The Mechanical Bird ("L'Oiseau Mechanique") sought to imitate the motion of a bird's wings in flight. Pichancourt (first name unknown) constructed these machines in a particularly interesting manner. While others built mechanical birds which were able to fly using relatively simple motions of the wings, Pichancourt's designs used a three point system of motion, causing the wings of his light devices to make a quite complicated range of motions. His devices were rubber band powered, extremely light and very capable flying machines. One model with a 17 1/2 inch wing span made flights of 70 feet and could reach an altitude of 25 feet. There is some belief that Pichancourt manufactured his mechanical birds for sale, although the evidence for that seems to rest on an ambiguous advertisement from 1879. Pichancourt ought to be remembered for designing very elegant lightweight flying machines capable of imitating the motion of birds' wings to a remarkable degree.
The engraving above could be used to produce a working model of Pichancourt's Mechancial Bird. Should anyone build such a model, please get in touch and let us know.