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A large Swiss rosewood ‘sublime harmony trémolo’ cylinder music box, Cuendet, circa 1890.


Cylinder music box

At the start of the 19th Century the first cylinder music boxes were made, with a pinned cylinder playing on steel teeth that produced the sound. Musical mechanisms playing on bells and flutes already existed. With this first generation of music boxes the teeth were screwed down seperately or in pairs. In the decades that followed the combs became larger and larger. The makers tried to improve the music boxes with all kinds of inventions. One of the systems that was devised was ‘sublime harmony’. It has two or more combs playing together. It makes it possible that the same note can be played quicker in succession since another tooth can be played when an earlier is still vibrating. By playing two teeth with the same note, one can produce a fuller sound with more volume. And it is much easier to play cords. The mechanism has some extras like a melodie selector and fast/slow regulator. The beautifully executed case fits this music box therefore very well.

Dubbel motor

The nickel plated mechanism has two connected spring barrels which is known under the term ‘double motor’ and which enables the box to play longer. The 43.5-cm cylinder plays on three combs of which the middle one has a zither. Above the fly is a fast/slow regulator button. To the left is a lever with which one can select the melody of which the number is visble on the regulator. To the far left are the two operating levers for start/stop and change/ and repeat of the melody. The mechanism is numbered 57545.


The rectangular case is adourned with ebonised moulding throughout. The lid is veneered with rosewood and has a marquetry ornament with musical instruments in between flowers. This panel is surrounded by a thuja veneered border. The front has similar marquetry inlay. The inside of the lid is adourned with bird’eye maple.

The program

1. Faust Soldiers chorus Gounod
2. Carmen Sylva Waltz Ivanovici
3. Home Sweet Home
4. Athalie March (Mendelssohn)
5. Pirates of Penzance Chorus of Pirates Sullivan
6. Waves of the Danube Waltz Ivanovici
7. The little Tycoon Waltz Spencer
8. to my tale of woe Smith


(Height) 22.5 cm (Width) 83 cm (Depth) 34.5 cm
(Height) 8.9 in (Width) 32.7 in (Depth) 13.6 in





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