Mechanical Music Through the Ages

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

The Music Collection

I have been collecting mechanical music  for over 40 years. Most of the items you will see have been purchased in Australia or overseas, with the great majority having been restoration projects over the journey. I have met some wonderfully gifted collectors/restorers during this time and have been very grateful to many of these people for the transfer of skills, which has enabled me to keep my collection in working condition, for others to enjoy along with me.

The Collection is representative of the many forms of entertainment between the late 1770’s and today and the technologies that were developed to automate many of the processes for human enjoyment. The Collection covers both street, home and amusement hall items, but is not destined to be a complete collection in any one entertainment example, but rather representative and where possible, some of the more interesting examples available at the time.

My restoration philosophy is such that, mechanically these instruments are restored to like new or best possible condition that I can achieve today. The cases they adorn, if in reasonable condition, are left to show the patina of the  long lives they have had after they are thoroughly cleaned, sanitised and renourished with plenty of furniture oil and wax. If they can’t be restored, or I cannot source a near age replacement, then they will be replicated. I have been lucky to date with not having to have replicated any housing in my collection. I admire the craftsmen who can replicate to the smallest detail, the housings of so many of the instruments we all enjoy in collections all over the world today.

The Collection remains a work in progress and items change as they are restored, sold or purchased.

After 40 years of collecting these items, my major concern now turns to raising the interest and awareness of younger people in and into the hobby, the transfer of restoration skills and knowledge and ultimately, a permanent and renewable home for items that will not be passed down to family members or other collectors for whatever reason, after our ultimate demise.

I am always looking for like-minded people to share their thoughts on these matters and how best to address the concerns raised so that solutions can be pursued. I do not claim to be an expert on anything covered in this website.

Included in this website is a “Contact” page for your use.