Last Updated: 10/8/2008

Main Entrance

Greetings! Welcome to The Musical Box Museum.

This is a museum consisting of pictures and descriptions of musical boxes that I have seen in my travels throughout the country. There are three rooms containing exhibits. The first room has exhibits of cylinder musical boxes. The second room has exhibits of disc musical boxes and the third room has exhibits of musical clocks, both cylinder and disc.

In addition, you may spend some time and browse in the Reading Room for some books about musical boxes.

I invite you to take a tour through these rooms by following the Tour Guide . You may also proceed directly to any room or exhibit by selecting the Room or Exhibit from the Museum Directory on your left. Enjoy your visit, and come back again!

Musical Boxes - 200 Years

The history of the musical box is 200 years old. In 1796 a Swiss watchmaker named Antoine Favre described his idea for what we now call the cylinder musical box. He described the plucking of tuned steel teeth by pins in a rotating barrel. Over the next two centuries, many changes were made, including a new method of making music on tuned steel teeth, the disc musical box. Today, the sound remains the same as is did 200 years ago.

The cylinder musical box grew out of the Swiss watchmakers craft from an accompaniment to watches and clocks into instruments of their own beauty and recognition. Competition in the musical box business was fierce and trade secrets were closely held. After the first hundred years, the cylinder musical box had been fully developed. In 1882 Miguel Boom of Haiti patented a design for a musical box that played not by a pinned cylinder but by a perforated disc. The next thirty years (1885-1915) saw the rapid development of the disc musical box industry, first in Leipzig, Germany then in Rahway, NJ, among other places.

By 1910 the Edison phonograph began to displace the musical box as the entertainment choice in the home. Only a few musical box manufacturers remain today. Among them are Reuge of Ste Croix, Switzerland, Sankyo in Japan, and Porter Co. in Randolph, VT.

Begin Your Tour Here