Posts Tagged ‘Bourdon Tube Toys’

Bourdon Tube Air-powered Toys

[Sourced from: Mechanical Toys: How Old Toys Work, by Athelstan and Kathleen Spilhaus (New York: Crown Publishers Inc., 1989)]

The principle of the Bourdon tube, a flattened, flexible tube that straightens out under pressure, was used in pneumatic toys such as the rubber monkey that plays a drum when a rubber bulb is squeezed by hand.

This simple principle can be utilised to provide pneumatic muscles for robots.  Jim Whiting uses this principle for his air-powered robot sculptures and performance robots.


The jumping frog is another example.


An early ornithopter was powered utilising a Bourdon tube.

1870. In this ornithopter constructed by Gustave Trouvé, twelve gunpowder charges were fired successively into a bourdon tube to flap the wings, an unusual type of internal combustion engine. It flew 70 meters in a demonstration to the French Academy of Sciences.


Related devices:

Air Pulse Vehicle

Vehicle powered using expanding air tube exhausting on each rotation.  The bubble forces a forward force making the wheel rotate.


Peter Holland's Bourdon tube principled toy , the "Bubble Pulser".

See Full construction article pdf here.


Inflatable Hoists

A Pneumatic, inflatable hoist patent.


See other Pneumatic, Fluidic, and Inflatable robots here.