Here, at last, is the first comprehensive guide to those ingenious amusements which have delighted visitors to the seaside, fairground or exhibition for over a century.
The book features many of the unusual coin-operated models and tableaux built to entertain the public from the 1860s to the 1970s.
The models are based on a variety of themes including haunted houses and churchyards (made for a time when people were more superstitious), drunkard scenes (to warn against the perils of heavy drinking), executions (when capital punishment was commonplace) plus laughing clowns, sailors, puppet-shows and miniature locomotives to name but a few.
There are also chapters devoted to American machines (such as fortune-tellers and vendors) and mechanical music - the precursor to the modern jukebox.
With over 200 colour illustrations, including many of the rarest surviving examples, plus a price guide, this unique book will be a comprehensive source of reference for automata and working-model enthusiasts, as well as collectors of penny-in-the-slot machines, mechanical music, toys and miniatures. The author has had several articles about penny-in-the-slot automata printed in the Antique Amusement Magazine and is currently in the process of establishing a dedicated working model exhibition in the North-West of England.