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Catalog Data

Animal Behavior Enterprises, Inc.  Search this
Physical Description:
wood (crate, piano material)
metal (mesh, handles, circuitry, food box material)
plastic (piano keys material)
overall: 105 cm x 142 cm x 88 cm; 41 11/32 in x 55 29/32 in x 34 21/32 in
Object Name:
game, coin-operated
Place made:
United States: Arkansas, Hot Springs
Date made:
ca 1975
This carnival game consists of a wooden crate painted blue, gold, and yellow with a metal mesh window on the right front and a cash box left of it. A cord extends from the back. Two metal handles for carrying the object are on both the right and left sides. Opening a door on the left side reveals two metal boxes. The back one has various electrical cords and a rotary switch. The front one appears to have held food.
A door on the back opens into the main compartment. It has a floor partly covered with mesh, as well as a toy piano with a lamp on it. The left side of the compartment has a dispenser for food.
A mark on the cash box reads: PIANO DUCK (/) TYPE D.
The piano-playing duck was manufactured by the firm of Animal Behavior Enterprises, a company established in the late 1940s by students of the behavioral psychologist B.F. Skinner. In use, it included not only the crate, piano, and lamp, but a duck or chicken. The staff of ABE trained the duck to turn on the lamp and then play “several rippling cadenzas” before the lamp went off to signal the end of the performance. This example of the game was displayed in Massachusetts, first at the Aquarium of Cape Cod (also called Aqua Circus and ZooQuarium) in West Yarmouth and then at a private animal preserve / rehabilitation center in Westport. The Westport concern was operated by Damase (Jiggs) Giguere.
For a related object, see 2004.0075.01. For related documentation see 2015.3170.
Currently not on view
Psychology  Search this
Entertainment, general  Search this
Credit Line:
Gift of Damase and Yvonne Giguere
ID Number:
Catalog number:
Accession number:
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Medicine and Science: Mathematics
Science & Mathematics
Data Source:
National Museum of American History