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MMD > Archives > December 1997 > 1997.12.06 > 09Prev  Next

Help to Make a Disc Music Box Toy
By Beatrice Robertson

Dear Martha,  There is such a toy, although not a disc, but an aluminum
rectangle with the music staff printed on it complete with treble clef
and one sharp, since the comb is in the key of G.  It is called a
"Musicano" and I purchased mine in Switzerland last year.

As near as I have been able to find out, the toy was made by Lador just
before WW2 and not marketed for obvious reasons.  The unopened boxes
were stored in a warehouse near Geneva and have recently started
appearing here and there, primarily in auctions.  I may be able to find
one for you.

The toy works the same as a disc music box, with the pins plucking star
wheels which in turn pluck the comb.  The comb has 11 teeth, tuned in
the key of G, beginning with D and ending with G one octave up.  This
makes for quite a satisfactory group of notes with which to arrange
several tunes.

The neat part is the ability of the player to screw in the pins in any
position to perform the tune you wish.  Since there are 3 aluminum
pieces which can be fastened together, and 36 possible notes per bar, a
fairly long tune can be pinned.

The bars are advanced over the comb by turning a crank which turns a
gear that engages the edge of the aluminum "music," much the same as
the holes on the edge of a disc turn a music box disc.

Second possibility:  Musical combs could be found to build a toy such
as you describe -- you might hunt up a Fisher Price "Phonograph" toy as
a starting point.  They are frequently found in flea markets and
Good Will stores.  They play a plastic molded disc with a really
ingenious star wheel & comb "tone arm" arrangement.  New discs could
conceivably be made for this readily available toy.

To the MMD members:

If any of you have further information on the "Musicano" I would
appreciate your sharing it with me, so I can finish the article I am
writing for the MBSI on this well-made musical toy.

Beatrice Robertson

 [ Thanks for your fast response, Beatrice.  Can others offer
 [ suggestions for Martha?   -- Robbie

(Message sent Sun 7 Dec 1997, 01:09:41 GMT, from time zone GMT-0500.)

Key Words in Subject:  Box, Disc, Help, Make, Music, Toy

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