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We've always lived in suburban areas, so we like to visit small towns when we can. Now that we're in Pennsylvania and the weather is temperate we decided to take a trip to yet another small town, one we've never visited before. Franklin PA.

For my wife the draw was the antiques stores. For me it was the Debence Antique Music World.

The Debence family long ago began to collect antique music machines of all sorts. They created a collection at their home outside of Franklin. When the old man died his wife decided to sell the collection in the hope that a local group might take it up and create a museum in this town. That happened several decades ago. It is the Debence Antique Music World.

So I visited this afternoon. What a collection! Two stories filled with items dating as far back as the latter half of the 19th century.

- Early Edison (and competitor) cylinder phonographs.
- Early disk-based phonographs.
- Drum and disk music boxes from all over Europe.
- Reed organs. And I don't mean those cheesy 1960s/1970s items. These are ornate furniture pieces from the late 19th century.
- Orchestrions and related all-in-one musical wonders ... piano, organ, drums, triangle, tambourines all in one instrument ... a marvel of industrial automation.
- Some of these were cast-offs from carnivals and amusement parks. Meant for outside use, these were LOUD!
- A combined violin- and piano-playing machine.
- Early player pianos with monstrous mechanisms behind the kick plate.
- Later player pianos ... the kind we're more familiar with ... the kind with the "works" sitting behind the music desk.

Those were all in the first-floor exhibit, demonstrated by the resident for an entry fee.

The downstairs no-fee display had many more instruments, including later/newer reed organs, early wire-recorders, mid-20th century phono-radio consoles, and much more.

All of the pre-electric instruments required energy from a human ... cranked music boxes and phonograph tables, pumped organ bellows, and so on.
Later ones were electrified with motors to drive the mechanics.

The curator mentioned that people from the Smithsonian examined some of these pieces and declared that they belong in a fine, well-funded metropolitan museum with proper conservatorship ... rather than in this out-in-the-woods little town of Franklin. It's just as well they're not. It was only a hour's drive to Franklin. I'm glad these items are not far away in Washington or New York.

All this made for a very pleasant hour today, after which I rejoined my wife as she finished her perusal of the antiques stores. Based on her judgement of the latter it's clear I got the best of the day.

FYI, you can find the Debence Antique Music World online at https://debencemusicworld.com

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Hi Mac3, thanks for sharing that experience, it seems you had a great time thumb

As an engineer, I always marvel on those mechanical designs. I am now working on the restoration of an electrostatic church organ, which uses rotary metal engraved discs to generate the sound (a kind of rough sampler) and, being 1960s technology, it is incredible what they accomplished.


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Originally Posted by MacMacMac
FYI, you can find the Debence Antique Music World online at https://debencemusicworld.com
Is it only me:
"Your access to this site has been limited by the site owner
Your access to this service has been limited. (HTTP response code 503)"

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Originally Posted by brennbaer
Originally Posted by MacMacMac
FYI, you can find the Debence Antique Music World online at https://debencemusicworld.com
Is it only me:
"Your access to this site has been limited by the site owner
Your access to this service has been limited. (HTTP response code 503)"
...and that's a "me too". I'm in Europe, where are you, so maybe there's a country or regional block on? Seems a shame.

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Hello,

Same here, also from Europe.

Cheers and happy Sunday,

HZ

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"Block Reason: Access from your area has been temporarily limited for security reasons." it says.

We are dangerous. 😉

There's also a "Museum Of Mechanical Music" somewhere in Finland. Their website doesn't have much to explore though: http://mekaanisenmusiikinmuseo.fi/index.php?page=etusivu_en

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Originally Posted by clothearednincompo
"Block Reason: Access from your area has been temporarily limited for security reasons." it says.

We are dangerous. 😉
You definitely need to get a VPN service to get around those authoritarian restrictions. Just Google VPN service reviews and pick one you like; I’m a computer novice and it was easy. I use NordVPN, but there are lots to choose from. They increase your online security as well.

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YEs, a VPN that lets you choose the host country will do the trick. My wife uses Pure VPN so that she can watch streaming shows on the BBC.

It's a puzzle why this museum must be "protected" from you. frown

But try a VPN if you can. There are photos of many interesting instruments.

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I abstracted photos from their web site ...

First, a video on Facebook:
It all began with the Western Electric Mascot
Find other videos there, too.

Then a series of photographs:
Berry-Wood A.O.W. circa 1912
Made by the Berry-Wood Piano Player Company of Kansas City. It was the largest machine in the high-quality line of Berry-Woods.

Violano Virtuoso circa 1911
Made by the Mills Novelty Company of Chicago. The machine contains one violin, but could be built with up to three.

Sublime Harmony Piccolo Cylinder Music circa 1885
Made by Mermod Freres of St. Croix, Switzerland.

Criterion Disk Player circa 1897
Made by F.G. Otto Company of New Jersey.

Grand Regins 27? Disk Music Box circa 1897
Made by Regina Company of Rahway, New Jersey.

Modernola Phonograph circa early 1930s
Made in Johnstown, PA. Could be purchased with or without electric light.

Edison C19 "Chippendale" Phonograph circa 1919
Uses a diamond stylus.

Columbia Grafonola circa 1918
Made by the Columbia Graphophone Company.

Victor Victrola Model 2115 circa 1924
Made in Camden, New Jersey.

Wellershaus Brothers German Fair Organ circa 1904
Built as a barrel organ but converted to play book music in 1934.

Wurlitzer Style 148 Military Band Organ circa 1927
Made in Tonawanda, NY. One of only 46 produced.

Wurlitzer 105 Band Organ Prototype circa 1930
Made in North Tonawanda, NY. The only 65-note band organ produced.

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yeah, now i tried Opera instead of Chrome.
Opera has a built in and obviously free VPN integrated.

After activating it i could access the website and fulfil my disgraceful and dangerous deeds which they where hoping to prevent me from doing by locking me out...😁😁

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Originally Posted by MacMacMac
We've always lived in suburban areas, so we like to visit small towns when we can. Now that we're in Pennsylvania and the weather is temperate we decided to take a trip to yet another small town, one we've never visited before. Franklin PA.....

Very nice story MacMacMac.

I guess they generally did not let you briefly touch or play any of the relics .... ?

This may be next on my list of historic places in Penns Woods to visit , probably after a trip down a historic highway to the Haines little shoe house -

https://www.hainesshoehouse.com/

- and the motor lodge from bygone days in Bedford, Penn. -

https://www.lincolnmotorcourt.com/about-us

- and maybe, just maybe someday visiting the worlds 2nd largest mud dwelling, which i have yet to confirm its actual existence since i do not consume much television/movies these days 🙄

In the meantime, i’m guessing that since you are recently relocated from the Carolinas ( where many things animate & non this time of year stew in their own juices) , i’ll give you a pass on referring to the recent spell of what i call close to God-forsaken, oppressively hot and humid Pennsylvania weather, has been “temperate” as you say, even weather conditions are relative ..... so i envy you, but ..... it also reminds me of a previous life living in south FLA in the 80’s. My first year there, by November i was among the few running around outside in shorts & thin golf shirt, loving that kind of temperate weather - sunny blue skies and temps in high 60’s to mid 70’s - while most other people were in heavy sweatpants and long-sleaved shirts pointing at the telltale latest transplant from the north (me).


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I, too, spent the 80s in south Florida, near Ft. Lauderdale. And also the 90s. And the 2000s.
Little did I know that I was just down the road from Morodiene. I could have had lessons!
I was also down the road from Frank (owner of PW) until he moved to Maine.

Only in 2013 did we escape the oppressive heat and humidity.

People in Carolina and Pennsylvania claimed we were going the wrong way (north). Nope. Not for us. (Nor for Frank.)

In contrast the short July, August, September summers here in PA are a blessing. In Florida the heat starts in May (or even April), and extends into November. No thanks. Not anymore. Never again.

Indeed, our only two trips back to Florida after we left were to Disney where we spent time with our daughters and one grandson. And those trips were in February (cool!) and October, the latter being a bit hotter than we would have liked.

As for the Debence relics ... I was allowed to try playing the instruments. I tried the various keyboards, but after testing a few chords on each and finding them grossly out of of tune I let it go.
Instead I listened to the automated playing of the player pianos and orchestrions and band organs, with detailed explanations from the curator/tour guide.

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Originally Posted by MacMacMac
I, too, spent the 80s in south Florida, near Ft. Lauderdale. And also the 90s. And the 2000s.
Little did I know that I was just down the road from Morodiene. I could have had lessons!
I was also down the road from Frank (owner of PW) until....e.

Huh!, i was roughly 1/2 north of Miami and 1/2 west of Ft. Liquord er, Lauderdale..... was told that about 20-30 years prior (to the 80’s), the spot where I lived - western boundary of Sunrise - was native swamp ..... Everglades ..... until some well-connected financiers got the bright idea to back-fill, develop and sell or rent as “prime real estate” 🌴 ...... and the highest point was the landfill/dump, no mountains to view in the distance, but plenty buzzards.



As I recall ..... rainy season from April til about Sept, when hurricane season begins.... Gilbert came close my first year there ......then around late November that dies down but the snowbirds begin to flock .... AKA “ the phasors” .... “ raisin heads” 🙂 which lasts til around Easter and the cycles of this continuum repeats all over again, plus the constant influx all year ‘round of transients from all over the world who have few if any practical driving skills ..... i suspect Florida was a place that ultimately lead to the invention of ‘no-fault automobile insurance’ 🚑


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Yes, the western edge of Sunrise was swamp when we arrived in 1981. It was then heavily developed in the early- and mid-1980s.

The entire county is now full. No new development has been possible for around twenty years. If you want to put up a new building you have to tear down an existing one.
The only open land is in the Everglades, which is protected against development.

Conclusion: the area is overdeveloped. And overcrowded. And undesirable.
The wise have gone elsewhere ... many to Palm Beach county, and others (like us) to other states.
Realtors in North Carolina called us "halfbacks" when we moved there. We were people from the north who went to Florida, but later came to Carolina ... halfway back to the north.

Now that we're in Pennsylvania I guess that makes us fullbacks. smile


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