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Cylinder Musical Box Handbook: A Guide to the History and Mechanics of Cylinder Music Boxes
If you are interested in learning more about cylinder musical boxes, you may want to check out the book Cylinder Musical Box Handbook by Graham Webb. This book is a comprehensive guide to the history and mechanics of these fascinating devices that produce music by rotating a metal cylinder with pins that pluck tuned teeth on a steel comb.
In this book, you will find detailed information on how cylinder musical boxes work, how they were made, how they evolved over time, and how to identify and date different types of cylinder musical boxes. You will also learn how to care for and repair your own cylinder musical box, or how to find a reputable restorer if you need professional help.
The book is illustrated with many photos and diagrams that show the various parts and mechanisms of cylinder musical boxes, as well as examples of different styles and designs. The book also includes a bibliography and an index for easy reference.
Cylinder Musical Box Handbook is available as a PDF file that you can download for free from the Internet Archive[^1^]. You can also find a revised edition of this book, along with another book by the same author on disc musical boxes, titled The Musical Box Handbook, also on the Internet Archive[^2^]. These books are valuable resources for anyone who loves cylinder musical boxes or wants to learn more about them.Cylinder musical boxes have a long and rich history that dates back to the late 18th century. They were invented by Antoine Favre-Salomon, a Swiss clockmaker, who patented the first cylinder musical box in 1796[^3^]. He used a metal comb with tuned teeth that were plucked by pins on a rotating cylinder to produce musical notes. The cylinder was wound by a spring and regulated by a flywheel.
Cylinder musical boxes became very popular in Europe and America in the 19th century, especially after Isaac Daniel Piguet, another Swiss watchmaker, introduced repeating musical watches with a similar mechanism in 1800[^4^]. Cylinder musical boxes were produced in various sizes and shapes, from small pocket watches to large furniture pieces. They were often decorated with paintings, inlays, carvings, or jewels. Some of them had additional features such as bells, drums, or automata.
The quality and complexity of cylinder musical boxes increased over time, as manufacturers improved their techniques and technology. In 1862, Paillard, a Swiss company, invented the interchangeable cylinder musical box, which allowed the user to change the musical selection by replacing the cylinder[^3^]. In 1875, the first production line factory for musical boxes opened in Sainte-Croix, Switzerland[^3^]. By the end of the century, some cylinder musical boxes could play up to 12 tunes on a single cylinder.However, cylinder musical boxes faced a decline in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, due to several factors. One of them was the invention of the phonograph by Thomas Edison in 1877[^3^], which offered a more realistic and versatile way of reproducing sound. Another factor was the competition from disc musical boxes, which were cheaper, easier to produce, and had larger musical selections. Disc musical boxes used a flat metal disc with projections or slots that plucked the teeth of a comb, instead of a cylinder with pins[^2^]. Some of the famous makers of disc musical boxes were Symphonion, Polyphon, and Regina.
By 1910, cylinder musical boxes had been largely replaced by phonographs and other forms of recorded music. Many of them were discarded or destroyed, and only a few survived in museums or private collections. Today, cylinder musical boxes are considered rare and valuable antiques, and some of them can fetch high prices at auctions or online markets. They are also appreciated by music lovers and collectors for their beauty, craftsmanship, and historical significance. aa16f39245