The mellotron sounds... weird. That's partly its appeal. Inside, it's a mishmash of bicycle chains, springs, recording tape and, depending on the age of the machine, more or less tech wizardry. It was built in Streetly, a suburb of North Birmingham which can't decide whether it's dead posh or dead rough. There's a blue plaque marking the original factory site in Aldridge Road. That was nearly fifty years ago. Now, the resurrected Streetly Electronics, creators of the first mellotron, have a thriving business. They make new mellotrons; they fix old ones; they even sell digital samples to add to your range of keyboard sounds.
The miracle is that it was invented in the first place; a second miracle is that mellotron use continues to thrive.