As Q. David Bowers so eloquently states in his Encyclopedia of Automatic Musical Instruments,
“What makes an old-time automatic musical instrument interesting?…It may be the elusive, never-to-be-recaptured feeling of an earlier era…an era that, somehow, seems to be wistfully carefree and nostalgic…The sound produced by a carefully restored instrument is the exact sound that our ancestors heard and enjoyed. The performance that delights you today may have delighted in exactly the same way Napoleon, Queen Victoria, the King of Siam, a San Francisco theatre, or a Paris streetwalker years ago. The emotions of another time, another place…the entertainment of another era comes to life unaltered and undimmed today.”
Thousands of visitors, young and old, have been captivated by this incredible collection of automatic music machines spanning two centuries. Nickelodeons pound out the tunes of Irving Berlin, George M. Cohan and John Philip Sousa. Intricate, beautifully-tuned music boxes, created by nineteenth-century German and Swiss craftsmen, tinkle enchantingly in the same manner as they did one hundred years ago. Merry-go-round band organs roar to life with explosions of melody.