So many visitors to the KSB Miniatures Collection remark about the beauty and amazing detail of our pieces, but, sadly, some will never know that quite a number of our fine-scale miniatures actually function. Here are just four pieces that operate as their original counterparts.
Ship Automata by Paul Briggs: English model ship builder, Paul Briggs of Nottingham, is well known for his nautical reproductions. This ship automata actually rolls back and forth while a whale dives up and down through the waves. It’s driven by a small clock movement, plus battery, housed in the painted cabinet—also made by Paul. The cabinet measures 3 inches wide by 3 inches tall. The glass case measures approximately 2 by 2 inches with a one-inch depth. He made only four of these and kept the original for himself. Paul knows the location of all but one of these unique items, believing the missing ship “to be in the colonies.” The authenticity of his work is highly praised by both miniaturists and non-miniaturists.
Swiss Army Knife by Laurence St. Leger: This incredible reproduction won the Perfection in Miniature Award at the 2015 Kensington Dollshouse Festival. All 11 blades open out, the scissors open and close, and there is even a toothpick and tweezers in the handle, just like in the classic Swiss Army style. It measures less than a quarter inch long and can be seen in its various stages here. The makers of the original Swiss Army Knives, Victorinox, were so impressed with it, they asked Laurence to make one for their museum in Switzerland.
Butter Churn by Harry Scarboro: This working butter churn by the late Harry Scarboro is going back into its original residence Folly Lane later this year when we debut three newly acquired Pam Throop houses at our expansion event. I was truly lucky to get pieces back that came out of the original houses. Harry, who made miniatures with his wife, Joanne, after their retirement was especially known for his shoo-fly chairs and butter churns.
Pinball Machine by Cherri Varisco: This classic vintage-style miniature was created around 1994 by Cherri, who used to make contemporary and antique games before her eyesight failed. One unique piece of hers I recall was a gypsy fortune teller that would move inside a box—just like we used to see in the arcades of our youth. Pinball machine approximately 5 inches long by 5.5 inches tall.
So many other pieces in the collection are also functional—Bill Robertson’s Turkish coffee grinder and many of his tools; Ian Berry’s beer tap . . . Michael Walton’s rent table is a fabulous working item, and Mark Gooch’s library table which folds out into steps is a historical masterpiece in miniature. Other completely operational items which will be debuted October 12th include Bill’s Louis XV-style microscope and a 17th century harpsichord by David Iriarte. I hope you can make it to see these new additions, as well as our new structures. Keep checking in for details as they emerge.