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Tibidado Amusement Park
Automatons & Automatic Machines


In America we assume that coin operated machines are an American institution. But coin machines flourished overseas as well.

There are several museums in Europe and England, but the one in the most beautiful location is the Museu D'Automat at the Tibidabo Amusement Park in Barcelona Spain.

Tibidabo is over 100 years old and is located on the top of a mountain overlooking the city. Tibidabo overwhelms you in a number of ways.

First, you reach Tibidabo by first going up the mountain via a tram, which takes you to a funicular (a cable car) that takes you to the entrance of the amusement park.

Second, as you approach the amusement park you see this historic cathedral, Church of the Sacred Heart, situated right next to the amusement park entrance. It was so beautiful we first visited the cathedral.

Third, as we entered the amusement park we were awed by the view.

Fourth the amusement park, the second oldest in Europe, contains many early amusement rides, the highlight being a 1928 replica of a ten passenger aeroplane that takes you over the edge of the mountain.

Fifth, the amusement park contains a museum. The museum contains 35 machines most of which are working model type of machines. The good news is that you can play them. The earliest machine is an 1880 Mandolin player. Others include the French Execution, an X-Ray Photo, Inferno, a beautiful Soccer game, an egg vendor and a 1902 scale.

Imagine visiting a coin-op museum on the top of a mountain overlooking a major city, in the middle of a turn-of-the century amusement park.

It's for real. It is the Museu d'Automats del Tibidabo located in the middle of the 1899 Tibidado Amusement Park on the top of the mountain overlooking Barcelona Spain.

The museum contains 35 machines most of which are working model type of machines. The good news is that you can play them. The earliest machine is an 1880 Mandolin player. Others include the French Execution, an X-Ray Photo, Inferno, a beautiful Soccer game, an egg vendor and a 1902 scale.

In addition to the museum the amusement park, the second oldest in Europe, contains many early amusement rides, the highlight being a 1928 replica of a ten passenger aeroplane that takes you over the edge of the mountain.

Here is an excerpt from the Tibidado Automatic Machine Museum web site

The Automatons From the day the Park was opened in 1901, automatons and automatic machines were imported from a number of European countries. But, from 1925 to 1954, it was the Park employees themselves who built them. Currently, the oldest example is "The Mandolin Clown" from 1880. But there are others of note such as the popular "Tightrope Walkers", "The Prodigious Orchestra", The Poet goes to sleep" and "La Moos", a famous personality who frequented the Rambla boulevard in Barcelona in the 1930s. The Collection was so famous that even Walt Disney wanted to buy it in 1957 during a visit to Tibidabo. Luckily, he went home empty handed as the company refused to sell it to him! At the end of the 1970s the collection was taken away to be fully restored, and since 1982 it has enjoyed pride of place in the Automaton Museum. This collection is located in a modernist building dating from 1909 and is one of the world's greatest collections. The latest addition is "The Gas brothers or the balancing of the world". It's a new generation automaton and was a finalist in the Aichi Universal Exhibition in Japan in 2005.
Copyright: 2012 Ken Durham

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Ken Durham
GameRoomAntiques
3000 Galloway Ridge, C-306
Pittsboro NC 27312
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