Weltmaschine (World Machine)Franz Gsellmann (1910-1981)

Status

Extant

Address

Edelsbach bei Feldbach, 8332, at

Built

begun circa 1958

Visiting Information

The farm is open to the public.

About the Artist/Site

Franz Gsellmann was born in the small community of Edelsbach, in the Steiermark area of Austria. Although as a young man he may have dreamed about one day working with technology, as he was fascinated by electricity and electrical devices, he had to succeed his father on the family farm.

When Gsellmann saw a newspaper picture of the Atomium, a large scale model of an atom that was used as the symbol for the 1958 World Exposition in Brussels, he immediately traveled there by train to see it in reality. He returned with a small scale model of the Atomium, emptied a room of his farm, situated the model there, and began constructing his Weltmaschine around it.

Initially he hid what he was doing from his wife and family, and they must have wondered about his whereabouts when he was away from home, visiting junk yards, second-hand dealers, and flea markets to obtain devices he could use to add to his construction. Gsellmann ultimately worked for more than twenty years on his creation, and it grew to almost ten feet high, twenty feet long, and six feet wide. It had 25 electric motors to make devices spin, and included lamps for illumination and whistles that randomly blew at will. The entire construction was painted in bright colors.

Shortly before his death, Gsellmann told his wife that he had completed his creation.

Today the World Machine is being cared for by Gsellmann’s grandson, and the farm is open to the public, attracting some 10,000 visitors every year.

~Henk van Es

 

Map & Site Information

, 8332 at
Latitude/Longitude: 46.98967 / 15.83687

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