Show Summary Details

Page of

Printed from Grove Music Online. Grove is a registered trademark. Under the terms of the licence agreement, an individual user may print out a single article for personal use (for details see Privacy Policy).

date: 31 March 2020

Maelzel, Johann Nepomuk locked

  • Alexander Wheelock Thayer
  • , revised by Dixie Harvey


( b Regensburg, Aug 15, 1772; d at sea, July 21, 1838). German inventor . The son of an organ builder, he settled in Vienna in 1792 and devoted himself to teaching music and to constructing various mechanical devices, including a chronometer, and an automatic instrument of organ pipes imitating flutes and trumpets, and drums, cymbals and a triangle struck by hammers, which played music by Haydn, Mozart and Crescentini. In 1804 Maelzel began touring with his mechanical devices, and as an added attraction he bought a mechanical chessplayer. He also constructed an automatic Trumpeter, which played Austrian and French Cavalry marches and signals, as well as allegros by Weigl, Dussek and Pleyel. In 1805 Maelzel displayed the mechanical orchestra and the chessplayer in Paris; later both were sold there, the orchestra to a Mr Irving of Aberdeen, and the chessplayer to Eugène Beauharnais. Irving shipped the orchestra to Boston in ...

You do not currently have access to this article


Please login to access the full content.


Please subscribe to access the full content.

Music & Letters
Musical Times
Journal of the American Musicological Society
C. von Wurzbach: Biographisches Lexikon des Kaiserthums Oesterreich (Vienna, 1856-91)