This fascinating hand-cranked box organ plays musical rolls with holes in them. Birk carved each of the whistles and made the pump diaphragm for the organ. Air is pumped through holes in a rotating roll of paper, like a player piano roll that is hand cranked. Three commercial music rolls were included. The holes allow air to flow through varying lengths of tuned whistles, playing a song. It has the circus sound of a steam powered calliope. Visitors can see and hear this wonderful machine in action at the Miniature Engineering Craftsmanship Museum in Carlsbad, CA.

Birk Petersen created a vast array of projects over his lifetime, ranging from miniature engines to hand-cranked animations and more. He built functional miniatures like a 1/3 scale Gatling gun or a 1/4 scale Case steam tractor, but he also built mechanical creations for the fun and enjoyment of his family. When Birk passed away in 2015, his family graciously donated over 150 items from his collection for display at the Miniature Engineering Craftsmanship Museum, where they are currently on display. We thank the Petersen family for sharing his extensive collection, which demonstrates the broad interests and many talents of Birk Petersen.

This fascinating hand-cranked box organ plays musical rolls.

Exhibit added: May 7, 2016 - Last modified: January 24, 2024

Presented by The Joe Martin Foundation for Exceptional Craftsmanship