Mechanical Music Through the Ages

A collection of Mechanical Music and Arcade Machines – highlighting examples of the development in mechanical entertainment over time.

Bernard Ravca “Organ Grinder” 1937 – (France)

Bernard Ravca won the Gold Medal at the 1937 Paris Exposition where there were dolls from 42 different countries on display. He was sent by the Government of France to the French Pavilion at the 1939 NEW YORK WORLD’S FAIR where he displayed several of his dolls. While at the World’s Fair the French government fell and his collection of dolls in Paris was destroyed, bank accounts looted and his home destroyed by the Nazis. He remained in the United States and became a U.S citizen in 1947.

His doll faces are made of silk stockingette, stretched over sculptured cotton and hand painted. Cloth covered wired armatures to form the model and the clothing was hand made. He always signed his dolls. You will see his signature on the left collar of the doll in the picture below. The faces of his dolls depict much of the sadness that he experienced in his life. During the war he spent much of his time raising money for the Free French Resistance and for the remaining families of fallen resistance fighters.

This Ravca doll is in fine condition and called “The Organ Grinder” with the music box playing the French National Anthem – La Marseillaise