Exhibit in detail: mechanical spinning wheel with organ
On December 10, 2021, another collection item from the section “Musical Houseware” got the status "Science and Technology High-level Achievement”*.
It is Mechanical spinning wheel with Organ, manufactured circa 1800 in Western Europe.
Spinning thread, however, was not a factory occupation in those burgeoning days of industry. Spinning itself was already an ancient domestic occupation when, in the 18th century, some enterprising maker first had the notion of combining a spinning wheel with the mechanism of the barrel organ. Several instruments of this type are known. The item that is stored in the museum Collection is coming from the private collection of Frank Metzger of Rye, New York State. It is preserved in fine and original condition and plays well.
While the simple musical spinning wheels are relatively crudely made and finished with an eye to mere practicability, the model presented in museum Collection is superbly finished after the style of a quality item of furniture. The style of Southern European and Empire in decoration. The body of the instrument is rectangular and the top of this is boxed in with a lid secured to the sides by four screws. This lid mounts the two vertical posts between which is fixed the wheel and the mechanics of the spinning wheel. The wheel is set in motion by means of a crank attached to the rear of the pivot shaft. This crank engages with a single reciprocating rod, which is secured at its lower end and single foot treadle. The forward end of the wheel shaft is in contact with the eccentric cam, which acts as a brake when pushed against the rotating shaft with the fingers. Motion from the rotating spinning wheel is taken down through the rear support column, which is hollow, through bevel gears and terminates in the drive pinion on the underside of the lid itself. This shaft and pinion operate the organ work.
Fitted inside the rectangular body of the item is a horizontal floor, which divides the body into two unequal portions: the upper one housing the organ barrel, keyframe and mechanism, wind department, tune change, select system and drive gearing. The lower compartment is given over to the pipework, which is neatly arranged in two conforming sections. The keyframe is made of brass and mounts 24 slender keys the tail ends of which depress stickers in the normal fashion. There are eight melodies pinned to the barrel and these are selected via a knurled knob on the outside of the case right hand side.
Among the several novel features of this instrument is the system of driving bellows. Theas comprise the normal centreboard, which is sited at the angle to the barrel, the left end being low and the right end high. Without doubt, the most interesting feature of this piece is the musical repertoire, which is perfectly preserved and plays with a high degree of perfection from the virtually perfect, mint-condition barrel. One gets the feeling that once installed, had never been opened or misused in any way. The first of the eight melodies on the barrel is what is best described as a “spinning song”, but the remainder appear to be hymn tunes of all carefully arranged and harmonised in the manner so typical of the 1780s.
* In Russian legislation, references to Science and Technology High-level Achievements are found in the constitutional charter of the Russian Federation on the protection of cultural and nature heritage No. 73-FZ of 2002 (see article No. 3). The generally accepted definition states, "A Science and Technology High-level Achievement is a material object associated (directly or indirectly) with the pasted off benchmarks of science and technology, requiring, in accordance with its social or scientific significance, preservation and use in the general system of culture" (Bubnov I.E. Science and Technology High-level Achievements: some practical and theoretic issues". Natural history and technology issues", 1981, No. 1, p. 66