Mechanical Music Through the Ages

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

“Tanzbar” Concertina 1905 – (Germany)

Made by A. Zuleger of Leipzig, Germany and sold worldwide from shortly after 1900 to the 1930’s, the Tanzbar (Translation is “Dancing Bear”) was sold in many different varieties.  The  “Tanzbar” below is a 28 note  version.

The German “Tanzbar” accordion is another example of a roll playing instrument. The operator, moves the bellows as in a normal piano accordion, but hidden inside the jacket of one side of the “Tanzbar” is a paper music roll, which is advanced by a ratchet lever also operated by the player. To master the playing of a “Tanzbar” was a major accomplishment, as it was difficult to synchronise the squeezing of the bellows and the advancement of the music in order to have it appear that the player was operating the instrument in time with all of these operations. Nevertheless, they were a lot of fun and allowed owners to play musical arrangements without any knowledge of music.