Mechanical Musical Instruments and Objects

Musical Houseware

Musical houseware objects' collection is comprised of unique objects of everyday life with various music movements. A tradition of mounting houseware objects with sound mechanisms appeared more than two centuries ago. One of Hans Christian Andersen’s fairy tales narrates about the creative prince who manufectured a magic pot that not only cooked porridge, but played the famous melody as well. This fairy tale was not very far from truth. Thirty years earlier the fairy tale "Swineherd" was written, mechanics created the basic construction of the movement that started the era of music boxes.


The principle of a multifunctional music device is based on three integrated parts: a sound comb with an audio range comparable to that of accordion, a program cylinder with several recorded tunes and a clock spring, which served for winding a cylinder. The whole mechanism as well as its parts was so tiny that it could be hidden in a pocket watch, or in a signet ring.

Masters of other specialties, primarily jewellers, who started to install music mechanisms in different expensive knick-knacks, reaped the benefits of this advantageous construction: boxes for jewellery, necessaries for needlework, scent bottles, etc. Woodworkers, glass blowers, mirror makers, and many other artisans started to install music movements in their products following the jewellers.

Thus, common household objects, such as mirrors, bottles and beer mugs began to play tunes. Music writing sets, music albums for postcards and photographs, all kinds of music stands, music chairs and, even, music holders for toilet paper and ... music night stools were created. All those exhibits are presented in the subsection "Musical Houseware" of the Museum Collection.