Sunday, March 4, 2012

Welcome to the machine: San Francisco's Musee Mecanique

Among the busy seafood restaurants, gift shops and tourist trolley and boatriding kiosks of San Francisco's Pier 45 sits a warehouse full of one of the world's largest privately owned collections of mechanically operated musical instruments and antique arcade museums. The Musee Mecanique is Mr. Edward Galland Zelinsky's astounding collection of over 300 items, dating back about 100 years, including coin operated pianos, antique slot machines, animations and instruments (there's lots more about Mr. Zelinsky here). Want your fortune told? Take that up with Grandma, the Gypsy Fortune Teller. Think you're pretty strong? Challenge the Arm Wrestler. Amorous? Put your libido to the test with the Kiss-O-Meter. The Musee, with its grotesque characters and old, old school entertainment, is like stepping into the movies "Hugo" and "Pee Wee's Big Adventure," not to mention a "Twilight Zone" or two. The warehouse is also a tribute to the Playland At The Beach amusement park, San Francisco's beloved seaside version of Coney Island, popular from the 1920s until it closed in the 1960s.

Be sure to check out these marvels of yesteryear if you're ever in San Francisco, where it's free to get in and you can party like it's 1909.


Anonymous said...

I'm leaving a comment as a test!

Amber Von Felts said...

Leaving a comment as a comment:

WOW. I want to go to this museum! I am in love with the Bimbo Box, I want to see those monkeys playing music! I love coin op stuff. I have an arcade in my garage at home. Nothing this cool or animatronic though! Too cool!

David Gallagher said...


Thanks for your post about the Musee, we appreciate it.

I should let you know that the Musee Mecanique has a new website at

The one you link to is not owned by Dan Zelinsky, proprietor of Musee Mecanique.

Ed Zelinsky's story is here:

It would be great, if you could change your links.

Gunnar and Sherry said...

David: The fix is in! Thanks for stopping by.

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