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date: 18 November 2019


  • Laurence Libin


An early and unsuccessful card-operated mechanical organ apparatus. The autophon was patented in 1848 by the London organ builder Charles Dawson and exhibited at the Great Exhibition, Crystal Palace, London (1851), and at industrial exhibitions in Dublin and Devonport. It was intended to permit the playing of an unlimited number of tunes, each programmed on an inexpensive perforated millboard sheet (somewhat as in a Jacquard loom apparatus) fed through the instrument by the use of a crank. The chief object was reportedly to provide music for country churches where an organist was unavailable....

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