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date: 02 April 2020

Winkel, Diederich Nikolaus [Nicolaus ]locked

  • Arthur W.J.G. Ord-Hume


[Nicolaus ]

(b Lippstadt, Aug 24, 1777; d Amsterdam, Sept 28, 1826). German builder of mechanical organs, clock-maker and inventor . He was the son of a master watch- and clock-maker but was orphaned before he was three years old. He became a clock-maker, gaining the freedom of Lippstadt in 1816. In November 1814 he completed a musical time-indicator or metronome (see Metronome) using a balanced, double-ended pendulum. The following year he showed this to J.N. Maelzel, who modified and patented it under his own name. Over the ensuing years the ownership of the concept was hotly disputed by the two men. Winkel’s original metronome survives in the Gemeentemuseum, The Hague. Having moved to Amsterdam in 1816, Winkel set about creating an Orchestrion organ to rival Maelzel’s Panharmonicon. Besides playing music in the ordinary manner, however, his would compose its own music. The outcome was the Componium which, it was claimed, could create an almost endless series of variations once presented with a theme. Winkel completed it on ...

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F.-J. Fétis: Biographie universelle des musiciens