Symphonion Musikwerke

The history

Symphonion Musikwerke company (Leipzig, Germany) was founded in 1885 and became the first world’s largest commercial producer of music boxes. Eduard Kuhno, Paul Lochmann and Ernst Lochmann were the shareholders of the company. Simphonion products were extremely successful, and in three years’ time the number of workers increased from 25 to 180. The annual turnover reached 400 thousands German marks. In 1891, the annual production increased up to 31 thousands music boxes.

In 1896, Symphonion established an affiliated enterprise in New Jersey, USA, under the brand name of The Imperial Symphonion Manufacturing Company. First music boxes were imported from Germany; local production was launched two years later. In 1901 Symphonion Manufacturing Company plant in New York. A new plant was constructed in New Jersey and the firm got a new title - "Symphonion. Fabrik Lochmannscher Musikwerke AG". In 1907, the company changed the name once again to ‘Symphonionfabrik AG’. Moreover, in 1912 the company announced the bankruptcy citing the liquidity crisis and unsuccessful investments.

Interesting to note that the Symphonion company employed Gustave Brachhausen and Paul Rissner, talented engineers who made a large contribution into the development of musical movements' industry. In 1889, they created ‘Polyphon Musikwerke’, and three years later, in 1892 – another company called "Regina Music Box Company".

These companies - "Symphonion", "Polyphon" and "Regina" – were known as the "Die Grosse Drei" (the great three) in the field of the perforated plates blocks and music boxes. These three firms owned roughly 90% of the world’s market and were well known around the world.

Exhibits in the Museum Collection