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Drinking Automat With Neptune as Wine Grower Riding on a Turtle

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Leodegar Grimaldo 1626Schrondorf near Stuttgartwood, painted, gilt silver, iron deck22,8 x 10,4 x 20 cm

The drinking automat represents the zenith of entertainment technology of late Renaissance in Germany. The Duke of Wurttemberg presented this unique object from the chamber of curiosities as a wedding gift in 1631. It was much more than a toy for enlivening a social drink. This miracle of mechanics would move across the table on hidden wheels and come to a halt at the edge of the tabletop. The courtly guest, in front of whom the wind-up turtle came to a stop, had to turn the spinning top in the wine grower’s hand and follow the instructions: they either had to empty a glass filled with wine or set the automat in motion again.