There are few devices that generate as much attraction as old music boxes. Who has not had in his childhood a little string box, that when lifting the lid let out a melody that was constantly repeated... Or perhaps, a small mechanism with a crank that played a popular tune. Antique music boxes take us directly to that "age of mechanical ingenuit...
There are few devices that generate as much attraction as old music boxes. Who has not had in his childhood a little string box, that when lifting the lid let out a melody that was constantly repeated... Or perhaps, a small mechanism with a crank that played a popular tune. Antique music boxes take us directly to that "age of mechanical ingenuity" that began in the 19th century and extended into the first decades of the 20th century. Clocks, phonographs, gramophones, pianolas... Wonderful and nostalgic inventions, which are the first step towards the technology we enjoy today. Our antique music boxes cover several decades, from 1800 to 1920: they are high quality models, which still surprise us today for their smooth operation and variety of melodies.
Music boxes have undergone constant evolution over the centuries. The earliest recorded designs date back to the 9th century, when the Musa brothers of Baghdad built a device called an "automatophone", capable of reproducing sounds by means of a spiked cylinder. Great scientists and inventors such as Athanasius Kirchner and Leonardo da Vinci also experimented with the construction of musical devices, which usually included automatons. However, the first patented music box as such is attributed to Antoine Favre, who built it in 1796, replacing the typical bells with a steel plate comb. Years later, in 1865, the Swiss Charles Reuge founded a watchmaking company that his son Albert would later expand into the construction of music boxes. The Reuge firm became a world leader in the manufacture of these items.
In 1889 Paul Lochman manufactured the first music box with a disc system, more convenient to store and lighter than cylinders. At the same time the barrel organs were being developed, old music boxes that worked by a pneumatic system and rolls or punched paper cards. The evolution of the music boxes and barrel organs were the mechanical pianos or pianolas, which eventually replaced them both. All these devices became obsolete inventions with the advent of the radio, the phonograph and the gramophone; however, the fascination they arouse is still alive, and today fans of collecting antique music boxes are counted by the thousands.
They work with a cylinder of spikes, strategically distributed over their entire surface. When they come into contact over a comb of vibrating metal blades, they generate notes that combine to create melodies. The simplest models operate by cranking a hand crank, but the most complex and beautiful ones have a clockwork mechanism that is driven by a winding motor.
Their operation is similar to the cylinder ones, but in this case the cylinder is replaced by a rotating disc (whose mechanism is a precursor of gramophones) equipped with small tabs on its lower side. The tabs drive the moving pins of a cylinder, which in turn generate the melody.
The pneumatic system is similar to the one that runs organs. Operated by a crank, the cylinder that integrates the mechanism of these music boxes opens and closes a series of keys. The keys interrupt or facilitate the passage of air, which previously passes through pipes or reeds and makes them sound. The barrel organs are actually old-fashioned pneumatically operated music boxes, with the tunes recorded on paper rolls or punched cards.
Antique music boxes are still objects full of beauty and charm, perfect for decorating and for completing attractive collections. Their delicate sound is still as vivid as when they were the most popular musical devices of their time.
Amazing vintage music box with an imposing presence and excellent sound quality. Faithful replica of an early-18th-century piece. Amazing vintage music box with an...Sold
Big-sized antique music box with eight tunes. In great working order and with wonderful sound quality. Entirely restored. Big-sized antique music box with...Sold
Gorgeous Polyphon music box in excellent condition. Perfect working order. Complete and with 15 metal disks. Gorgeous Polyphon music box in...Sold