COLLECTION: Musical Instruments

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Barrel Organ

1805 to 1820
Origin: Great Britain, England, London
OH:54 1/2"; OW:25 1/8"; OD:17 1/4"
Primary: Mahogany; Secondary: Oak and Deal framework and interior supports; iron and brass hardware; wood barrels with brass pins
Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Harry V. Long
Acc. No. 1933-487
Made in two sections. Upper section: flat top, hinged at center and rear to allow access to interior; top has molded edge on three sides; straight sides with slightly projecting moldings on sides; square door on left side opens downward so that barrels may be loaded and unloaded from machine; brass lever on right exterior raises and lowers teeth inside so that barrels may be easily inserted; straight front with large, stopfluted pilasters on either side; central panel contains an open, caned oval with painted oval medallion in center; fans radiate from each corner of central panel around oval; keyhole at top to lock top; crank to turn barrels inserted in hole in center of right pilaster (missing in 2014); six stop knobs below central panel on front; the stops are labeled below thus: "Drum, St. Diapason, Principal, Twelfth, Fifteenth, Triangle."

Lower section: slightly wider than upper section with molded upper edge on three sides; straight sides with full door on left side which hinges downward and reveals slotted compartment to accommodate two barrels, front composed of a large, central lunette panel, molded around edge, with central carved oval sunflower; fans extend from two upper corners of front to edge of lunette; slightly arched front skirt; square-section front legs tapering to base with fluted front surface; small carved rosettes at front of legs where leg extends downward from skirt; plain, tapering square-section rear legs.

Interior houses four ranks of fifteen pipes each (60 pipes total), the back (St. Diapason) rank of wood, the other three (Principal, Twelfth, and Fifteenth) of lead alloy; rectangular drum head stretched across frame attached to top and played by two beaters; triangle with two iron beaters attached to right front of interior.

Barrels: Each barrel composed of a large, wood cylinder lined with paper and covered with brass staples corresponding to notes of tunes to be played; at one end of barrel smaller wheel is toothed to fit into worm gear, which is turned manually by crank; brass pin at end contains ten slots, the positioning of which permits a particular tune to be played; barrel sits in simple wooden frame.

Storage Boxes: A pair of original storage boxes, made of deal, and with slotted interiors accompany the organ and hold two barrels each.
Provenance:Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Long of Cohasset, MA, "who owned it for some time" before they offered it to CW in 1933. The Longs were the parents of Mrs. Nash (of Perry, Shaw, and Hepburn).
Mark(s):The numbers 447 and 326 are stamped on the top of the panel with the hand stops. The number 995 is stamped on the back of the case (proper right side).

For transcription of lists of tunes appearing on underside of lid and on rolls see Object folder.
Inscription(s):On painted oval medallion at lower center of upper section of case: "Patent/ Clementi & Compy/ London."