Mechanical Music - Atlas Obscura


Mechanical Music

Learn about the history of mechanical music and how musical boxes work in this hands-on mini-workshop with Antiquarian Horologist Nico Cox.

Learn about the history of mechanical music, how musical boxes work, and make your own music box in this mini-workshop with Antiquarian Horologist Nico Cox.

You'll start by decorating a simple wooden box using paint, papers, and other materials, which you will then use to mount your musical box mechanism. While you work, you'll get to listen to recordings of old steam calliopes, antique disc music box players, and mechanical organs for inspiration. Then, using a special paper punch, you'll explore your own musical composition. You'll leave this two-hour workshop with a music box, your original tune(s), a paper punch, and a set of music paper to continue composing at home.

Nico Cox holds international certifications in Swiss, American, and British horology, as well as a Masters in the Conservation of Clocks and related dynamic objects. She owns and operates Memoria Technica, an independent workshop in Seattle where she makes mechanical automata, toys, optical illusions, mechanical magic, and teaches heritage crafts. Her workshop includes a collection of machines from the original Bulova watchmaking factory. 


  • A separate $35 materials fee will be paid directly to Nico Cox on the day of the class.
  • Address will be sent to registered attendees.
  • Children under 10 years of age are required to be accompanied by an adult.
  • Recommended for those 8 years old and up.
  • This workshop is limited to 8 attendees.

Questions? Email Shin Yu Pai at

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Advance ticket sales only. All ticket sales are final. No refunds or exchanges.