April 18, 2012

Play a Melody

     A melodeon (also known as a cabinet organ or American organ) is a type of 19th century reed organ with foot-operated bellows, and piano keyboard. Due to their compact size these musical instruments were often used in small churches, substituting spralling pipe organs. First manufactured in the United States around the year 1812 until the Civil War era they were relatively inexpensive, easy to transport, and required minimum maintenance. But most importantly, perfectly served the purpose accompanying choir anthems and congregational hymns.  
     Pictured below is the the lovely rosewood melodeon measuring 23 x 47 inches formerly owned by  Anna Herold Zimmerman and Margaret Herold Sullivan, which had been loaned to the church for use in the first building. The  Jewett & Goodman melodeon was purchased in Lima about 1862, which was carried weekly to the German Reformed Church from the home of Lewis and Anna (Herold) Zimmerman.
     On October 17, 1955, Mrs. A.N. Bruzelius presented the piece to the Allen County Museum where it was on display for many years. At some point in time the melodeon was moved next door to the The MacDonell House, a gorgeous fully-furnished Victorian mansion. Nestled in the sunny nook of an ornate sitting room, how wonderful our little melody-maker coming from humble beginnings has found such an elegant home!                     

I Have a Song That Jesus Gave Me
I have a song that Jesus gave me,
It was sent from Heav'n above;
There never was a sweeter melody,
'Tis a melody of love.

In my heart there rings a melody, 
There rings a melody with heaven's harmony;
In my heart there rings a melody;
There rings a melody of love.  

                                                                                              Words & Music: Elton M. Roth, 1924     


Allen County Museum & The MacDonell House
620 & 632 W. Market St.
Lima, OH 45801
Phone: 419-222-9426