The Mechanical Musical Instruments in the Product Range of the Company Julius Heinrich Zimmermann


The production and sale of mechanical musical instruments by the company Julius Heinrich Zimmerman will be analysed on the basis of the advertisements, catalogs, reports of exhibitions instructions for use and the exhibits still intact. The constructions and the repertoire of the Fortuna musical boxes and automatons are described in detail. In Russia, they were the best-selling mechanical musical instruments with a tone comb as the sound source. Another successful own brand product of the company Jul. Heinr. Zimmermann was the Orgophon. The source of the sound of this instrument was metal tongues, driven into vibration by the flow of air. Zimmermann also traded in mechanical instruments from other manufacturers to expand his range. The sales leaders among them were mechanical pump organs of the American Æolian Company and Welte-Mignon reproducing pianos of the German factory M. Welte & Söhne from Freiburg im Breisgau.


1. Gol’denveyzer, Aleksandr B. 1922. Vblizi Tolstogo. Zapisi za pyatnadtsat’ let [Inside Tolstoy. Records for Fifteen Years], vol. 1. Moscow: Kooperativnoe izdatel’stvo. (In Russian).

2. Katalog p’es dlya muzykal’nykh shkatulok i avtomatov Fortuna [List of tunes for Fortuna Musical Boxes and Automatons]. 1903. Moscow: Jul. Heinr. Zimmermann. (In Russian).

3. Katalog p’es dlya eolianov Nr. 5060, 5061 i 5070 [Catalog of Music for the Æolian. No. 5060, 5061 and 5070]. 1901. Moscow: Jul. Heinr. Zimmermann. (In Russian).

4. Katalog p’es dlya eolianov Nr. 5066, 5080, 5084, 5085 i 5090 [Catalog of Music for the Æolian. No. 5066, 5080, 5085 and 5090]. 1902. Moscow: Jul. Heinr. Zimmermann. (In Russian).

5. Katalog p’es dlya eolianov. Dobavlenie Nr. 1. [Catalog of Music for the Æolian. Supplement One]. 1903. Moscow: Jul. Heinr. Zimmermann. (In Russian).

6. “L. N. Tolstoy v Moskve [Leo Tolstoy in Moscow].” 1909. Golos Moskvy [Voice of Moscow], no. 204/1909: 3–4. (In Russian).

7. 1910. L. N. Tolstoy o Min’one. [Leo Tolstoy about Mignon-Piano]. St. Petersburg — Moscow — Riga: Jul. Heinr. Zimmermann. (In Russian).

8. Lomtev, Denis. 2020. “The Commercial Strategies and the Product Range of the Music Publishing House Julius Heinrich Zimmermann.” Nauchnyy vestnik Moskovskoy konservatorii / Journal of Moscow Conservatory 11, no. 3: 182–98. (In Russian).

9. Lomtev, Denis. 2020. “The Educational Methodology Titles From the Publishing House Julius Heinrich Zimmermann: Commercial Interests in the Service of Music Education.” Nauchnyy vestnik Moskovskoy konservatorii / Journal of Moscow Conservatory 11, no. 2: 66–91. (In Russian).

10. Makovitskiy, Dushan P. 1979. U Tolstogo: 1904–1910 [Visiting Tolstoy: 1904–1910], vol. 4. Moscow: Nauka. (In Russian).

11. Nurok, Mark A. 2008. “Mekhanicheskie muzykal’nye instrumenty [Mechanical Musical Instruments].” In Muzykal’nye instrumenty: entsiklopediya [Musical Instruments: Encyclopedia], 380–84. Moscow: Deka-VS. (In Russian).

12. Otyugova, Tat’yana A., Galembo, Aleksandr S., Gurkov, Il’ya M. 1986. Rozhdenie muzykal’nyh instrumentov (Iz istorii Leningradskogo proizvodstvennogo ob”edineniya po izgotovleniyu muzykal’nyh instrumentov) [The Making of Musical Instruments: From the History of the Leningrad Musical Instrument Manufactures]. Leningrad: Muzyka. (In Russian).

13. Patentovannyy ruchnoy organ gerofon [The Herophon, a Pantented Hand Organ]. 1891. St. Petersburg: Zimmermann. (In Russian).

14. Zimmermann, Julius Heinrich. 1902. Eolian: mysli i zametki vladel’tsa instrumenta [The Æolian: Thoughts and Notes of an Owner of This Instrument]. St. Petersburg. (In Russian).

15. Yuliy Genrikh Tsimmerman. Glavnoe depo muzykal’nykh instrumentov i not. Illyustrirovannyy preyskurant [Julius Heinrich Zimmermann. Main Depot for Musical Instruments and Sheet Music. An Illustrated Catalog]. 1901. Moscow: Mamontov. (In Russian and German).

16. Heise, Brigit. 2018. Leipzig als Zentrum des Musikautomatenbaus von 1880 bis 1930. Altenburg: Kamprad.

17. “List of tunes for Fortuna musical boxes and automatons.” 1966. The Music Box. Journal of the Musical Box Society of Great Britain 2, no. 7 (Autumn): 333–48. Available at: (accessed 04.03.2021).

18. Lomtev, Denis. 2012. Deutsche in der musikalischen Infrastruktur Russlands. Lage (Westf.): BMV Robert Burau.

19. Wimmer, Ullrich. 2020. Leierkastenheiterkeit. Mechanische Musik und Mechanische Musikinstrumente. Altenburg: Kamprad.

20. Wimmer, Ullrich. 2003. “Das Orgophon. Mitteilungen zu einem seltenen mechanischen Musikinstrument und zur Firma Julius Heinrich Zimmermann.” Das Mechanische Musikinstrument 87 (August): 25–32.