Batavia, N. Y. E. W. Tallman, Publisher of Stereoscopic Views, (n. d.). Ca 1870. Orange mount, rounded corners. Publisher imprint to verso. Two separate, square images. View: 3-3/8" x 6-7/8". Now housed in an archival mylar sleeve. Item #50781
"Bergmann is a German about fifty years of age, and speaks English most imperfectly. He is a little diminutive man, with a pale, sallow countenance, and a look which speaks of care and thought if not positive suffering. He is evidently very poor—the house is almost bare of furniture—and in speaking of the dream and the work which had so infatuated him, he said it would have been better for him if he had never experienced the one or undertaken the other. He is a cabinet maker by trade, and the skill of an almost marvelous handiwork as well as the stamp of remarkable inventive genius is to be seen in the construction of the machine. Bergmann informed us that fourteen years ago he dreamt one night of a machine such as stood before us. At first he thought little of it. Then it began to occupy his mind to the exclusion of other subjects, and after a time he commenced the work, at first at odd spells and then quite continuously for days. Some inexplicable power was urging him on every time he thought of giving it up. When the spells of infatuation came upon him, everything had to be abandoned. His ordinary work had to be laid aside even though there was no bread upon the cupboard shelf—and many a night the poor artisan went hungry to bed. But after years of anxious toil—the dream is verified—the work is completed.
We will now attempt to describe the machine, though we confess at the outset our inability to do it justice. it is so complicated and does such wonderful things that a perfect description would fill columns of our paper. We hardly know what to call it, even. It beats all the automatons in the world.
The reader must imagine beautiful miniature structure set upon a huge mass of rocks, with road-beds winding up the sides of the rocks, and streams of running water coursing down precipitous bluffs. This miniature house represents the residence of a wealthy old miller, with his grist mill, saw mill, oil mill, etc. adjoining. There are some thirty figures to be seen in the foreground, with the water playing, and a lake with a boat and oarsman. All these mills and figures and playing waters are set in motion by means of a combination of machinery similar to the works of a clock, and when these are wound up and set running every figure takes up its automatic movement. The old miller sits in an elegant apartment reading a newspaper. His eyes follow the column downward. His head inclines with a corresponding motion. The column is finished, and the sheet is turned over and the eyes are attracted to another portion of the paper. Every movement is wonderfully life-like. The miller’s wife sits in another apartment industriously spinning. The domestics are going about performing their daily toil. The saw mill is a perfect fac simile of such an institution. The log is in its place and slides along to meet the teeth of the saw, which is working up and down cutting it in two. The attendants are all busy in their several duties. The grist mill is also going. One man is tending and feeding the hopper. Every now and then he goes back and forth with a tray upon his shoulders, the contents of which he pours into the mouth of the hopper. The great water wheel is moving steadily under the pressure of the water from above, and the elevator keeps up its show of relieving a canal boat of its load of grain. Teams loaded with sacks are seen going to and from the mills. A man is perched upon the gable of the miller’s home, adjusting a little bird cage to the eaves, and doing his work most perfectly. The oil mill is also at work, and the figures are all busy about it performing their several missions. The boatman upon the lake is rowing backwards and forwards, and apparently having a good time all by himself. Thus the entire operations of an immense establishment are carried on with as much definiteness and aim as in real life, every figure doing its work with the utmost exactness—the whole forming the most wonderful combination of machinery we ever saw or expect to see." [Troy Daily Times. 4 November 1870].