The Metronome

Another family ‘heirloom’ here – of no great value, of course.

It’s a metronome. That’s one of those ticking machines that musicians use to help them keep the right tempo for their music. It has a clockwork mechanism so, of course, I love it.

But this one belonged to my wife’s family. In fact, her grandfather was something of a violinist and it belonged to him.

It’s a neat pyramidal shaped wooden box.


I call that an elegant shape. The front opens.


And there we see the ‘pendulum’ which keeps up a regular ticking sound. If the slider is moved to the top of the pendulum it ticks slowly whereas down at the bottom the music would have to be, ‘at the gallop’. The scale tells you how many ticks per minute you’ll get.

Of course, there are comprehensive instructions on the inside of the door.


One sentence starts, ‘If the metronome has a bell…’. Well this one does. It is operated with a pull out knob just by the winding key.


This knob can be set to various time types so you can get the metronome to go, ding, tick, tick, tick, or ding, tick, tick or just ding, tick.

The removable bottom plate is missing from this metronome which means we can see and enjoy the works.


Oh dear. I didn’t check that for cobwebs. I didn’t see them until I used flash to cope with the interior darkness! I love the elegant simplicity of it.

These devices wouldn’t be complete without a maker’s plate. It is on the front of the door.


So it is a Metronome de Maelzel imported from Switzerland.

From web research I think this could be Victorian although I have to say that the ones sold by specialists seem classier than this one in terms of the wood use and the label. But never mind! It’s an item to be loved and cherished.


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2 Responses to “The Metronome”

  1. Pete Says:

    My Mum has an identical one that belonged to my Gran…

    • locksands Says:

      The general design is very common. Many musicians have one that looks the same. Most, though, are classier than ours in terms of wood veneer finish.

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