Reading List

Automatic Musical Instruments Reading and Reference List

The following list of books and other items has been assembled and updated with the help of MBSI members. Special thanks go to Bill Wineburgh. Most of these items are out of print but can be borrowed at your local library, perhaps through an inter-library loan. Some of them can be found by contacting Internet book specialists. Several of them are available for loan to MBSI members at the link near the top of this page (must be a member to access the information at the link.)

Bahl, Gilbert. Music Boxes, The Collector’s Guide to Selecting, Restoring, and Enjoying New and Vintage Music Boxes. Quintet Publishing Ltd., London, 1993. 80 pp. ISBN:1561382205.

Bailly, Christian with collaboration by Sharon Bailly. L’Âge d’Or des Automates 1848-1914 (The Golden Age of Automata).First published in 1987 in English by Sotheby’s, New York. Second edition published in the French language in 1991 by les Editions Ars Mundi, France. 360 pp. Hard cover.

Bailly, Christian & Sharon. Oiseaux De Bonheur (Flights of Fancy-Mechanical Singing Birds).With accompanying disk. Antiquorum, Geneva, 2001. 376 pp. ISBN:2940019282.

Battaïni, Antoine and Annette Bordeau (Text), André Soriano (Photographs). The Mechanical Dolls of Monte Carlo. Rizzoli, New York, 1985. 175 pp. ISBN:0847806790.

Baumel, Rachael. Alec Templeton’s Music Boxes. Wilfred Funk, New York, 1958. 164 pp.

Beaumont, Anthony. Fair Organs. Model & Allied Publications Ltd., 1968. 56 pp.

Benson, Phil, Ed. On Display. A Celebration of 40 Years of Fair Organ Preservation. 1999. 128 pp. ISBN: 0950270121.

Bonhôte, Daniel and Baud, Frédy Au temps des Boîtes à Musique; Des Origines aux Orgues de Fête Foraine. French text.Includes 33-1/3 Stereo LP recording in rear pocket. Éditions Mondo, Lausanne, Switzerland, 1972. 175 pp Hardcover.

Bopp, Ron. The American Carousel Organ, An Illustrated Encyclopedia. Palmer Printing, St Cloud, MN, 1998. 283 pp. Includes Audio CD. Hardcover. ISBN:0966342909.

Bopp, Ron, Ed. Organs of the Mid-America Chapter, Musical Box Society International. MBSI. 1995. 88 pp.

Boston, Canon N. & Langwill, Lyndesey, Church and Chamber Barrel-Organs; Their Origin, Makers, Music and LocationLangwell, Edinburgh, 1967. 120 pp. 

Bowers, Q. David. A Tune for a Token, A catalogue of tokens and medals relating to automatic musical instruments circa 1850-1930. Token and Medal Society Inc. (TAMS), Thiensville, WI, 1975. 79 pp.

Bowers, Q. David. Encyclopedia of Automatic Musical Instruments . Vestal Press, Vestal, New York, 1972. 1,008 pp. ISBN: 0911572082.

Bowers, Q. David. A Guidebook of Automatic Musical Instruments, Volumes 1 and 2 combined. Vestal Press, Vestal, New York, 1967. 697 pp. Hardcover.

Bowers, Q. David. Nickelodeon Theaters And Their Music. Vestal Press, Vestal, New York, 1986. 212 pp.

Bowers, Q. David. Put Another Nickel In. Bonanza Books, New York, 1966. 248 pp. ISBN:0517136651.

Brauers, Jan. Von der Äolsharfe zum Digitalspieler. Klinhkhardt & Biermann, Munich, 1984. 279 pp. ISBN: 3781402398.

Brougher, Craig. The Orchestrion Builder’s Manual. Complete illustrated instructions for building and restoring orchestrions. Automata Press, Independence Mo., 1992. 238 pp. ISBN: 0963322400.

Buchner, Dr. Alexander. Mechanical Musical Instruments. English translation by Iris Urwin. Batchwork Press, London, 1954. 174 pp.

Bulleid, H.A.V. Cylinder Musical Box Design and Repair. ALMAR Press, Binghamton, NY, 1987. 234 pp. Softcover. ISBN: 0930256166.

Bulleid, H.A.V. Cylinder Musical Box Technology. ALMAR Press, Vestal, NY, 1994. 290 pp. Softcover.

Bulleid, H.A.V. Musical Box Tune Sheets. Musical Box Society of Great Britain, 2000. 153 pp. Softcover.

Bulleid, H.A.V. Musical Box Tune Sheet Supplement. Musical Box Society of Great Britain, 2001. 18 pp. Softcover.

Chapuis, Alfred. History of the Musical Box and of Mechanical Music. English translation by Joseph E. Roesch. Musical Box Society International, Summit, New Jersey, 1980. 303 pp.

Chapuis, Alfred and Droz, Edmund. Automata, A Historical and Technological Study. English translation by Alec Reid. Published in 1958 by Central Book Company, NY. Hard cover. 407 pages with over 480 drawings and black-and-white photographs and 28 color plates.

Chapuis, Alfred & Droz, Edmond. Les Automates. Figures Artificiielles D’Hommes et D’Animaux. Editions du Griffon, Neuchatel, 1949. 425 pp.

Chapuis, Alfred & Gelis, Edouard. Le Monde Des Automates. Etude Historique et Technique.  Self published, Paris, 1928. Vol. I, 348 pp. Vol. II, 352 pp.

Clark, John E.T. Musical Boxes, A History And Appreciation. Allen & Unwin, London, 1961. 264 pp.

Cockayne, Eric. The Fairground Organ. David & Charles, UK, 1970. 239 pp. ISBN: 0715349856.

Crew, Sydney. The Art of the Player Piano. Kegan Paul, Trench, Truber & Co, London, 1922. 333 pp.

Crowley, T.E. Discovering Mechanical Music. Shire Publications, U.K., 1975. 48 pp. ISBN: 0852633718

De Waard, R. Draaiorgels. The history and importance of the mechanical organ. In Dutch with English sections. Uitgeverij De Alk bv, Holland, 1996. 128 pp.

De Waard, R. Het Draaiorgel. Introduuction to Dutch Street Organs. Dutch language text. Alkmar, Netherlands, 1970. 80 pp. Softcover. ISBN: 9060136098.

De Waard, R. From Music Boxes to Street Organs. Originally published in Dutch by De Toorts. Has layout scale for organ book music. English translation. Vestal Press, New York, 1967. 263 pp. Library of Congress 67-27808.

Edgerton, William, EditorThe Silver Anniversary Collection. MBSI, Summit, NJ, 1974. 992 pp.

Foort, Reginald. The Cinema Organ. Second Edition, enlarged (originally published 1932). Vestal Press, NY, 1970. 200 pp.

Fratti, Nancy & Boehck, Steve, Ed. Golden Anniversary. History of the Musical Box Society International 1949-1999. Academy Books, 1999. 231 pp.

Givens, Larry Rebuilding The Player Piano. Vestal Press, Vestal, New York, 1963. 164 pp.

Haspels, Jan Jaap. Automatic Musical Instruments; their mechanics and their music 1580-1820. Self published, Netherlands, 1987. 275 pp.

Haspels, Jan Jaap. Musical Automata. Automatic musical instruments in the National Museum ‘From Musical Clock to Street Organ’ in English. National Museum, Utrecht, 1994. 256 pp. ISBN: 9080169927.

Hillier, Mary Automata & Mechanical Toys. An Illustrated History. Bloomsbury Books, London, 1988. 200 pp. ISBN: 1870630270

Hoke, Helen & John. Music Boxes, Their Lore and Lure. Includes 33-1/3 LP record of musical boxes from the Bornand collection. Hawthorne Books, New York, 1957. 93 pp.

Holzweissig, Ernst Catalog of Music Boxes and Automatons, 1898 (Re-print) . Annapolis, MD, 1997. 441 pp.

Hoover, Cynthia A. Music Machines – American Style. Smithsonian Institution Press, Washington, 1971. 139 pp.

Howe, Richard, Ed. The Ampico Reproducing Piano. MBSI, 1987. 316 pp.

Jüttemann, H. Waldkircher Dreh-und Jahrmarkt-Orgeln. Waldkircher Verlag. 1993. 324 pp. ISBN: 3-87885-249-5.

King, Constance. Metal Toys and Automata. Illustrations, descriptions and Manufacturer’s list. Apple Press, London UK. 183 pp. ISBN 1850761590.

Kleinbauer, J.C. How to build a Simple Mechanical Organ. A Step-By-Step guide showing how to build a small Monkey style Barrel Organ using a set of harmonica reeds, with detailed plans for construction. North Arlington, NJ, 1998. 63 pp.

Kobbe, Gustav. The Pianolist. A Guide for Pianola Players. 1st Edition. Moffat, Yard & Co., NY, 1907. 163 pp.

Kochmann, Karl. Black Forest Music Clocks. Antique Clocks Publishing, OH, 1990. 61 pp., illustrated. Softcover.

Maingot, Élaine. Les Automates. Illustrated, in French. Hachette, France, 1959. 96 pp.

Maurice, Klaus and Mayr, Otto, Eds. The Clockwork Universe; German Clocks and Automata 1550-1650. Neale Watson, New York, 1980. 321 pp.

Mayson, Geoffrey T. Mechanical Singing-bird Tabatières. Robert Hale, London, 2000. 256 pp.

McElhone, Kevin. Mechanical Music; A survey of musical boxes, street organs, player pianos, indoor organs and other mechanical instruments. Shire Publications, UK, 1997. 32 pp. Softcover.

McElhone, Kevin. The Organette Book. Over 700 plates illustrating 560 different makes, types and models of organette plus historical advertisements and documentation. MBSGB, UK, 2002. 417 pp.

McTammany, John. The Technical History of the Player. Reprint. Vestal Press, NY, 1970. 152 pp.

Metzger, Wolfran, & Kreiss, Jakob. Drehorgeln Schaurig-Schön. Catalog of the display at the Schloss Bruchsal museum May-September, 1994. Info Verlagsges. Karlsruhe,1994. 215 pp. ISBN:3881901868.

Mosoriak, Roy. The Curious History Of Music Boxes. Lightner Publishing, Chicago, 1943, First Edition. 164 pp.

Marini, Marino. Museo Di Strumenti Meccanici. Marini, Ravenna, Italy, 1990. 304 pp.

Nethercutt, J.B., & Bowers, Q. David, Ed. San Sylmar. A Treasure House of Functional Fine Art. With 33-1/3 rpm vinyl record “The Sounds of San Sylmar”. Merle Norman Cosmetics, Los Angeles, 1985. 351 pp. LOC Catalog # 78-62088.

Northwest International Chapter MBSI. Ethel’s World. The Ethel Holmes collection of automata. 1997. 126 pp.

Obenchain, Elaine. The Complete Catalog of Ampico Reproducing Piano Rolls. Vestal Press, NY, 1977. 197 pp. ISBN: 0911572627.

Ord-Hume, Arthur W.J.G. Barrel Organ. A.S. Barnes, New York, 1978. 567 pp., illustrated.

Ord-Hume, Arthur W.J.G. Clockwork Music. Crown Publishers, New York, 1973. 334 pp., illustrated. With dust jacket.

Ord-Hume, Arthur W.J.G. Collecting Musical Boxes And How To Repair Them. Crown Publishers, New York, 1967. 140 pp., illustrated.

Ord-Hume, Arthur W.J.G. Joseph Haydn and the Mechanical Organ. Allen & Unwin, University College Cardiff Press London. 1982. 185 pp.

Ord-Hume, Arthur W.J.G. The Mechanics Of Mechanical Music. The Arrangement of Music for Automatic Instruments. Ord-Hume, London, 1973. 74 pp. ISBN: 0903817004.

Ord-Hume, Arthur W.J.G. The Musical Box, A Guide For Collectors. Includes 600 illustrations. Schiffer Publishing Co., Atglen, PA, 1995. 336 pp. ISBN:0887407641

Ord-Hume, Arthur W.J.G. Musical Box; A History and Collector’s Guide. Allen & Unwin, London. 1980. 410 pp.

Ord-Hume, Arthur W.J.G. The Musical Clock. Musical & Automaton Clocks Watches. Mayfield Books, UK. 1995. 352 pp. ISBN: 0952327007.

Ord-Hume, Arthur W.J.G. Player Piano; The History of the Mechanical Piano and How to Repair It. A.S. Barnes, So. Brunswick, 1970. 296 pp. ISBN: 0498074846.

Ord-Hume, Arthur W.J.G. Restoring Musical Boxes. Allen & Unwin, Barnes & Co., London. 1980. 186 pp., well-illustrated companion to Musical Box; A History and Collector’s Guide.

Ord-Hume, Arthur W.J.G. Restoring Musical Boxes & Musical Clocks. Mayfield, England. 1997. 368 pp.

Ord-Hume, Arthur W.J.G. Restoring Pianolas and other self-playing pianos. George Allen & Unwin, London. 1983. 143 pp. With dust jacket.

Ord-Hume, Arthur W.J.G. Pianola; the history of the self-playing piano. George Allen & Unwin, London. 1984. 395 pp., includes over 225 illustrations.

Ord-Hume, Arthur W.J.G. Player-Piano; The History of the Mechanical Piano and How to Repair it. Allen & Unwin, A.S. Barnes & Co., Cranberry, NJ Pub. 1970. 296 pp., includes over 200 illustrations.

Ord-Hume, Arthur W.J.G. The Musical Clock; Musical & Automaton Clocks & Watches. Mayfield Books, England. 1995. 352 pp., includes color and black and white illustrations.

Piguet, Jean-Claude. The Music Box Makers. The History of the Music Box in Sainte-Croix. English translation. MBSI, 2004. ISBN: 0975988204.

Prasteau, Jean & Mandiaguez, André. Les Automates. Editions Gründ collection de l’amateur, 1968, 186 pp.

Rambach, H. & Wernet, O.Waldkircher Orgelbauer. Waldkircher Verlagsgesellschaft, Germany. 1984. 215 pp. ISBN: 3878850972.

Reblitz, Arthur. The Golden Age of Automatic Musical Instruments. Mechanical Music Press, NH, 2001. 436 pp. ISBN: 0970595107.

Reblitz, Arthur. Player Piano Servicing and Rebuilding. Vestal Press, Vestal, NY, 1986. 216 pp. Softcover. ISBN: 0911572046.

Reblitz, Arthur & Bowers, Q. David. Treasures of Mechanical Music. A Compilation of tracker bar, key frame, and note layouts for automatic musical instruments. Vestal Press, NY, 1981. 630 pp. ISBN: 0911572201.

Reeve, Claude. Musical Clock. Model & Allied Publications, 1975. 125 pp. ISBN:085242423X

Roehl, Harvey N. Player Pianos and Music Boxes. Vestal Press, Vestal, NY. 1968. 48 pp., includes many illustrations. Softcover.

Rulli, Angelo, Ed. Musical Boxes and Other Musical Marvels – A Decade of Enjoyment. MBSI, St. Paul, MN. 1985. 484 pp. w/glossary.

Roehl, Harvey. Player Piano Treasury. The Scrapbook History of the Mechanical Piano in America. 2nd Edition. Vestal Press. 1973. 316 pp. Softcover. ISBN: 0911572007.

Ryder, Stephen & Eric, Christian, Music In Time. Special Exhibition of Musical Boxes, June 1990-September 1991, MBSI. 1990. 80 pp.

Sandoz, Maurice and Edouard. Collection De Montres Et Automates; Edition Du Chateau Des Monts, Le Locle Musee d’Horlogerie (no date). 200 pp. Softcover.

Simon, Ernst. Mechanische Musikinstrumente. Breitkopf & Härtel, Wiesbaden, 1960. 106 pp. ISBN: 3765101699

Smith, Charles Davis. Duo-Art Piano Music. A Complete Classified Catalog of Music Recorded for the Duo-Art Reproducing Piano. The Player Shop, Monrovia, CA, 1987. 321 pp.

Smith, Charles Davis & Howe, Richard. The Welte-Mignon: Its Music and Musicians. Automatic Instrument Collectors’ Association, 1994. 975 pp. ISBN: 1879511177.

Soriano, André et. al. The Mechanical Dolls of Monte Carlo. Rizzoli, NY, 1985. 172 pp. ISBN: 0847806790

Suidman, Peter, et. al. Pianola’s. Nederlandse Pianola Vereniging, Baarn, 1981. 120 pp.

Tallis, David Music Boxes A Guide for Collectors. Stein and Day, New York, 1971. 143 pp. w/glossary.

Troquet, Daniel The Wonderland of Music Boxes and Automata. Les Editions du Cochet, SA, Saite-Croix, Switzerland, 1989.
220 pp. Hardcover.

Webb, Graham The Musical Box Handbook Volume 1, Cylinder Boxes. Vestal Press, Vestal, NY, 1984. 241 pp. Softcover.

Webb, Graham The Disc Musical Box Handbook Volume 2, Disc Boxes. Vestal Press, Vestal, NY, 1984. 316 pp. Softcover.

Webb, Graham The Disc Musical Box Handbook. Faber & Faber Ltd., London, 1971. 323 pp. Hardcover. ISBN: 0571093787.

Weiss-Stauffacher, Heinrich, Musikautomaten und mechanische Musikinstrumente. A descriptive catalog of the Seewen private museum. Orell Füssli, Zurich. 1975. 247 pp. ISBN: 3280008093.

Weiss-Stauffacher, Heinrich The Marvelous World of Music Machines. English translation by James Underwood. Kodansha Int’l Ltd, New York, 1976. 244 pp.

Wendel, Siegfried, Das mechanische Musikkabinett. Original German version. Harenberg Kommunikation, Dortmund, 1983. 208 pp.

Wendel, Siegfried, Datenspeicher-Musikinstrumente. A survey of instruments in the museum in German, English, and French. Siegfrieds-musikkabinett, Rüdeshiem, 2002. 265 pp. ISBN: 3000008365.

Wendel, Siegfried The Mechanical Music Cabinet. Harenberg Kommunikation, Dortmund, 1984. English translation by Sue Trotter & Harvey Roehl. 208 pp.

White, William B. Piano Playing Mechanisms. 2nd Edition. Tuners Supply, Boston, 1953. 240pp.

Wieffering, F. Glorieuze orgeldagen. Dutch Street Organs. A. Oosthoek, Utrecht, 1965. 216 pp. ISBN: 1567920683.

Zeraschi, Helmut. Drehorgeln. Buchclub Zurich, 1976. 250 pp.

Note: Any reference to “MBSI” refers to the Musical Box Society International, P.O. Box 10196, Springfield, MO 65808, If you have corrections to this list or suggestions for additions, please forward your comments to this address or contact a member of the MBSI Publications Committee. In the future we hope to add a section of instruction manuals and pamphlets as well as educational audio and video recordings.

Selection Criteria: The following parameters were used due to space considerations.

Eligible for inclusion if directly related to automatic musical instruments:

*Any book or pamphlet published by the MBSI.

*Books and pamphlets which foster a genuine interest in the collection, restoration and preservation of automatic musical instruments and have educational value.


*Reprints of automatic musical instrument advertisements that do not contain substantial accompanying explanations.

*Books or pamphlets which have no identifying publisher or date.

*Personal stories or fiction.

*Catalogs of temporary museum displays unless there is an ISBN number or a Library of Congress catalog number.

*Reprints of articles from periodicals of mechanical music collector organizations.

*Pricing guides that have no accompanying explanations.

*Yearly or periodic editions of piano roll catalogs.