The Digitorium is part of a genre of 19th century finger exercise machines that were made for a mainly amateur pianist market. The piano had become a hugely popular instrument throughout the middle class during this time and devices such as the Digitorium were created to assist in the physical development of a player's fingers and hands. These devices came in a variety of forms and allowed players to strengthen their fingers by playing weighted keys, the weight of which could be adjusted. Other devices were made to assist in the stretching of the fingers by inserting wedges between the fingers.
The Digitorium also illustrates the response by 19th century manufacturers to capitalise on the public enthusiasm for the piano and for the growing popularity of the virtuoso performer as a public figure. Manufacturers seized on the opportunity to create finger exercise machines to satisfy the desire of amateur players wanting to improve their playing ability, encouraged to a certain extent by seeing the ability of popular virtuoso players. These machines however are reputed to have caused damage to people's hands rather than of being of any great benefit.