From Musical Box to Orchestrion

Mechanical musical instruments are all based upon the same principle: The musical sound is regulated by a cylinder, cardboard strip, barrel or disc, the pegs or holes of which activate levers and thereby replace the fingers of the musician.

Orchestrion, Cat.-No. 5007 (Flash)

Musical Box, Cat-No. 4271 (Flash)

Mechanical instruments have been around since the 14th century; an example is the carillon in astronomical clocks. In the 18th century, harp and flute-playing clocks were popular automatic musical instruments. In a harp clock, a small fortepiano is regulated by a cylinder with pegs. The base of the magnificent flute-playing clock also accommodates such a cylinder that »plays« the integrated organ.

In the Musikinstrumenten-Museum, all kinds of mechanical musical instruments, from musical boxes to the orchestrion, are on display and visitors can also listen to their sounds.

Harp Clock, Cat.-No. 4900 (Flash)