Walking into my parent’s house occasionally sounded like you might be walking into a recording studio. There were always sounds of music and voices coming from every direction. My mother might be singing and tap dancing in the kitchen; my dad might be talking (call letters: W5FRO) to someone from across the world on his ham radio; the television would be on even though not one person was watching; and our neighbors would be sitting at the oval breakfast room table talking a mile a minute (all at the same time) while drinking too much coffee. A symphony of familiar sounds to me…that I lovingly remember.
Stein and circus music boxes. The circus was a favorite of our children.
However…the most beautiful sounds would come from my mother’s collection of music boxes. I absolutely loved those music boxes and so did she. I don’t remember a time when she was not on the lookout for an unusual music box. We are proudly and lovingly taking care of the music boxes these days. They still play beautiful music.
The sounds of musical magic…at least…that is how the music boxes sounded to me!
Music boxes are referred to as items that readily produced mechanical music. I had never heard that particular term in reference to music boxes before doing some research. The first music box was a barrel organ created in 1502. A musical instrument called a carilllon was the music box or mechanical music item that was made next. The carillon played a musical scale with a set of bells. These bell sets automatically played chimes at the top of the hour. Designers eventually realized the possibility of combining the set of bells with the barrel organ. Barrels were pinned with melodies that became increasingly complex.
Chiming watches were next!
Music boxes were soon created with combs and cylinders. In Music Boxes: A Guide for Collectors, David Talis states that “the musical box is a mechanical instrument in which tuned steel tongues are set in vibration by means of pins set in a rotating cylinder or disc”. In 1796, Antoine Favre invented a tuned steel tooth which could be plucked by a note. After this invention, music boxes as they are known today were soon created. Thus…
Music boxes… very similar to the ones my mother so dearly loved…became much appreciated keepsakes and collectibles.
The entire history of music boxes is so very interesting to read. More interesting are the memories that I dearly hold… when I hear the special sounds of each box. And then I fully understand why all types of music are so very important to me and why the music boxes are so very important to me. They remind me of…
The symphony of sounds from my childhood!