On Pier 45 sits a nondescript, warehouse-like building. If you are walking past, you might not pay any attention to the excitement that lurks inside. Your loss, since this is the home of Musee Mecanique, a collection of coin-operated, mechanical machines, including pianos, slot machines and…of course, “Laffing Sal”. Laffing Sal laughs without hesitation over and over and over! I’ll send you $10.00 if you can stand in front of ol’ Sal and not break out into laughter (giggles count). Seriously, her laughter is infectious.
Dan Zelinsky owns Musee Mecanique. He inherited the collection from his father. When you walk into this fun arcade, no one is asking for money or selling tickets because there is no entrance fee. The machines take $0.25 to play and Musee employees roll around on skates to give you change or help you operate the machines. They wear small badges that say: “I work here”.
I plugged a quarter into the player piano and listened to an unseen ghost make the keys go up and down. I watched the wind blow the canvas of an deprecated Conestoga wagon. Sound strange…nope! It’s fascinating. You just stand there and become mesmerized.
Dan maintains all the machines in a well-fitted workshop in the back of the building. He has become a magician at repairing these antique machines. He manufacturers parts and engineers their “come-back”.
The most wonderful thing about Musee Mecanique is the history. When you enter the building on Pier 45, you’ll be entering a world of the past that is holding-on to the present solely for your pleasure. Be sure to have Madam read your fortune. Hopefully, she will tell you that one day you will return to San Francisco.
Open: Mon-Fri 10:00 am – 7:00 pm; Sat-Sun 10:00 am – 8:00 pm (if it’s busy, Dan will stay open longer)
Phone: (415) 346-2000
Location: Pier 45 Shed A at the end of Taylor Street