9 Center Square P.O. Box 235
New Oxford, Pa. 17350


(717) 495-3395
[email protected]


.Augustus P. Pfaff, Philadelphia
Musical elements attributed to C. Muckle
Mahogany veneer over oak
​Circa 1820-1840
“Wag on the wall” (uncased, weight-driven mechanical wall clock), organ movement

Automaton organ clocks such as this one were imported by American clockmakers and retailers from Furtwangen, Germany, the heart of the Black Forest clockmaking industry. These novelty clocks were popular in the early decades of the 19th century and in America cases were often made locally to house the works in contrast to the European fashion for hanging them on the wall with the weights and pendulum exposed.

In this clock the automata are the five members of a band who play a variety of horns and wind instruments when the music is playing. The music is recorded on a wooden barrel/cylinder and plays different German folk tunes, each lasting about 40 seconds. The organ mechanism uses bellows to produce the air that flows through the pipes and makes the music.

Augustus Pfaff (1791-1855) was a silversmith and clockmaker in Philadelphia and a member of a family well known for their expertise in making musical instruments.