Alexandra Interchangeable Cylinder Music Box with Bells and Drum

Feb 23
2016
Alexandra Interchangeable Cylinder Music Box with Bells and Drum


Alexandra Interchangeable Cylinder Music Box with Bells and Drum


Alexandra Interchangeable Cylinder Music Box with Bells and Drum


Alexandra Interchangeable Cylinder Music Box with Bells and Drum


Alexandra Interchangeable Cylinder Music Box with Bells and Drum


Alexandra Interchangeable Cylinder Music Box with Bells and Drum


Alexandra Interchangeable Cylinder Music Box with Bells and Drum



This music box was completely restored about 20 years ago by the late Marv Freund, a very well respected music box restorer. The Alexandra Interchangeable Cylinder Box Mermod Freres of St. Croix, Switzerland was one of that country’s most prolific makers of music boxes. In addition to many different styles of cylinder instruments they made the Stella and Mira disc boxes. Invented by Alfred Junod, Jules Jaccard and Paul Calame-Jaccard the Alexandra made its debut in 1890. In conception it is somewhat akin to the well-known Capital “cuff” boxes made by F. Otto & Sons in New Jersey in the late 1890’s. The heart of the Alexandra is a six-inches-long brass mandrel which lifts out of the box when two securing lever arms are raised – much in the manner of a regular interchangeable cylinder box. There, however, the similarity ends. The music is programmed not on the mandrel but on a series of hollow metal sleeves. Each sleeve contains countless little brass pins and was made by hand in the manner of other contemporary cylinder boxes. The inside of the sleeve is smooth, permitting it to be slid over the mandrel and locked into position. Changing the sleeves is a simple matter and takes but a fraction of a minute. In its day the Alexandra was probably intended to be an interchangeable box which could be furnished with simple, lightweight and presumably inexpensive cylinders – perhaps an effort to be competitive price-wise with the disc boxes which were just beginning to ascend to popularity at that time. However, the plans for the Alexandra must have met with obstacles as the instruments are of great rarity today. Tonally, the Alexandra is not exceptional. It can be fairly compared with any Six-tune 6 cylinder box of the 1890 era. Its desirability lies in its significance as a major type of cylinder box hybrid. Like the Capital “cuff” box it deserves a place in the advanced collector’s exhibit as an example of an interesting and ostensibly sensible idea that “might have been” were it not for that most imponderable of all judges: public acceptance. The example of the Alexandra offered here is attractive in all respects. The case has a pretty inlay on the front and on the top. The underside of the lid has the program listing 36 tunes – six tune on each of six cylinders. The program card is entitled Alexandra 1\0. Evidently a variety of other selections was offered with other cylinders on other Alexandra boxes judging from the range of letters. The program of the Alexandra we offer is varied and offers such melodies as Horne Sweet Home, Annie Laurie, Funny Without Being Vulgar, Safe in the Arms of Jesus, Cornin’ Through the Rye, Long Long Ago and Hark, the Herald Angels Sing. There are six pylons – three on each side – over which the spare cylinders fit when not in use. Overall dimensions of the box are: 20Y2″ wide, 18Y2″ high (with the lid open) and 10W’deep. F\s an interesting chapter in the history of the development of the music box the Alexandra offered here should be of commanding importance to the museum or advanced private collector. The item “Alexandra Interchangeable Cylinder Music Box with Bells and Drum” is in sale since Sunday, February 21, 2016. This item is in the category “Collectibles\Decorative Collectibles\Music Boxes\Pre-1900″. The seller is “jasonsmc” and is located in Millersville, Maryland. This item can be shipped to United States.

  • Country/Region of Manufacture: Switzerland
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