Kentucky Tourism

Torpey, Dan — Barking Dogs Automata

Louisville, KY



Dan Torpey has always been fascinated by how things move, He says that as a child he “stood transfixed before department store windows watching the mechanized movement of Santa’s elves in the North Pole workshop.” He adds, “Forty years later I have become one of those elves—a maker of wooden automata (self operating machines)!”


Dan enjoys all aspects of the production, from sketching the whimsical idea to finding the right mechanism—the perfect movement in the cams and levers. He adds, “The grand finale is hearing the laughter from people who crank my automata and enjoy the illusion of animation.”


Dan also likes to expose gears in see through boxes, to share the fascinating movement with those who enjoy the works. He is continuously creating new designs, and relishes the opportunity to make them come alive through wood, mechanics, and movement.


Works by Dan Torpey can be found at the  Kentucky Artisan Center at Berea, Berea, KY.