The history of the music box is much more complex than one might think beginning with the Middle Ages.

The first known music box was theĀ carillon. This was very prominent in the Middle Ages mostly because it is what they called the very mechanism that told the people the time. It was also normally attached to a large bell which is struck by a hammer every hour to help tell time.

from MechanicalMusic.co.UK

Then in 1796, we learn of clockmaker Antoine Favre-Salomon:

The clockmaker Antoine Favre-Salomon, a native of Geneva, invented a musical pocket watch in 1796. Since then he is considered to be the inventor of the music box, and Sainte-Croix became the world capital of mechanical music. Music automatons are still produced here.

from Museum of Music Boxes and Automatons

1940s-1950s Handcrank music boxes

Handcrank music box with lid insert of a couple in the garden - available at Bahoukas in Havre de Grace
This music box opens to place jewelry or powder and still works.
Handcrank music box from Bahoukas Antiques
This music box still works in spite of looking well-used.
egg-shaped, painted, metal, handcrank music box at Bahoukas
This music box is a larger and egg shape.

American soldiers returning home after the Second World War were the unwitting creators of a real trend by bringing music boxes back in their luggage, a symbol of victory and a new life about to begin. Thus, it was then that a keen interest developed for the little Swiss musical movements from the other side of the Atlantic that were fitted into all sorts of products.

excerpted from Reuge.com

History and Collectibles

As we’ve learned here, some of the simplest collectibles have a unique and colorful history. If you delve into the music box history, you’ll also realize that they’re connected to Edison’s invention of the phonograph. (We have some old phonographs as well! Just in case you were wondering.)

The weather’s turning a bit cooler and it’s a pleasant time of year to browse our shops. So you know, we’ll be watchin’ for ya.