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In 1814, Dietrich Winkel demonstrated a mechanical metronome in Amsterdam. Johann Maelzel, a German inventor and showman, added a scale to Winkel’s instrument, obtained an English patent in 1816, and began manufacturing instruments soon thereafter. A brass plate on the front of this example is marked “MÉTRONOME / DE / MAELZEL / FRANCE AMÉRIQUE BELGIQUE PARIS HOLLANDE ANGLETERRE.”
This example came from the estate of Lucy Hunter Baird (1848-1913), the daughter of Spencer Fullerton Baird, the naturalist who served as the second Secretary of the Smithsonian. Robert Kennicott, a naturalist associated with the Smithsonian, wrote to Lucy Baird in the early 1860s, asking about her well-being and her new-found skill of piano-playing: “Don’t forget to learn some pretty music to play for me when I go back.”
Currently not on view
Object Name
overall: 8 1/2 in x 4 1/2 in x 4 1/2 in; 21.59 cm x 11.43 cm x 11.43 cm
overall; metronome: 9 1/4 in x 4 3/4 in x 3 3/8 in; 23.495 cm x 12.065 cm x 8.5725 cm
overall; door top: 5 1/4 in x 3 1/4 in x 1/4 in; 13.335 cm x 8.255 cm x.635 cm
overall; door bottome: 2 13/16 in x 4 1/4 in x 7/8 in; 7.14375 cm x 10.795 cm x 2.2225 cm
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Medicine and Science: Physical Sciences
Data Source
National Museum of American History
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