A Swiss interchangeable cylinder music box, Bremond, circa 1870
This fine music box has a spring driven mechanism with fixed winding handle. The six cylinders have 6 airs each and play on a single comb. The box is veneered with rosewood and has fine marquetry inlay. It stands on a similarly veneered table with two drawers storing the extra cylinders.
It might be hard to understand today, but in the 19th Century mechanical music was a marvel of technique and only affordable for the very well off. These ‘machines’ are still testament of the enormous skill that the workmen must have had. Each pin had to be put in by hand with hardly any margin for error. The steel comb had to be made and tuned to perfection. The cases often veneered with the finest woods and inlaid with marquetry ornament by good cabinet makers. This fine music box has six cylinders with each six tunes of which many are aria’s from opera’s. The sound of this fine music box is astonishing. Together with its matching table to store the extra cylinders, it must have been an object that was a prize possession of the owner.