I was watching Harry Potter and I was thinking about mundane magical items like newspaper photos or magic chocolate frogs that are enchanted, but disposable.

I realized that that would require magic mass-production of those items, and would also require some sort of mass enchanting or automated enchanting system like a magic printer that prints magic photos.

Are magical items capable of directly infusing magical power into ordinary items, or would that require a wizard actively casting a spell at the time?

To take that idea further, could a magical item work by itself to create a more complex magical item, analogous to smaller robots working in an automated factory to build a bigger robot?

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    They have machinery powered by magic energy, like xenophilius lovegood's printing press for that
    – user68762
    Dec 2, 2016 at 5:45
  • 5
    Magical mass production techniques are clearly quite limited. In Deathly Hallows we are shown Ministry workers assembling (IIRC) pamphlets, and no machinery or other automation is involved. Dec 2, 2016 at 6:05

2 Answers 2


Machinery powered by magic does exist.

There is one example of a machine most probably driven by magic - the printing press of Xenophilius Lovegood:

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, chapter 20:

Luna was not there: The thing that was making such a racket was a wooden object covered in magically turning cogs and wheels, It looked like the bizarre offspring of a workbench and a set of shelves, but after a moment Harry deduced that it was an old-fashioned printing press, due to the fact that it was churning out Quibblers.

Another example is the car enchanted by Arthur Weasley.

Whether the machinery can cast magic by themselves - unknown as no examples are given but most probably not there are some limited examples of this

Moving pictures can be made via potions:

Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, chapter 6:

"A picture?" Harry repeated blankly.

"So I can prove I've met you," said Colin Creevey eagerly, edging further forward. "I know all about you. Everyone's told me. About how you survived when You-Know-Who tried to kill you and how he disappeared and everything and how you've still got a lightning scar on your forehead" (his eyes raked Harry's hairline) "and a boy in my dormitory said if I develop the film in the right potion, the pictures'll move.

So most probably the moving pictures in newspapers and books are made via potions as it is more viable from the manufacturing point of view. A wizard could prepare the potion in advance and it is applied to the photo as part of the production process. There is no need to make the printing machine do magic by itself.

On the other side - there are two examples of objects that have magic "by themselves".

The Sword of Griffindor

It can teleport via the Sorting Hat to any Griffindor in need.

Time Turners

They can return people back in time. It is however unknown whether the person using it needs to be a wizard in order to make this work.



As @R.Skeeter pointed out in the comments, when Harry, Ron, and Hermione visit the Lovegood's house in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Zenophilius Lovegood tosses a sheet over a magical printer that was printing copies of The Quibbler. As we know that images in The Quibbler can move[citation needed], this is proof that magical items can be made by a magical object like the printer.

As for your second question, I have no idea. My guess would be that it would be theoretically possible, but we haven't seen anything like that in the series.

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