Empress Gadget (Samsung's Reconstruction)

    Good Friday, Habr!

    On the last pre-holiday day, I would like to throw you some entertaining and cognitive post, so as not to load too much the brain that is already tuned for the weekend. Therefore, the topic devoted to the restoration of ancient Roentgen – Kinzing musical clocks, in which the many years the Samsung Electronics company took an active part, came in very handy. For almost 10 years, the restorer O. Z. Zinatullin painstakingly restored the case, the dial, as well as the clock and musical mechanisms, as a result of which this rare and unique jukebox sounded again for the first time since the beginning of the 20th century.


    So, friends, sit back: you will find a story about how it was.

    Background: Furniture and watchmaker

    Meet David Abrahamovich Roentgen (1743-1807), a master furniture maker and owner of a furniture workshop in the small German city of Neuwied, played an important role in the development of Russian furniture business of the classicism era. At the end of the 18th century, many German craftsmen, especially furniture makers, watchmakers, bronzers and lusterers, moved to Russia, closer to St. Petersburg construction sites, where they had the opportunity to start their own business and promote it much faster and more successfully than in their homeland. X-rays first came to Russia in 1784, where he immediately enlisted the support of Catherine II and, over the next 7 years, actively supplied his refined and technically sophisticated furniture to the court of the Empress.

    During his first visit, David Roentgen brought a consignment of furniture to St. Petersburg, in which there were writing desks, "on which you can write and sit," dressing and drawing tables, as well as dressers, harpsichords, swivel chairs (great-great-grandfathers) our office) and grandfather clocks ... yes, yes - those same clocks, which, in fact, are being discussed.

    The clock was equipped with a musical mechanism, including an organ and cymbals, playing synchronously. Five melodies of the famous Austrian composer of the time, Christoph Gluck, were recorded on a removable musical drum. Melodies can be played automatically, once per hour or at three o’clock, and can be started / switched manually. The joy of the empress knew no bounds; “The first furniture maker and mechanic of the century” - this is the kind of unspoken title that Roentgen received as a reward for his work. In addition to him, the watchmaker Peter Kinzing, organ master Johann Weil and bronze-maker Francois Remon worked on creating a unique interior item. This is the largest watch in size, released from the X-ray – Kinzing workshop, and the most unusual in sound. To date, about ten copies of this watch model have survived in the world.

    By the way, a curious retreat. As you know, the musical clock in those days was, in fact, the first gadgets: the customer could choose the ringtones in the same way as today we choose ringtones for our mobile phones. It has not been documented, but Valentin Molotkov, a researcher at the Hermitage Laboratory for the restoration of watches and mechanisms, did not deny that Empress Catherine II could, of her own free will, choose melodies that subsequently “uploaded” to the clock.

    Link of Times - Link of Technology

    And so, in April, the musical clock, which was included in the permanent exhibition of the Hermitage, was transferred to the museum by Samsung Electronics as part of the partnership “Link of Times - Link of Technologies”.
    “New technologies of our time help to bring back to life the finest technologies of the past. Samsung and the Hermitage establish a connection between times and remind everyone of the continuity of human civilization, ”said Mikhail Borisovich Piotrovsky, Director of the State Hermitage Museum.

    By the way, in Soviet times, these watches were never exhibited in the permanent exhibition of the Hermitage: they were stored in funds. But now, after the restoration has finally completed, a magnificent jukebox will take its place in the White Hall of the Hermitage, and museum visitors will be able to listen to the fascinating tunes of Gluck every hour.

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