HISTORY OF THE MUSIC BOX
Antique music boxes date from the 1790's when Antoine Favre in Geneva, Switzerland created a carillon without bells by inventing a tuned steel tooth, which was plucked by pins or projections. This was the beginning of the cylinder music box. These machines were first small movements installed in novelty items. Then in the 1820's they gradually increased in size and were installed in the bases of clocks and finally became installed in increasingly fancier boxes of their own. These machines played tunes of the day, operas, and religious tunes.
Through the years many types of arrangements were devised including piano forte, mandolin, sublime harmony, overture, and orchestra. Many of these machines had bells, drums. castanets, and organs added to accompany the comb music. As people became disenchanted with the 4 to 12 tunes that could be heard on a cylinder music box, the interchangeable box was devised. This type of machine allowed the owner to change the cylinders, and thereby hear more tunes.
By the early 1880's, the disc music box was invented in Germany. This type of machine used a metal disc with punched projections on the back side of the disc which plucked a starwheel, which in turn plucked the tuned steel comb. The discs were mass produced which enabled the owner to purchase as many tunes as they desired.
The production of the music box encompassed a time span of more than 100 years. These machines were theentertainment of the day, and created an aura of wonderment for young and old alike. It is our hope that these machines will continue to awe all those who hear their lovely sounds.