Cylinder Musical Boxes

Coin-operated musical box with automaton

    Coin-operated musical box with automaton

    Switzerland, Saint Croix

    Late 19th century

    Auguste Lassueur

    Mahogany, metal, glass, fabric; casting, mechanical work and carpentry, sewing

    45 x 71 x 37 cm, 21 kg


    Coin operated musical box in rectangular walnut veneered wooden case set on black wide socle. The top of the case is closed by black lid with wide cornice. Glazed door is in the facade central part. Coin acceptor slot with metal onlay, a keyhole and ring-shaped handle are on the door right side. A pullout drawer with dead lock and decorative onlay is beneath the door. Moulded onlays with carrying handles-brackets are on the lateral sides.

    Musical movement with pinned metal cylinder for twelve tunes, sound comb, five bells with five coloured butterfly-shaped hammers and small drum are mounted inside the case. The tunes are changed automatically. Separate switching off the bells and the drum is possible. The movement is mounted on cast chassis. The movement is winded by the crank fixed located next to the spring inside the case. Sounding tune indicator is near the cylinder left tip.

    Two dancing female figures in light dresses decorated with golden braid are on the forefront. Electric bulbs illuminate the inner space. The musical movement is activated by coin dropped into the slot. Electric cord with the plug is on the case rear side. The key from the drawer and the key that locks the door are in the set.

    Auguste Lassueur, the owner of the music box manufactory in Saint-Croix, signed a contract with the Jura–Simplon Railway for the installation and maintenance of coin-operated musical boxes in the departure lounge at Swiss railway stations in 1887.