A hot-air driven Maestrophone sold for £3000 at Peter Wilson in Nantwich.

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Hot air external combustion motors, developed and patented in 1816 by the Scottish minister Robert Stirling, had been in use for nearly a century when first introduced by the Swiss firm Paillard for the so-called Maestrophone.

It proved both quiet and efficient and – fired by a kerosene burner – could run a turbine for 12 hours non-stop. No more interruptions to the party while a spring motor was wound and rewound.

The Maestrophone was first exhibited in Liepzig in 1910. Several models are recorded – the Benvenuto 206, the Polecute 205, and the Apollo 10 – and each cost much more than a more typical spring-driven model.

It did, however, have one major drawback. It was extremely dangerous – particularly when enclosed in a glazed wooden cabinet. There were many reports of hot-air driven turntables catching fire which (together with their high price) contributes to their rarity today. Even a reproduction took €6000 at German antique technology specialist Auction Team Breker in 2012.

The example spotted at Peter Wilson in Nantwich on September 11 came for sale from a Channel Islands vendor. It was lacking its wooden case (perhaps the result of a near catastrophe) and had a replacement horn but attracted aficionados at the estimate of £100-150.

Following a contest between a phone bidder and a number of online bidders via, it sold at £3000 (plus 20% buyer’s premium). The winning online bidder was from Switzerland.