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Fairground organ [fair organ, showground organ, band organ; Dut. draaiorgel; Ger. Kermisorgel]locked

  • Durward R. Center
  •  and Arthur W.J.G. Ord-Hume


A mechanical organ used to provide music for merry-go-rounds and in amusement parks, circuses and skating rinks in Europe and the USA. The instrument originated in Europe as an outdoor version of the Orchestrion, voiced to sound above the hurly-burly of the fairground. Initially it was put near the entrance in order to attract attention. It was usually built in an elaborately carved and colourfully painted case which sometimes incorporated moving figures in its façade. All but the very largest instruments were designed to be portable. With the coming of bioscope (moving picture) theatres, the organ sometimes became the front of the show-tent, its façade incorporating entry and exit doors....

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