Cast Metal Music Box
by Christian Greinacher  (from MMDigest 990921)

musicbox1.jpg (33 kb) Recently I bought a small music box from a German flea market.  Never before I have seen something looking and sounding similarly.  The case is made from very heavy pot metal, looking like an old English castle, but the graphical design and a figure, similar to an eagle, look as if the box wood comes from the far east.

On top of the roof there is a flag or a pennant which serves as the key to wind the movement.  The movement drives a red plastic cylinder, pinned with steel pins, which play a 24-note comb.  Two brass bells are rung periodically by a separate simple eccentric mechanism.  All the pins and the comb are in good shape but the movement does not really play a melody, it just produces some sound -- from time to time the two bells are ring, and all together it reminds me of Chinese temple music.

On the front side of the box as well as on the back one can open a flap.  When opening either one of these flaps the movement starts to play.  Inside is a plastic construction and it looks as if it is made to hold cigarettes.  So the whole machine could be a cigarette dispenser.

The pictures show the box and some details.  Does anyone know anything about this instrument?

Christian Greinacher
19 September 1999

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5 October 1999