Unknown Swiss "ST" Musical Box Plays 23.8 cm Disc
by Matthew Caulfield (050915 MMDigest)

swissSTmonogram.gif (2 KB)


We received a nice email and photos from Teddy Hargrove inquiring about an unknown Swiss disc musical box displaying a distinctive "ST" monogram.  I asked Matthew what information he might have.  -- Robbie

I see in the picture of the disc several features that should help to identify the maker of the box.  The fact that you mention the ST monogram also appearing on the comb indicates that the disc and box belong together (not an interchangeable disc from some other company which can play on that box).

First is the ST monogram and the fact that the box is of Swiss manufacture, which rules out most disc box makers, which were German.

Second is the disc size; his figure of 9-3/8 inch diameter [23.8 cm] sounds pretty precise.

Third is the fact that the disc is center drive, not rim drive like most boxes, or pinion driven (characterized by a saw-tooth disc circumference), like Thorens.

Fourth is the rather distinctive scoop-shape pattern made by the stamping of the disc projections.  This is characteristic of Mira (see Bowers, p. 106), which is Kevin McElhone's suggestion.  But the disc drive and the ST monogram don't fit with Mira.

Fifth is the tune title, "The Mansion of Aching Hearts," in English, not French or multi-lingual, and a 1902 Von Tilzer selection (for the turn-of-century American or British market?).

Both Bowers (p. 246) and Ord-Hume mention the Schrämli & Tschudin company in Geneva, doing business as "Sun" Music Box Manufacturing Company (note name in English) from the late 1890's.  Little is known about them, and Bowers mentions that it isn't certain whether the line of orchestrions, disc boxes, cylinder boxes, and other instruments were made by them or whether they were simply agents.  It could be that Mira made boxes/discs for S&T.

On p. 243 Bowers mentions that the cheapo company B.H. Abrahams was in Ste.-Croix, Switzerland, from about 1898, producing two brands of disc boxes, for sale mostly in the UK.  But from the pictures those boxes seem to be rim-drive boxes.

Perhaps someone like Barry Johnson or Nancy Fratti, who have both seen lots of discs, would recognize this disc.

Matthew Caulfield
Irondequoit, New York
15 Sep 2005 10:22:32 -0400


swissSTdisc.jpg (34kb)
The disc diameter is very close to 23.8 cm (9.37 inch).  From measurements on the image,
the center pin is 8.3 mm and the driving pins are 6.0 mm diameters, spaced apart 33 mm.
 
 

swissSTopen.jpg (25 kb)
 
 

swissSTclosed.jpg (24 kb)
 
 

swissSTlevers.jpg (26 kb)
 
 

swissSTpatents.jpg (9 kb)
 
 

swissSTcomb.jpg (28 kb)
The "ST" monogram appears at the lower left corner.


16 September 2005