The music boxes on display at the American Treasure Tour are owned by the Music Box Society International (MBSI). We are pleased to be able to share their amazing collection with you, and hope you will enjoy not only the music boxes but the information posted below that will better share the history of these early innovations into playing music and help you better understand just how they work.
MUSICAL CYLINDER MUSIC BOXES – Tended to be hand-made at a time when craftsmanship was stressed for these expensive machines.
The manufacture of cylinder player production prior to mass production:
A. Brass would be flattened out, smoothed and shined. Grids were placed on them to help designate where the pins would go in the brass. B. The women or girls of the home were responsible for the meticulous and exacting process of carefully hammering holes into the brass where the pins would be placed, after the brass plate was placed on a cylinder-shaped form made out of wood.
C. The wooden form was removed while the pins were then placed into the pre-made holes at equal lengths.
D. A gooey substance made of a combination of tree sap and sand was put inside the cylinder to coat the inside of the pins, which would then fuse them into place. It would likely be thick to ensure long-term stability of the pins.
E. The governor would then added to compensate for the potential imbalance in the cylinder made by the inexact dispersal of the tree sap and sawdust. The governor ensures a steady rotation speed for the cylinder.
F. The comb is made out of a solid strip of steel that is durable and maintains the tones created by the manufacturer.
In the late-19th century, steel was a rare and expensive commodity. Combs on cylinder music boxes often include repeated notes. The resonance of one tooth may last too long for rapid repetition should the song demand it, so this was resolved by including more than one tooth of the same note. The tones of some teeth were modified by the addition of weights underneath them as well.