Thursday, 30 April 2015
The Polyphon is back!
One of Fairlynch Museum’s best-known artefacts is home again after a spell of thorough restoration at the hands of experts in mechanical music. The overhaul was made possible by a generous donation from a Friend of the Museum.
“A rather sedate and old-fashioned juke-box” is how the Exmouth Journal described Fairlynch’s polyphon in June 1968 when the museum had been open for only a year. Since then, its tinkly rendering of familiar tunes has entertained thousands of visitors.
Polyphon is the trade name given to disc-playing music boxes first manufactured by the Polyphon Musikwerke, located in Leipzig, Germany. Invented in 1870, full-scale production started around 1897 and continued into the early 1900s. Polyphons were exported all over the world and music was supplied for the English, French and German markets, as well as further afield.
Museum records show that Fairlynch’s instrument originally came from the King’s Arms, Otterton and give it a date of 14 November 1898.
You can listen to a sample of the Polyphon’s music online here but better still, call at Fairlynch Museum and see it in action.
The Museum is open from Tuesday to Sunday, 2.00-4.30pm. Admission is free but a small charge is made to operate the Polyphon.