Yarmouth, Nova Scotia, Canada

Musical Instruments

The Yarmouth County Museum houses many musical treasures from an era that seems wistfully carefree and nostalgic. Most of the instruments that you see below can be found in the Music Room. These instruments were used at all sorts of occasions by all sorts of people, and every one has a story to tell.

Chute, Hall & Co. Parlour Organ

Chute, Hall & Company manufactured a variety of organs in Yarmouth from 1883 to 1892. The museum has several Chute, Hall & Co. organs in its collection. This particular instrument was made by their employee, E.D. Simken, and was tuned by A.R. Eames in 1888. The organ was refinished and restored by Mr. Fred Nickerson in the early 1970s, repaired in 1991 by Mr. Frank MacIntosh, and donated by Mr. Russell Bond of Hampton, New Brunswick.

Concert Roller Organ

The concert roller organ is another example of mechanical instruments of years gone by. Patented in 1887 by an unknown company, this table top player is worked by cranking the external handle. Internal bellows, tuned reeds, vales, and a roller produce organ-like tones. This instrument was probably used aboard some of Yarmouth's sailing vessels by ancestors of the donor, Mr. David Baker of Halifax.

Guild "Square Grand" Piano

This piano was made in Boston in 1874. It came to Yarmouth as a wedding present given by Captain Sheldon Lewis to his granddaughter, and was donated by Miss Grace Lewis of Yarmouth.

Olympia Music Box

Manufactured in the late 1890s by F.G. Otto & Sons in New Jersey, this type of music box produces its music from zinc-plated discs. This music box was donated to the museum by Mr. Robert Allen of Carleton, N.S., and was used aboard ship by his grandfather, Captain Robert Allen.

Pianola (Piano Player)

This "Pianola" piano player was made in Detroit by the Farrand Organ Company in 1902. It was donated to the museum by Mrs. Ruth C. Specht of Barton, N.S., in memory of her parents, Mr. and Mrs. Adolph and Lillie Specht, who had purchased the instrument in Digby in 1927.

Shipboard Organ

Shipboard organs often travelled very rough seas, but it was in the doldrums and calm waters where they were the main source of entertainment. This particular organ was originally purchased in 1886 by Captain Frank Gullison in Cardiff, Wales, for use on board his ship, the N.B. Lewis. Both the Captain and his wife (who travelled with her husband) were musically inclined and expecially enjoyed singing hymns. In 1927, the eventual donor of the organ, Mr. Willard Hewey of Lake Annis, N.S., purchased the instrument from Captain Gullison. The organ has the name "James" painted on the inside lid, which suggests that this beautiful instrument has a history that is yet to be documented.