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date: 28 November 2020


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


Italian family of mechanical instrument makers, later active in France. Giacomo Gavioli (b Cavezzo, nr Modena, 16 Feb 1786; d Paris, 1875) began as a maker of horse-drawn cabriolets. In 1818 he went to Modena to work for the county watch repairer. In 1828 he advertised as a ‘manufacturer and retailer of carillons and organs’. He became Modena’s leading watch and clock-maker; his clock for the Palazzo Comunale is still in use there.

His son Lodovico [Louis] Gavioli (i) (b Cavezzo, 5 Aug 1807; d Paris, 1875) began to show his mechanical genius in his early innovations in clock design. During the 1830s he began making mechanical or self-playing instruments, including a harp-playing android David (1838). He also made a mechanical orchestra called the Panarmonico. He undertook repairs to small mechanical instruments (barrel pianos and organs) for street musicians, and eventually mastered their manufacture. At the ...

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