Please Note: The Maillardet Automaton is on loan to the The Metropolitan Museum of Art and will return to The Franklin Institute in the spring of 2020.
Explore the amazing world of machines! You’ll be amazed at the similarities between the rarely-displayed machines from our priceless collection and the machines you use every day! While some machines serve practical purposes, others are entirely whimsical. A highlight of this exhibit is the Maillardet Automaton—a truly amazing machine that inspired the award-winning children’s book The Invention of Hugo Cabret and film Hugo.
Examine the fascinating inner workings of common household items like a vacuum cleaner or drill. “Exploded” views of these everyday machines provide interior views that vividly demonstrate how simple components can power complex mechanisms. Test your engineering skills and use gears, linkages, cams, and pulleys to create your own new machine. Discover how each component effects the design and function of the entire device. Try your hand as a crane operator and move blocks from one target to another. Here’s a hint: You’ll have to master power and control to move the crane and complete the job!
Amazing Machine is located in the Mandell Center.
Things to Do and See in Amazing Machine
Try Your Hand at Operating a Crane
Use the crane to move blocks from one target to another. It takes power and control to get the job done right.
Find Out What Makes an Antique Sewing Machine "Sew" Special
Belts and pulleys connect the motor to cranks that drive the needle up and down. But what pushes the fabric forward?
See Inside an Intricate Six-Foot Model of the Strasbourg Cathedral Clock
Each gear connects to a complex system of additional gears and rods.
See How Cams are Used to Make Music
Discover how moving the cam placement can change the tune of your song.