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  • Barbara Owen
  •  and Arthur W.J.G. Ord-Hume


A Mechanical instrument of the Orchestrion type. It was invented by Johann Nepomuk Maelzel and first exhibited by him in Vienna in 1804. The instrument was designed to play orchestral music, and various accounts describe it as capable of imitating the sounds of the french horn, clarinet, trumpet, oboe, bassoon, German flute, flageolet, drum, cymbal and triangle. The sounds were actually produced by various flue, reed and free-reed organ pipes, as well as air-driven percussion devices. The Panharmonicon achieved popularity in a period when such mechanical curiosities had great public appeal and were frequently taken on tour; Maelzel’s instrument had many imitators, including a virtually identical instrument (made by a fellow Viennese, Joseph J. Gurk) exhibited in Germany and England in ...

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