COLLECTION: Musical Instruments

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Barrel organ

Origin: London, England
OH: 54 1/2"; OW: 25 1/2"; OD: 17"
Primary: mahogany; Secondary: oak and deal framework and interior supports; iron pipes and fittings; wood barrels with brass pins; boxwood or holly stringing; spruce; lead/tin alloy.
Gift of Mr. Frederick P. Victoria
Acc. No. 1959-63
Barrel organ made in 2 sections. Upper section: flat top, hinged at center and rear to allow access to interior; top has molded edge on 3 sides; straight sides; small, square door on left side, opens downward so that rolls may be loaded and unloaded from machine; brass levers attached to right side raise and lower teeth inside so that barrels may be easily inserted and to register the barrels for specific tunes; straight front with large, stop-fluted pilasters in either side, surrounded by thin band of checkerboard inlay; central panel contains an oval panel of dummy, carved, and gilt wooden pipes backed by reproduction green, silk cloth; fans radiate from each corner of central panel on front around oval; keyhole at top to lock top; crank to turn rolls inserted in hole in center on right pilaster; below central front panel there is a smaller, rectangular panel bordered by thin band of checkerboard inlay; within panel is a painted half moon cartouche with arms of England on either side of maker's label (see above), and below, 6 stops with names painted above: "Drum, [St. Diapas]on, Principal, Tw[elfth], [Fifte]enth, Trian[gle]." Lower section: slightly wider than upper section with molded upper edge on 3 sides; straight sides with full door on left side which hinges downward and reveals slotted compartment fitted to store 2 barrels; front composed of large, central lunette panel, molded around edge with central, carved oval flower; fans extend from 2 upper corners of front to edge of lunette; slightly arched front skirt, straight skirts on side; front legs, "square" in section, tapering to base, with fluted front surface; small carved rosettes at front of legs where legs extends downward from skirt; plain, tapering rear legs, "square" in section.

Interior includes 4 rows of 15 pipes each (60 pipes total), the back (St. Diapason) row of wood, the other 3 (Principal, Twelfth, and Fifteenth) of lead alloy; rectangular drum head stretched across frame attached to top and played by 2 beaters: triangle with 2 iron beaters attached to right front of interior. The bellows reservoir is weighted with springs.

Barrels: each barrel composed of a large, wooden cylinder lined with paper and covered with brass staples corresponding to notes of tunes to be played; at one end of roll, smaller wheel is toothed to fit into worm gear connected to crank of organ; brass pin at end contains 10 slots, the positioning of which permits a particular tune to be played; barrels sits in simple wood frame.

The tunes, listed both in the underside of the lid of the organ are as follows: Barrel 1: 1) Bugle Horn, 2) Lady Shaftsbury, 3) Lt. Harmon's Reel, 4) Lt. McDonald's do., 5) Lady Campbell's do., 6) Caledonian Hunt, 7) Jennies Baubee, 8) Miss Mauray's Reel, 9) Miss Deacon's(?) do, 10) Tweedale Club. Barrel 2: 1) Money in both pockets, 2) Duncan Davidson, 3) Fife Hunt, 4) Irish Washerwoman, 5) Moll in the Wadd, 6) Del Caro's Reel, 7) Trip to Oatlands, 8) Mony Musk, 9) Drops of Brandy, 10) Loch Erock side. Barrel 3: 1) God Save the King, 2) Rule Britannia, 3) When Pensive I Thought, 4) Lt. Cornwallis's March, 5) Blue Beard do., 6) Fall of Paris, 7) Brunswick Waltz, 8) Prince Edward's Fancy, 9) Lt. Sharp's(?) Hornpipe, 10) Repose(?) Do. Several of the tunes, particularly on Barrels 1 and 2, are repeated on various barrels which go with organ, 1933-487. Printed instructions inside door to case: "Directions for the Management of Longman, Clementi & Co., Barrel Organs Manufactured and Sold, wholesale and Retail at No. 26 Cheapside. To Change the Tunes, and Shift the Barrels. Observe on the right hand of the Organ, there are two Brass sliding Plates, one cross the other, the top Plate draws toward you and that raises the Keys from the Barrel and prevents the keys and Pins from touching each other while you change your tune, the upright sliding Plate is for fixing the tune in the round Pin that comes through the Pannel on which is cut ten knotches for the tunes on the Barrels; while the keys are free from the Barrel you may shift it backwards or forwards by the Brass Pin, and set it to any tune you would play counting the outside knotch for the first, push the upright plate into the knotch and the cross plate from you that lets the keys on the barrel in order for playing. When it is set, you may play the tune over as oft as you (like?). When you change a Barrel, pull the cross bolt towards you and raise the upright...sets the Barrel at liberty, pull it out and let the two sliding plates remain... the other Barrel and then set your tunes as above directed."
Provenance:According to donor, the organ was bought several years before from "The Hewitt Sisters" and was at one time on display in the Cooper Union Museum in New York.
Mark(s):Marker in cartouche on front of case: "Longman, Clementi & Co., London." Ink writing on drum head, "Sealed and delivered / ...the presence of ..." The drumhead consists of recycled vellum retaining remnants of writing from its previous use as a legal document. The numbers 254 and 92 are stamped on the top of the panel with the hand stops.
Inscription(s):see "marks"