swiss mechanical wonders operated by Sotheby's in the video below: