Note the elaborate architectural details of the palace.
Photo 1: Chinese dragons serve as gargoyles on the roof of the Corps de logis.
Photo 2: A stucco detail on the facade above the main entrance
Photo 3: Athena, the goddess of wisdom, was painted above the entrance door of the Latin school.
Photo 4: Wall paintings on the Western facade of the chamber wing. Ancient mythology was popular even in clerical circles. Here we find Paris and Venus on the facade of a catholic bishop's palace.
Photo 5: The prince's crown on the roof above the gate between main and side wing, and another dragon-shaped gargoyle
Bruchsal's town centre has mostly post-war architecture. Along the pedestrian malls you'll find a lot of shops that sell about everything and even a small, locally owned department store - the shopping is at a small-town level, though. You'll get what you need, but if you want a wider choice a trip to Karlsruhe, Heidelberg or (best) Mannheim is recommended.
Update 2011: Quite a bit has been done recently to improve the town centre. Since the completion of Rathausgalerie mall some new shops have settled in Stuttgart. The pedestrian zone has partly been redecorated with sculptures and fountains and looks much nicer than before. The small town department store closed down but a large fashion store has moved into the building. Bruchsal is still much smaller than the cities around but all in all the efforts to modernize the town are visible.
This is an automatic bell-ringing machine that was made around 1790 in Geneva, Switzerland, by a company called Ferdinand Adler and Sons.
The metal drum at the bottom had metal pins or knobs on it corresponding to the different bells. When you rotated the drum, the pins plucked wires which rang the different bells at different frequencies, so as to play a tune. The metal drum was in effect a data storage medium, serving the same purpose as the hard disks, CD-ROMs and USB sticks that we use today.
There doesn't seem to be an English word for this sort of machine, so we use either the German word Glockenspiel or the French word carillon.
This is not the oldest machine in the museum, it's just the oldest one I happened to take a picture of. The oldest machine on display was made 170 years earlier, around 1620.
Switzerland, by the way, turns out to have been an important center of the self-playing musical instrument in the eighteenth century. This is because they already had numerous skilled artisans who had been trained as clockmakers.
People who could make clocks evidently had little trouble adding a few extra gears to make them into self-playing instruments.
Many of these trained clockmakers lived in poor rural areas, so they were willing to work for low wages, thus keeping prices competitive.
Admission to this museum in Bruchsal Palace is included in the Palace admission price.
After looking around the Palace, we arrived at this museum, in time to catch one of the guided tours (These run 3 times per day) The museum contains 500 instruments and 6,000 Sound Media, and is one of the largest of its kind in the world!
Even so, I hadn't expected the tour to last so long, nearly 2 hours.
The tour was conducted in German. Although I didn't understand much of the guides spiel, I still found it very interesting. Bernd attempted to translate some of the information, but he admitted later that some of the information was very technical.
I have downloaded some videos of the various instruments, but for more in depth information of the exhibits, I'd recommend visiting Nemorinos Bruchsal page
The museum covers the 350 year history of self playing instruments. These include pianos, violins, organs, musical clocks, barrel organs, music boxes and mechanical figures.
Some of these can be operated by visitors (pic2) or the guide will demonstrate the various exhibits.
Hi-lights included the early 20th Century pub.(Pic1) This was donated to the museum by its last owner, and is completely authentic. It can be hired out for parties etc, with seating for 30-50 people. (Tel.0049(0)7251/7426-52 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org )
The Titanic's Organ - This 1912 Welte organ was commissioned for the luxurious ocean liner HMS Titanic. However, there was a delay in its constuction, which meant that it wasn't installed in time for the fatal maiden voyage.
I particularly enjoyed the Fairground organs or Carousels. I was intrigued by one that had some pretty ghoulish images of children - I thought that these were paintings from a childrens story, but I was told that the pictures were used to tell 'the news'(pic 3)
More light hearted was the organ that had a mechanical orchestra of soldiers-On closer inspection, these were females with moustaches.
The mechanical 'artist' was quite enchanting, with his expressive movements - I videoed this - please check it out.
I was pleased to see a Chinese musical jewellery box, which is very similar to one that I was given as a present in the 1960's from my Auntie, who lived in Hong Kong.
There is also a Silent Movie Theatre, where a playing piano accompanies one of the first moving pictures. We didn't get the chance to see a film, but the old movie posters of Charlie Chaplin and Laurel & Hardy were quite interesting.
Tuesday - Sunday 10.00 - 17.00
Closed December 24, 25 and 31
Open January 1st at 13.00
Entrance Fee - Including Bruchsal Palace and City Museum
5 Euro Adults
2.50 Euro Children
12.50 Euros Families
11.00/ 14.00/ 15.30 (about 1 hour)
The 5 Euro admission fee gave me access to the Palace, The German Museum of Mechanical Musical instruments, and the Municipal museum, which are all housed in the one building. (Corps de Logis) It was raining when we arrived, so it was nice to find that there were free lockers and coat-hangers to deposit our wet coats, umbrellas and bags etc.
At the reception desk there were guidebooks and post cards for sale, but we were handed print outs of things to see around the Palace.
Bruchsal Palace is the only religious Baroque residence on the Upper Rhine.
Construction of The 3 winged palace began in 1720 by Prince Bishop Damian Hugo of Schönborn, who made it the residence of the Prince Bishops of Speyer (The Spires). It was a large complex of separate buildings. (intentionally designed this way, to prevent fire spreading) The main building (The Corps de Logis) was finally completed in the mid 1750's.
The ornate oval stairway was added between 1731-2, and was created by the architect Balthasar Neumann. Most of the internal fittings were added in the last phase of construction.
Johanes Zick (painter) and Johann Michael Feichtmayer (stucco artist) were responsible for much of the rococo decorations.
In 1802 the residential palace came into the possession of the state of Baden. It became the home of Margravine Amalie von Baden, until her death thirty years later. The palace remained empty and fell into decay.
It was later occupied by administrative and military personnel.
On 1st March 1945, the complex was severely damaged during a bombing raid.
A reconstruction project was planned soon after the end of WW2.
The palace is considered to be one of the greatest reconstruction efforts of the post-war decades today.
From 1964-1975, the outer shell was rebuilt to its original design
Renovation on the Out Houses -1976-81. The Palace Gardens were renovated between 1990-96
2008, work commenced on a re-creation of the State Rooms in the bel etage of the main building.
It was interesting to wander around, admiring the opulent decor and the high standard of reconstruction.
Not everything is as it seems though- The marble columns are in fact constructed from plaster, onto which a highly skilled team of artists painted the marble effect.
Part of the palace holds an exhibition of the Re-Construction programme, with photos depicting different stages of the work, and the craftsmen and women at work. Some original fragments are displayed too.
Open - Tuesday - Sunday 09.30-17.00
Monday-Public Holidays only
Hourly guided tours in German
(English and French if booked by telephone in advance)
Tours for Groups, booked in advance.
Adults 5 Euros
Children under 6 years and students 2.50 Euros
Family - 12.50 Euros
Groups of 20 4.50 Euros
Children under 6 Free
There is a cafe near the entrance gate.
Although I didn't see it, there is an Ice skating rink in the Palace grounds.
Here is a mechanical orchestra including a xylophone, drum and triangle, and probably also a piano at the rear of the cabinet.
Similar machines became very popular in public places America in the early twentieth century under the name Nickelodeon, so-called because you had to put a nickel (a 5-cent coin) into the slot to make it play.
Nickelodeons were gradually displaced by juke-boxes using phonograph records, but we young folks all knew about nickelodeons because they were the topic of a popular song in 1950:
Put another nickel in
In the nickelodeon
All I want is lovin' you
And music! music! music!
YouTube has several similar machines in operation on videos, such as this one, which is a Nelson Wiggen 4X Orchestrion playing Silver Moon:
Near the end of the Second World War, on March 1, 1945, Bruchsal was bombed for the first and only time. A thousand people died in that attack. The palace and the entire city were destroyed.
Since the war was nearly over by that time, and resistance to the advancing Allied forces was slight, it is difficult to understand what military justification there might have been for the bombing.
Today there is a photo exhibition in the palace shows what the palace looked like after the bombing, and how it was later re-built and restored starting in 1964.
Second photo: Restored ornamentation with and without its gold trim.
This elaborate fairground organ with three moving figures was made in Waldkirch in 1903 by the firm of A. Ruth & Son.
For three generations, from 1841 to 1938, this company produced a variety of high-quality mechanical instruments.
In this YouTube video (link below) you can see model number 37 in action, playing tunes from the operetta Die Fledermaus (The Bat) by Johann Strauss Jr. (1825-1899).
Halfway into the video, at about 0:58, the camera swings around so you can see the data storage medium, an "endless" strip of folded perforated cardboard, being pulled through the machine from the side. The holes in the cardboard controlled the music as well as the movements of the three figures, the conductor and the two lady musicians.
This very loud carousel organ was built in 1912 by the Bruder Brothers Company in Waldkirch. It was shipped to America where it was used for many years in a carousel at the amusement park in Coney Island, New York.
The musicians on the organ of course make appropriate movements as the music is playing.
In my first photo VT member alza (Lou) is taking a photo of the organ.
Second photo: Closer examination reveals that the musicians on the Selektion carousel organ are all women wearing fake moustaches -- in the Viennese tradition of all-female dance bands, as in the operetta Ein Walzertraum by Oscar Straus (1870-1954).
Third photo: People on the guided tour watching the Selektion carousel organ in action.
The museum has several carousel organs or fairground organs that were made by the Bruder Brothers, whose company was based in Waldkirch, a town in the Black Forest not far from Freiburg im Breisgau.
Before turning one of them on, our guide warned us that these fairground organs are extremely loud, which they had to be because their purpose was to make themselves heard all over the fairgrounds.
Three times a day there are guided tours of the German Mechanical Instrument Museum, in German. Currently these are at 11:00, 14:00 and 15:30.
Here a guide on one of the tours is demonstrating a barrel organ, with a sort of stylized Alpine village in the background.
Originally these barrel organs were cranked by hand. In addition to producing music, the mechanism moved the many little figures that seemed to be dancing.
Here's a machine that played two violins automatically, controlled by a paper roll in the bottom compartment of the cabinet.
I didn't hear this one, so I can't say what is sounded like, but there are videos of several such machines in YouTube (some including a piano as well as first and second chair violins):
Also in the room devoted to American-made instruments is this Tel-Electric Player Piano, which was manufactured by the Tel-Electric Co. of Pittsfield, Massachusetts, USA.
This was advertised as "a Player Piano the Old Folks Can Enjoy" because it "Requires No Pumping".
It was essentially a mechanical piano, but it was controlled by magnets and small electric motors instead of by a pneumatic mechanism, as in most other player pianos.
It ran on batteries, so they could advertise: "There need be no Electricity in the house."
Instead of a paper roll the Tel-Electric systems used a thin roll of brass as a data storage medium. But they went back to paper during the First World War, when brass became scarce.
The Tel-Electric Company was founded in 1905. They marketed their player piano systems from 1907 to 1918.
The word Pianola was originally a trademark of the Aeolian Company, but they were so successful that the word Pianola later became a generic term referring to any sort of self-playing piano.
This Pianola on display in Bruchsal is in a special room devoted to American-made instruments. Notice the two candles, which were there because people who owned Pianolas did not necessarily have electricity in their houses.
Second photo: Close-up of the Pianola, showing the words Metrostyle and Themodist. These were further improvements of the Pianola, first marketed in 1903 (Metrostyle) and 1906 (Thermdist), enabling the person operating the Pianola to control the dynamics and phrasing of the performance.
Another new technology that became very popular during the first three decades of the twentieth century was the player piano, which typically had a long roll of perforated paper as its data storage medium.
This player piano at the German Mechanical Instrument Museum is still in perfect operating condition, as one of the curators gladly demonstrated for us.
The original paper rolls were made of very strong paper. Many of them are still in good condition a century after they were made. I asked the curator if they don't ever get torn, and she said it seldom happens but if it does there is a special kind of tape to repair them.
Second photo: One of the curators at the German Mechanical Instrument Museum demonstrating the player piano.