Marvin's Marvelous Mechanical Museum (Detroit: Part 2)

Easily one of the coolest and most inspiring places imaginable, Marvin's Marvelous Mechanical Museum is home to some of the most unique memorabilia, varying from bizarre props to early 20th century coin machines.

My fascination with automata began when I discovered the genius of 18th century works by Jaquet-Droz. I was beside myself to witness the inspired decendants of some of these intricate marvels, often made by a singular artist with incredible precision and skill. 

 Bumper car 25 cent machine - roughly 2ft wide

Bumper car 25 cent machine - roughly 2ft wide

 This fish is seriously like 5 feet wide.

This fish is seriously like 5 feet wide.

I had the pleasure of meeting Marvin himself while I was visiting the museum, he certainly loves tattoos, and was enthusiastic that I check out his great statue (my photograph was too dark to share here) of the most tattooed lady (who was Canadian). This is one of his countless props that have originated from all over the world. Retired props from Ripley's, a dog from the mechanical animal band I remember singing to me at a birthday party at Chuck e Cheese, vintage magician posters, countless amazing neon signs & everything strange and amazing you can imagine lining the walls and ceilings as far as the eye can see!

These two pieces are are early 20th century. I didn't try to collect any vigorous strength from the Vibratory Doctor, but I did get very excited about the piece on the left. Made in 1919, sadly this was the only discernible detail on the aged information card, this two headed baby was the first coin machine I took a spin with! Seeing nothing but a drawn curtain, and a variety of phrases surrounding the display ( Amazing! Incredible! Shocking!), once you insert your coin the curtains draw, and the Polycephaly baby appears!

This ultra, ultra cool piece called the Spanish Inquisition was made in 1936 for an arcade in Brighton, England. Your coin will allow you witness to the abominable tortures occurring inside this little dungeon! 

Easily the most fascinating thing I have seen in some time, this skeleton piece called The Last Judgement was made by artist Paul Spooner, from Cornwall England. 25 cents brings you into a world of earthly evil, as a conveyor belt of tiny hand carved humans with articulating limbs begins to whirl, as the skeleton opens his box to show you all the tiny little demons hanging out, shooting pool, eating peas and steak, drinking coffee and reading. This piece was featured in the Rush music video "Mystic Rhythms". Totally worth a watch to get a glimpse of this thing.

All in all, Detroit haters best get educated about all the awesome gems hidden in this industrial wasteland. Go visit and spend your money at local places like coffee shops, vintage stores and whatever other wonderful little indie businesses you can find. There are plenty!
*Note: this shopping method should be applied in all cities, all places, all the time.