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Clockwork automaton portraying the storybook character Puss in Boots. The realistically formed cat is made from fur over paper mache, has glass eyes, and wears a red silk cape and a satchel around his neck. His black boots are made of plaster. The head nods back and forth, movement generated by internal clockworks mechanism, with winding key in his back under the cape, the jaw is hinged and opens and closes as the head nods.
Driven by spring-wound clockwork mechanisms, which also drove the clocks of the era, automaton dolls were capable of multiple movements and became fashionable entertainments for well-to-do families at the end of the 19th century.
Puss in Boots is a character who first appeared in written literature in the Tales of Times Passed: Tales of Mother Goose published in 1697 by the French writer Charles Perreault (1628-1703). The clever cat tells his young master not to despair over his poverty, but to give him a pair of boots and a bag, and he will improve their lot. He carries out his cunning plan which involves ingratiating himself with the king and his daughter and vanquishing a wealthy landowning ogre and putting his young master in his place. In the end, the young man and the princess are wed, and all live happily ever after.
"A World of Automatons." http://webpro14.cpod.fr/monoweb/automates-avenue/history.htm (22 November 2002).
Ashliman, D.L. "Charles Perrault's Mother Goose Tales." 24 February 2002. http://www.pitt.edu/~dash/perrault.html (11 June 2002).
"The Mechanics of Dolls." Museum of American Heritage. 26 February 2001. http://www.moah.org/exhibits/archives/dolls.html (22 November 2002).