Cylinder Musical Boxes

Coin-operated musical box

    Coin-operated musical box

    Switzerland, Saint Croix

    Circa 1900

    Auguste Lassueur

    Wood, metal, glass; casting, mechanical work and carpentry

    78 x 86 x 42.5 cm

    On the frieze: “MUSIK.AUTOMAT. EINWURF 10 Cts.”; on brass plate: “machine automatique à monnaie”


    Coin operated musical box in rectangular walnut veneered shaped form wooden case on spherical feet. Low socle with wide carved plinth is a base. A pullout drawer with lock for coins is in the socle right side. A hinged glazed door with dead lock in the upper part is on the case façade. Two chiseled columns with ionic capitals are on the both side of the door. A narrow door with lock, opening access to the musical movement winding lever is between the right side columns. Brass nameplate with the inscription in French is socle upper part. Entablature with thin architrave, flat frieze and stepped cornice rests on the columns. Dark onlay with the inscription in German is on the frieze.

    Decorative finial with carved dump arch with embossed bronze onlay with the image of a lyre and musical instruments framed by a wreath of oak and thorn branches is mounted atop. Short balustrades with chiselled elements on the edges are on the arch sides. The coin acceptor horizontal slot is in front of the finial. Musical movement with pinned cylinder for six tunes, sound comb, five bells, five butterfly-shaped hammers and small drum is mounted inside the case. The sound comb is equipped with a strap (a muffler) that muffles the sound. The tunes change automatically. The design permits pinned cylinders’ replacement. The movement is mounted on the cast chassis. The movement is winded by the crank that is located inside the case in the special compartment behind the door. The playing number index is near the drive mechanism. Electric bulbs illuminate the inner space. The musical movement is activated by a coin that is dropped in the coin acceptor slot. Electric cord with the plug is on the rear side. The key from the drawer and two keys from the doors’ locks 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 waiting lounges at Swiss railway stations in 1887.