The Organ Grinder

Posted on Nov 16, 2014 in Travel

In the 19th century street performers had some pretty impressive machines.  The street organ in particular is amazing piece of machinery that must  have been even more impressive back in a time when even the light bulb had not been invented.

Street Grinders would crank their organs by hand to the delight of crowds passing by.  They would collect coins, then pick up their street organ and move somewhere else.  Organs could be small and play about 18 notes, or very large like barrel organs.

When in Delft, Netherlands I had the exceptional treat of seeing Dutch Street Organs which are played by music books on rolls that have the notes notched in the paper.  As the thick paper hits the note, it makes that note play.

This street grinder was picture perfect.  With his puppy, his organ and a fancy tie he sang in french.  It was simply amazing.