Antique Clockwork Maelzel Pyramid Metronome, J. Thibouville-lamy, France C.1900 For Sale
Antique Clockwork Maelzel Metronome, J. Thibouville-Lamy, France c.1900
Antique Clockwork Maelzel Metronome in wooden pyramid case by J. Thibouville-Lamy & Co of France c.1900, fully working. J.T.L. to scale and brass plaque with 'Metronome de Maelzel, Paris, France. Amerique, Belgigue, Hollande, Angleterre'
A fully-working Thibouville-Lamy Maelzel-type Metronome in pyramid case in super condition with beautiful patina to wood. 40 - 208 bpm Scale with J.T.L lyre badge. Clockwork mechanism with bell to base in perfect condition. Pull-out tempo button with scale to side with winding key. Traditional metronome in walnut pyramid case
Equipped with bell to indicate time/beat/rhythm, tempo from 40bpm to 208 bpm. Pull-out tempo rod with graduated markings and '2 3 4 6' scale (2/4, 3/4, 4/4 and 6/8 settings)
Base 11cm (4.25") square, 23cm (9") high
In excellent, working condition - minor graffiti in pencil to mechanism door under base
The history of J Thibouville-Lamy dates back to 1790 in Mirecourt, France, where it was one of the biggest musical instrument manufacturers of its day.
J. Thibouville-Lamy who worked at both Mirecourt and Paris and was awarded medals in almost every country as well as being honoured with the Chevalier of the Legion of Honour ribbon in 1877.
Jérôme Thibouville-Lamy (JTL) was a large musical instrument making company, formed in the mid 19th century from the merger of pre-existing makers. It was based in Mirecourt, France, and was active producing large numbers of woodwind, brass and stringed instruments until the mid 20th century. The company also made large numbers of mechanical organs and organettes between 1880 and 1910. Some of these models were made with license of the Gavioli company.
The name was adopted around 1867 after Louis Emile Jérôme Thibouville, a partner in the instrument maker Husson-Buthod-Thibouville, married Marguerite Hyacinthe Lamy, a cousin of his business partners, and upon becoming owner of the firm he renamed it using their combined names: Jérôme Thibouville-Lamy.
Thibouville was descendent of a line of woodwind and brass instrument makers dating back to the 16th Century. However, he was primarily an entrepreneur who was keen to develop a business in stringed instruments, and was not himself a luthier or bow-maker. The JTL company grew quickly, and at its peak it reached annual production rates of over 150,000 instruments produced by more than 1,000 luthiers.
Its production, which covered the whole range of instruments of the violin family, was of good quality and dedicated to both the French market and exports.
The workshop closed in 1969 but its English workshop carried on and is still making Thibouville-Lamy instruments out of Woodford Green in Essex
Johann Nepomuk Maelzel (1772-1838), was a very talented person. Not only highly skilled in the rudiments of technical design, he was also a successful businessman who, like Edison, would seize upon another person's ideas, only to perfect, patent, build, market and sell them as his own.
He is known primarily for two historical pieces - the metronome (1814), which was in fact first devised and drawn up by Dietrich Nikolaus Winkel, and for purchasing and later selling for a huge profit, the forever infamous Turk chess-player automaton which was half-created by Wolfgang von Kempelen (1805).
This world-famous Turk-playing chess automaton is currently being re-built on paper in London - but a version which will work from a fully mechanical computer, rather than from the design by Maelzel which involved more staged magic than advanced machanics.
At the time his metronome patent (No. 3966 of 1815) was finally approved, he made a batch of just 200 to send out to friends, composers, musical instrument makers and the like for thier suggestions, comments and modifications. One of these composers was Beethoven, a friend who he later produced ear trumpets for when he neared complete loss of hearing.
It is recorded that Maelzel was one of the five people who forcefully entered Beethoven's house when they heard a loud crash from outside. They found him standing over his piano with a saw after cutting off the legs in the hope he might have heard it play when he placed his ear to the bare floorboards.
Beethoven did however like the idea of a metronome and he made additional marks where he thought useful time points should be set. One of these was the lowest on the scale - 50. This was lowered even more into Largo by 1821 with a setting for 40. Even when deaf, he could still see when the maximum swing with each stroke was met.
Maelzel was a musician himself, with regular performances of music scored for automatons of his creation running on a stage, whilst viewed by an audience below. During the 1820s, he toured New York with his Turk Chess-player, a panharmonicon, rope-dancing automatons, singing bird boxes, and speaking dolls - all of which were his creations.
Eventually spending all his money on loose women and booze, he died a chronic alcoholic on-board a ship in Venezuela in 1838.
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