Museums and collections


Hrací stroje v Českém muzeu hudby Hrací stroje v Českém muzeu hudby2 Expozice Českého muzea hudby 3

Mechanical instruments represent a combination of art with technology. Whereas from ancient and Medieval times we have only indefinite reports, the 17th and 18th centuries offer us concrete information and later also preserved examples. Even such masters as Haydn, Mozart and Beethoven wrote compositions for mechanical instruments, especially for the flute-clocks which were popular at that time.

In the 19th century pin instruments and barrel organs became widespread. The effort to expand and enhance the variety of sounds through imitating more than one instrument and even a whole orchestra led to the invention of various types of orchestrions.

The most essential part of every mechanical instrument is a cylinder, but the actual sound may be produced to example by flexible teeth on a steel comb, by flue pipes, or by strings sounded in various ways.

Visitors of National Museum – Czech Museum of Music (Karmelitská 2/4, 118 00 Praha 1) can see part from collection of mechanical music instruments and listen some of them. For example flute barrel organ (end of 19th century), negro playing banjo with music box (end of 19th century) and polyphone (around 1890-1914).

More information here. (CZ)

Národní muzeum – České muzeum hudby –
Karmelitská 2/4, Praha 1




Mechanic music machines- automatophones, barrel organs, orchestrions, pianols and other interesting instruments were used to replay music motives, produce popular melodies in public places and in private and catch people’s attention due to their perfect handcrafted quality. It was possible to realise the idea to play music by use of an exact mechanism only after the horological craft substituted the sand and water-glass by precise clockwork (during the 18th and 19th century).

The transmission of music became common as late as in 1930, though. The exposition is a collection of mechanical music machines that are distinct because of their emotive ornamentation, precise horological and artistic carving and delicate mechanical treatment.

Technické muzeum v Brně
Masarykova 11, 460 01 Liberec

Curator: Mgr. Petr Nekuža, tel.: 541 421 439, 724 222 795,


introduces the collection of devices and instruments that (re)produces music automatically and arouses the visitor´s attention thanks to the workmanship and resourcefulness of almost forgotten skills. Most of those on display (e.g. pianos – made by the local producers, polyphones, intones, barrel organs, and orchestrions) are still working so they can be admired by eye-sight as well as by hearing.

Severočeské muzeum v
Masarykova 11, 460 01 Liberec

MUSEUM CANCELED! – Museum of historical mechanical musical instruments including mechanical gramophones and phonographs

A unique collection of gramophones, phonographs, orchestrions, barrel organs, polyphones, playing cabinets and other rarities from the workshops of Czech and European masters.

Hradčanské nám. 12, 118 00 Praha 1

MUSEUM CANCELED! Museum of historical musical machines

Jukeboxes that are over 100-years old, which served during marionette theatre performances, orchestrions from taverns and fair productions, barrel organs and spinning wheels, polyphones from buffets, confectionery and shops, playing religious paintings, chimes, hand-carved playing nativity scenes and a number of clocks, used in households in the past.

ul. 5. května, Lišov