Carved and Painted Band Organ Figure of a Young Woman Dressed in a Parade Uniform
Carved by the Ludovic Gavioli Company for the Hippodrome Carousel
in Revere Beach, Massachusetts
Condition: Untouched original surface, scattered losses throughout, gentle
crackled surface, some fingers replaced and baton is a modern replacement.
Left boot tassel is lacking and rear section of original base is replaced. Typical age cracks.
Giacomo Gavioli (1786-1875) was considered the greatest of all band organ makers. Founded in 1806 in Modena, Italy, the firm spanned four generations of family involvement with branches in France, Germany, London and New York. The Gavioli family revolutionized organ manufacture when Anselme Gavioli patented the use of book music to play organs in 1892, using a punch-card system. This gave organs an effectively unlimited repertoire, allowing showmen to play the latest tunes. This coincided with the increasing mechanization of fairgrounds beginning in the late 19th century.
Fairground organs, or band organs as they are known in the United States, were designed to attract audiences, both with their large volume of sound and their ornate decorative case façade. The greatest period of active manufacture of fairground organs was the late 1880s through the 1920s, when electrical sound amplification was introduced. Band organ facades frequently included ornate human figures which moved in time with the music, providing a visual experience to accompany the music.
The Hippodrome Carousel was originally built in 1903 and had a platform which displayed three carousel horses abreast. It was later extended to showcase five horses making it unique in the world of carousels. The carousel was equipped with a Gavioli organ on which this figure was mounted. The Carousel was one of several attractions – fine dance pavilions, roller coasters, merry-go-rounds – that made Revere Beach, officially “America’s First Public Beach,” a center of entertainment for visitors from all over New England and around the world.
Dimensions: 37 ½’h (with original base), 41 ¼” (with added base) x 14 ½”w (between hands) x 9”d
Item ID: PT WAS 16