Mouth organ (symphonium)

about 1830
Charles Wheatstone (English, 1802–1875)

Object Place: London, England


Height 5.4 cm, width 5.5 cm, depth 2.3 cm (Height 2 1/8 in., width 2 3/16 in., depth 7/8 in.)

Accession Number


Medium or Technique

Nickel silver, ivory

On View

Musical Instrument Gallery (Gallery 103D)


Europe, Musical Instruments



Rectangular body of nickel silver standing on four out-turned legs. Front and back engraved with foliate decoration. Oval embouchure hole lined with ivory bushing. Eleven ivory-tipped buttons (six on proper right side and five on proper left) open valves for free reeds when depressed. Compass of g1 to c3 (eleven notes in diatonic scale). Pitch of A=425 cps. Original fitted case lined with red velvet and white silk; exterior covered with red leather.


Engraved on front of body: BY HIS MAJESTY'S LETTERS PATENT. / C. WHEATSTONE. / INVENTOR, 20 Conduit St. Regent St. / LONDON


1996, sold by Tony Bingham, London, England, to the MFA. (Accession Date: June 26, 1996)

Credit Line

Foster Charitable Fund and Helen and Alice Colburn Fund