Friday, March 1, 2013

The Mozart you never knew

It is interesting that there are other people named Mozart besides, well, Mozart.

And I am not talking about his great-grandfather in the Fuggerei, either!

There are others!

Take Don Mozart. That is his grave up above, not the big guy's.

I found Don Mozart while wasting a couple of minutes on Find a Grave, a Web site I love but almost never let myself visit because this is what happens.

Don Mozart, born in 1819, was a watchmaker. His life is like nothing you would believe. He emigrated with his parents to Boston, Mass., when he was 3, but was mysteriously kidnapped at 9 and taken out to sea. He made his way back to America seven years later but never found his parents.

His father was a watchmaker and Don Mozart ended up following in his footsteps. Oh, heck, I have to cut and paste. You just cannot duplicate Find a Grave's wording.

At 34, Don settled down, married and opened a jewelry store in Xenia, Ohio. Finding that retail was not to his liking he began spending most of his time experimenting and developing his horological inventions. Soon he closed his store and relocated to New York, then moved on to Connecticut as he strayed from watches to begin development of his complicated clock of which he held several patents, August 1859 and December 1863. All of this resulted in failure due to clock manufacture difficulties. 

After this brief interruption he moved again back to New York and his true love--watches. He invented a 3 wheel watch which was a cross between a lever and a chronometer. His idea was trashed while in Providence, RI and those involved began the New York Watch Company in a new location in Springfield, Mass circa 1866. Meanwhile Mozart moved to Ann Arbor, Michigan and incorporated the Mozart Watch Company in 1867. 

Alas, just like Wolfgang Mozart, this story does not end happily. All this information, by the way, apparently comes from a New York Times obituary.

On 2 December 1876, Mozart, at age 57, was working on improvements to his watches, and overtaxed his eye and brain by working night and day. Already stressed, he began worrying about problems with his jewelry store and business losses, which led to insanity. He was committed to the county mental hospital in Kalamazoo, Michigan. He was deemed incurable from his breakdown and was committed to the state hospital where he died in 1877.

Poor Don Mozart!

It is fascinating how they can tie his breakdown to a single day, Dec. 2. Also, that sounds weirdly like W.A., when they talk about overtaxing himself working night and day. It is like Wolfgang Mozart working on his Requiem! And we do not need to point out that Wolfgang Mozart was undergoing those final travails at that exact time of year. He died on Dec. 5.

Much, much to be ruminated on.

Unlike Wolfgang, at least Don Mozart was lucky enough to be buried where we can find him.

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