MANLY ANTIQUE CENTRE

SWISS 19th CENTURY DISC MUSIC BOX




















An elegant example of a 1880s - 90s inlaid
mahogany cased disc music box.

There doesn't appear to be a makers stamp
anywhere but the presumption is it is
a Swiss one with the photo of Lausanne
in the lid
(they are normally either German, Swiss
or American).

The first disc music box was made by
Symphonion, in Leipzig, Germany
during the late 1880's.

Other companies including Polyphone and Regina
followed soon after and by the 1890's the disc-operated
music box came to displace much of the established
cylinder box market.

The principle was the same: pluck a tuned comb to
make music.
What differed was the way the comb was plucked.
Discs were made of zinc or steel.
They differed in hub diameter and tooth size
to evade patent laws and to prevent people
using another maker's disc on their machine.
This just turned out to be another nail in
the coffin for the disc players,
a mistake that the makers of the later
disk-type phonograph records players didnít make.

Then the Great War came in 1914 and with it the
birth of the gramophone which finally killed off
the disc music box players.

The average disc music box cost the equivalent
of 4 weeks wages apparently and the
gramophone was a MUCH cheaper device that took
any makers record unlike the disc music box.

So with this short production time and a
price that only the well-healed could
afford this now makes these fascinating
machines in short supply and very
collectable.

The quality of the case of this particular
example makes it extra special with its ornately
inlaid marquetry lid combined with fabulous
flame mahogany veneers and ebonised trims
makes it a stunning piece of table top
furniture as well as a fascinating piece
of mechanical musical history.

It works but there is one broken 'tooth'
as can be seen in the photos.
The clock-work mechanism that operates it would
probably benefit from a service although it
looked to be in very good condition when we removed
it from the case.
The case itself has a few lumps and bumps but
nothing too serious.
The lock fitting in the lid has disappeared and a there
are remnants of a bit of old tape someone put over
the gap (see photos).

Along with the disc player there are twenty eight
11 3/4 inch discs included with it.
These discs have a value as individual items so they
are a nice little addition.

Overall it is a fabulous piece and something that rarely
comes our way.

$3275.00 as found

Please email us at
tony@manlyantiquecentre.com.au
with any questions



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