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MMD > Archives > January 1997 > 1997.01.30 > 01Prev  Next

Passing of Claude Marchal, AAIMM
By Philippe Rouillé

Claude Marchal, founder and former president of the French Association des Amis des Instruments de Musique Mecanique (AAIMM), passed away in Switzerland on Sunday, January 26th, 1997, after a short illness. He was 69.

In Paris he earned a degree as an electrical engineer, and he was a member of the famous Marchal industrial family, who manufacture automobile electrical equipment, the firm's "black cat" emblem symbolizing lights for seeing in the dark.

He and his wife Solange were interested in art and culture, and soon specialized in collecting good automatic musical instruments, especially from the early periods : rare music boxes, mechanical organs of the Davrainville type, etc., but also musical pictures, musical clocks and actually every type of mechanical musical instrument which would fit their home, including a Hupfeld Phonoliszt-Violina.

He was a member for a long time of several foreign associations, including the MBSI. When Etienne Blyelle returned from the 25th Silver Anniversary meeting of the MBSI in New York, they decided in December 1974, with several other collectors, to create a French association of collectors parallel to the English and the American ones. (Also among the founders was the famous dealer Alain Vian, who died in 1995.)

The first "Assemblee generale" with 48 people took place on June 29th, 1975, in Claude Marchal's house in Le Vesinet, near Paris, and a journal was soon published. Claude Marchal remained president for several years and greatly expanded the association, until his retirement from Paris to Bullet (Sainte-Croix, Switzerland), near his very good friend Michel Bertrand, the well-known restorer and maker of automatas. He continued collecting, and was for 6 years a member of the board of directors of Reuge, the Swiss maker of modern music boxes.

A keen collector of everything related to the Boy Scout movement, he created in 1984 the Musee Scout Marchal in his home. He was also a recognized specialist of the study of the Holy Shroud of Turin (Santa Sindone), a length of linen purported to be the burial garment of Jesus Christ, and preserved in the cathedral of Turin (Torino, Italy).

Claude Marchal was essentially very nice and gentle man. With his wife, Solange, he always welcomed with great courteousness visitors from all over the world in their home in Switzerland, where most of his collection stayed, or in their Parisian residence.

To his wife, and to his family, we offer our condolences.

Philippe Rouille
Paris, France

(Message sent Thu 30 Jan 1997, 08:54:36 GMT, from time zone GMT+0100.)

Key Words in Subject:  AAIMM, Claude, Marchal, Passing

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