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History of music boxes

  The curiosity for mechanical devices dates all the way back ancient Greeks, who were obsessed with creating mechanical living beings. So automata were invented. These mechanical toys copied in metal, wood and stone the likeness of birds, gods and moving objects. Since that time, mechanical devices went through many changes and transformed through the ages.

  From clumsy automaton, to giant musical town clocks and down to the mechanical music movement that could fit into a little box or even a watch. And so the old-world charming design of the a music box was created, combining an aesthetically pleasant look with Swiss-precision movement.

  The origin of the classical old world music box dates back to 1796 to Antoine Favre, a watchmaker from Geneva. Initially the music boxes were produced in Geneva but in early 1800th the center for music box manufacturing was moved to the Jura Mountains in Switzerland, specifically the village of Sainte Croix, the hometown of Reuge. At first it started only with small musical watches, pendants and others small musical devices. Mechanical music was the glory of little city of Sainte-Croix during the late 19th century. Back then the mechanical musical manufacturing was making 10% of the total amount of export in Switzerland and was a must have gimmick for nobles in Europe and Asia.

Later on the glory of mechanical music has started to fade with Edison and his phonograph, World War I, as well as the crisis of the 1928. The new life was given to the industry after the World War II. Recognition for that goes to USA soldiers stationed in Europe who were buying music boxes as a personal souvenir or memorial gift.

by Marina Chernyak

 

 

Marina Chernyak
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