"Look ma, no electrons!" Top 5 Page for this destination Bruchsal by Nemorino
Bruchsal Travel Guide: 71 reviews and 228 photos
We 21st century folks are so accustomed to doing everything electronically that we tend to forget about (or not even know about) the amazing mechanical devices our grandparents, great-grandparents, great-great-grandparents and great-great-great-grandparents used to use.
From music boxes to player pianos, musical clocks to orchestrions, barrel organs to self-playing violins, the German Mechanical Instrument Museum in Bruchsal Palace has some five hundred historical musical devices on display, most of them in good working order. In my Things to Do tips on this page I have presented roughly three percent of these magnificent self-playing musical instruments.
Of course I was just kidding when I said there were no electrons. Every atom has at least one electron, but since these historical instruments are purely mechanical the electrons don't have to do the work. They're just along for the ride, so to speak.
Bruchsal is a city of 42,000 people in the Rhine Valley between Heidelberg and Karlsruhe.
I took a direct InterCity train from Frankfurt am Main to Bruchsal, where I met up with a small group of VirtualTourist members who had attended the 7th Annual Glühwein Meeting in Karlsruhe the day before.
Both the Karlsruhe meeting and the subsequent excursion to Bruchsal were organized by VT-member Bernd_L, shown here taking a photo of the re-built and restored Bruchsal Palace.
Thanks again, Bernd, for organizing this fine excursion!
The other VT members who took part in the excursion were suvanki (Sue) from Sheffield, England; Igraine (Ingrid) from Purmerend, Netherlands; gubbi1 (Christian) from Kempten, Germany and alza (Lou) from North America.
Lou and I met again a week later at the Frankfurt Opera for a performance of The Tales of Hoffmann by Jacques Offenbach (1819-1880). By coincidence this nineteenth century French opera features a life-size mechanical doll that can sing, dance, bow, roll her eyes and even speak ("oui").
So it was appropriate that before seeing this opera we went to the museum in Bruchsal and saw hundreds of ingenious self-playing mechanical instruments, many of them made in Jacques Offenbach's own lifetime.
At the Frankfurt Opera the mechanical doll, Olympia, was played and sung by the brilliant young American soprano Brenda Rae, who did a fantastic clockwork dance while singing her stunning coloraturas.
Starting in 1964 the palace decorations were carefully and elaborately restored, using traditional materials and... more travel advice
This elaborate fairground organ with three moving figures was made in Waldkirch in 1903 by the firm of A. Ruth &... more travel advice
Nemorino's Related Pages
Bruchsal Travel Guide
Member Travel Pages
- "Bruchsal: Baroque Residence Town"
- "Look ma, no electrons!"
- "THE STUNNING PALACE OF BRUCHSAL!"
- "A Day out in Bruchsal"
- "My Bruchsal"
- "Bruchsal- Near Karlsruhe"
- "Schloss Bruchsal"
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- Things to Do in Bruchsal
- Transportation in Bruchsal
- Nightlife in Bruchsal
- Restaurants in Bruchsal
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