AUTOMATIC ORGANS - A Collector's Guide

Companion volumes to the previous Schiffer titles, this charts the history of the automatic organ back some 2,000 years. Interest in these musical curiosities is both worldwide and growing ever larger. From delicate and musically sublime little instruments often combined with table clocks that play the music of Haydn, Mozart and others of the classical era to the impressively loud dancehall and street organs, domestic roll-playing organs and the hand-operated organettes, the genre continues to bring pleasure to everybody and to suit all tastes. Much otherwise 'lost' music exists today only on early self-playing organs. This comprehensive reference describes the workings, evolution and music of these mechanical versions of the King of Instruments. In 18 Chapters and 6 Appendices Automatic Organs describes how the various types of self-playing organ work from the water organs of the great Italian gardens through to the curious origins of church and chamber barrel organs, giant orchestrions that replicated a great band of musicians and the street and showground organs and organettes of the late 19th and early 20th centuries. An extensive list of makers, inventors and distributors the world over marks a significant first in organ history while a description of modern computer systems for self-playing organs brings the story up to date. This comprehensive reference in aimed at musicians, collectors, restorers and museums as well as the mechanical musical instrument enthusiast. Published by Schiffer Books, Pennsylvania, 2007. 538 pp hardback, fully illustrated in both black and white and colour plus the Author's copious line illustrations ISBN 0-7643-2568-X. Contact the publishers at