The mechanical galleon

About Hans Schlottheim

Hans Schlottheim was a skilled goldsmith, clockmaker, craftsman, and above all, mechanic. Little is known of Schlottheim’s training other than that he spent some time in the workshop of Jeremias Metzger, and that he was a travelling watchmaker. During his career, the royal courts and upper classes had a surging interest in automated machines and clockwork automata, particularly as centerpieces for banquet tables and entertainment for guests. Schlottheim was a popular producer of these automatic decorative objects; many of his surviving and best known works are in the shapes of galleons. Schlottheim’s pieces had been known to feature vignette scenes populated by animated figurines, music-producing mechanisms, hourly chimes, and firing miniature cannons, in addition to mechanisms that displayed the time.

German, 1547-1625