Performance with a music box

Deutsches Uhrenmuseum (German Clock Museum) is a national museum located at Furtwangen, which is the birth place of the cuckoo clock. But the museum was not only about cuckoo clocks. For those who loved mechanics, it was more like an art gallery than a historical one.

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There were over 8000 clocks in the museum, from one arm to digital, from cuckoo clock to musical box, from candle clock to astonishment used. The most impressive one was the biggest exhibit. The creator, August Noll, spent 5 years (1880-1885) to build this giant clock. It weighed around 600kg with 28 functions. But it was more like a portable theatre than a clock. The original idea of the creator was to build a clock with many funny sounds and movements, so he would dissembled it and travel around to perform a “musical show” to earn money. Each time he took around 3 days to assemble the clock before a show.

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When I looked at the back of it, it looked absolutely like the backstage of a theatre. A lot of strings hanging on the top, with weights attached at the end, a lot of triggers here and there. The function of the clock was just a cue to time all of the different movements. The time was not accurate. This was due to the weather, the weight and the transportation, plus all of the disassembling and assembling, the strings needed to be replaced very often. But back then, the performance of the clock was already a very interesting entertainment for the people.

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Later on, the production of a musical clock split into two directions. One went to clock, another one went to make pure musical box. And I got a chance to have a small performance in front of a little audience in the museum.

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