Mechanical Musical Toys

Hurdy Gurdy Music Maker
made by Hassenfeld Brothers, Inc.
by Beatrice Robertson (031208 MMDigest)

Does anyone else on MMD collect musical toys?  If so, it would be interesting to share descriptions of some of our more unusual items.

I'll begin by offering a photo of a marvelous toy barrel organ from 1954 called a Hurdy Gurdy Music Maker.  This toy is quite large: approximately 12.5" x 13" tall including 6" round wheels.  The music is placed on the barrel and plastic pegs must then be inserted in each punched out hole in the paper music.  When cranked, it happily plays on what sounds like not too well tuned bar bells.  The music has marvelous graphics.

The toy was made by Hassenfeld Brothers, Inc. (which later became Hasbro).  The one I have came new in the box; the music was never punched, so it had apparently never been played.  Makes me wonder about the purchaser's sense of curiosity -- I certainly can't leave a new purchase unplayed in its box!

It is amazing to me that I have seen so few duplicates of toys that must have been made by the thousands. What happened to them?  Is the an attic in the sky for old musical toys? As we approach the Holiday Season, this seems like an interesting subject -- I hope some of the rest of you will dig out your toy treasures and share.

Beatrice Robertson
08 Dec 2003 11:31:39 -0500

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09 December 2003