Quiz #54 Results- March 25, 2006
1. What is the general type of musical contraption appearing in this picture?
2. Name five musical instruments that are shown.
Photo courtesy of David Lepitre.
1. One Man Band or Musical Automaton
2. Two Violins, Cello, Cornet, Piano
(Viola, Bass, Trumpet are also acceptable answers.)
Our quizmasters did a great job in
locating additional pictures of the
same mystery musician and his
musical contraption. Special
recognition goes to

Marilyn Hamill-Stewart

for discovering a cabinet card that
no one else found (including me!)
showing the name of this
musician. The card indicates his
name is Charles Crawford.
Ironically this is the name of
David Lepitre's (the contributor of
the photo's) grandfather - but it's
not the same Charles Crawford!
“Crawford The Musical Wonder”

Cabinet Photo of Charles Crawford, “The One Man Band.”
Sepia-toned, 4” by 6”, by Goble & Wenzel, Columbus, Ohio, no date (circa 1890).
Inscribed in pencil with Crawford’s name and title (“Musical Wonder”). Crawford, solo
violinist, poses here with his mechanical rhythm section. Rigged to the machine are a
bass, a viola, guitar, banjo, mandolin and zither.
Searching on Howie photographers produced two other cabinet cards of the same man
with the same instrument posted on the website
www.musurgia.com, dealing in 'fine,
rare, and peculiar musical instruments'. One of these cabinet cards confirmed the man's
name as Charles Crawford.
Cabinet Card of a Concert Musician
with an Elaborate "One-Man-Band" Rig
Anonymous Photographer, c. 1896

Height is 6 1/2 in. x 4 1/4 in.
Very Good + Condition.

Cabinet Card of the Pickaphone
A Musical Automata Device
Detroit, Michigan (1888)
A very rare and interesting image of a
gentleman seated by a musical invention
called the "Pickaphone." According to
the white inscription in the upper portion
of the photo, this rather large device was
patented September 4, 1888.

There are as many as nine separate
instruments that comprise the
Pickaphone, including (left-right):
autoharp, mandolin, bowed zither, banjo,
violin or viola, guitar and cello, with a
rack of small gongs and a triangle in the
right foreground to provide a bit of
percussion. "The Professor" cradles a

All the instruments seemed to be
mounted in a complex rig which was
probably activated by a foot treadle.

On the back the following legend is
penciled in, which appears to read:
"Charlie Crawford, Cleveland, 309
Woodland Ave."
From Paul Hostetter

The image I have was made for me
many years ago by a friend in
Michigan who had access to historical
photos at MSU and made the copy for

The resolution is not good, it's only
7x9" now. The music is impossible to
read, though a few letters of the title
are readable; something like
Wilcox's, or perhaps Welcome.

There is a mechanism on the cello in
your image that is not on the cello in
mine. It could be the same cello
though: it has geared tuners, which
were very unusual for a cello then or

The trumpet is similar, but not identical. Different tubing, tilted mouthpiece,
etc. The mechanism for operating the valves is very different on each.

The entire frame holding the instruments in yours is entirely attached to and
built off the piano, but is resting on the floor in mine. The cleats for anchoring
the violin are quite different in each.

In fact, the more I look, the more I see that is different. But I think it's the
same guy in each photo. Probably posing with two iterations of his invention.
Are These Pictures of the Same Guy or Not?
We have concluded that they are. To see our article on www.dead.com, (volume 5, no.
7, August 17, 2005) for a few rules of thumb for cross identifying people in pictures,
including the possibility of "morphing" a known picture of someone at one age into a
picture that might be the same person at a different age, click
here. Scroll down to:

Feature Article
Exploring Age Progression Using Forensic Genealogy
by Colleen Fitzpatrick and Andrew Yeiser.
Charles Crawford's Patent for the Picaphone
Submitted by Bill Wineburgh
We weren't able to identify the
medal Mr. Crawford is wearing, but
we did find a similar medal on eBay
that helped identify Mr. Crawford's
as a music medal with an engraving
of a woman playing the harp.
Apparently this style music medal
was very common in the last 1800s.
Our Readers' Comments
Colleen...hey that picture at http://www.lutherie.net/one_man.html is a picture taken of
me back in the early 1960's...I was cheap entertainment in a White Rose bar on 42nd
Street in New York City....one day a guy named Bob Dylan comes in for a shot and a
beer-liked what he heard and then wrote "Hey Mr. Tambourine Man"...
Rick Mackinney

This fellow had to make his relatives cringe.  
Carol Haueter


My theories:  I thought of a double bass instrument for the largest string instrument, but
they have sloped shoulders rather than more squared as the cello and violins have.

There has to be a reason for him having his stool high up on top of the chest.  There
are many foot pedals/stops in the area of the keyboard on the piano.  Because a piano
does not have foot pedals as an organ does, he created them to press the  keys at the
same level of the piano keys.  The stool is placed at a higher level in order for him to
blow the cornet, touch the foot pedals and pump the other foot pedal that might be
behind him, that would move the bows of the stringed instruments.

Isn’t that crazy patch quilt that is laying over the trunk absolutely beautiful?  
Eva Royal


This unique instrument is generically known as a "one man band", which has roots in
literature before the 19th ct. but, it most well known for it's Vaudeville roots. The
instruments shown are piano, violin, viola, cello, and trumpet.  It might be possible that
the musician shown accompanied silent movies. They used to have music (I wasn’t
there, but, I’ve heard this) – and, they did use piano players, why not a ‘one man
Kelly Fetherlin
Joe Barrick's One-man Band
A History of the Piatarbajo and Other One-man Bands
Article MT098 - from Musical Traditions No 8, Early 1990 (slightly updated)
Joe Barrick was born of Choctaw parents in Pauls Valley, Oklahoma in 1922.  His first
musical instrument, at age fifteen, was the mandolin.  He recalls that he wanted
something light that he could play as he walked down the road.  From a musician friend
he learned his first three chords, but it wasn't long before three chords were not
read more
More Interesting Photos of One Man Bands
Cabinet Card of a "One-Man Band" Music Hall Performer
(Kern Bros. photographer), c. 1890's, New York City.

Looking like a proto-Hippie, this mustached vaudevillian with
the long flowing white tresses (possibly he's an Albino) seems
to have the old "one-man band" act down pat. He has a
harmonica in a rack to provide melody while he accompanies
himself by bowing a fiddle strapped to his right thigh (probably
"open-tuned" for a droning effect) and clacks out the beat with
a pair of clappers in his left hand, "bones"-style. For a little "bottom," he has a bass
drum and cymbal rigged to a homemade foot pedal.
Mountain Music Festival Asheville, North Carolina.
Between 1938 and 1950
Italian one-man band.  Bells on the hat, pan pipes, bass drum,
side drum, cymbals and melodeon.  An Italian commercial
postcard posted in Italy in 1929, but further provenance not
known. From the Reg Hall Collection.

Postcards & Images of Chautauqua County, NY
(from the Mattison Collection, via Bonnie Kidder)
Congratulations to our winners!

Mary Fraser   
Mary E. South                Dale Niesen             
Kelly Fetherlin             Peter St. Wecker           
Marilyn Hamill-Stewart          Tonya Dillon                      
Grace Hertz                    Pat Snyder         
Carol Haueter     
Stan Read
Rick Mackinney  
Eva Royal                 Sue Edminster                 
Jackie Torrance                Judy Pfaff
Pinky Palladino               Bobbie Sims          
Mike Pfister        Leslie Compton

If your name was omitted from our list of winners, please let me know.  It was unintentional.
If you enjoy our quizzes, don't forget to order our book!
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Forensic Genealogy CD or a 10%
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Forensic Genealogy book.
Contest #54 Results