From the Grainger Museum collection

A public research query at the Grainger Museum recently turned up a fascinating experiment in keeping time for Grainger Curator Heather Gaunt when she discovered a Pinfold’s patent silent gravity metronome.

This remarkable timekeeper was brought to light in the process of sourcing material for a public research query from The Mona McBurney Collection, in the Grainger Museum Archive. Accessioned as part of a donation made in 1985 by the family of musician Mona McBurney (1862-1932), the metronome had not been photographed or fully documented by the Museum to date. Once the three separate metal parts – arm and legs – were fitted together correctly, in a delicate balance, the object revealed its true nature… a silent oscillating timekeeper.

Further research revealed some interesting facts. Patented in the USA on 31 March 1891, the ‘Improved Metronome’ was designed in England by Arthur Gough Pinfold. More

Pinfold’s patent silent gravity metronome, c.1900. Grainger Museum, University of Melbourne

Image: Pinfold’s patent silent gravity metronome, c.1900. Grainger Museum, University of Melbourne