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Philadelphia Automaton Organ Clock

Documentation Signed
Origin United States, Pennsylvania
Period 19th Century
Materials Mahogany veneer over oak,
Condition Excellent.
Creation Date 1830
Description "Wag on the wall" (uncased, weight-driven mechanical wall clock), organ movement; musical elements attributed to C. Muckle

Automaton organ clocks such as this one were imported by American clockmakers and retailers from Furtwangen, Germany, the heart of the Black Forest clockmaking industry. These novelty clocks were popular in the early decades of the 19th century and in America cases were often made locally to house the works in contrast to the European fashion for hanging them on the wall with the weights and pendulum exposed.

In this clock the automata are the five members of a band who play a variety of horns and wind instruments when the music is playing. The music is recorded on a wooden barrel/cylinder and plays different German folk tunes, each lasting about 40 seconds. The organ mechanism uses bellows to produce the air that flows through the pipes and makes the music.

Augustus Pfaff (1791-1855) was a silversmith and clockmaker in Philadelphia and a member of a family well known for their expertise in making musical instruments.
Styles / Movements Americana, Classical, Folk Art
Incollect Reference Number 191392
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