I referred the picture of Joy McNally's music box to Musical Box
Society International's expert Ralph Heintz, because I knew Ralph would
recognize it, if anyone would. Sure enough. Here's Ralph's reply:
"Joy McNally's instrument is what is left of a musical Christmas
tree stand, after some of the vital parts have been lost or thrown
away. It was probably made by J. C. Eckardt of Cannstatt-Stuttgart,
late 19th-early 20th Century.
"In normal condition it would have a spun and embossed metal cover
that extended almost to the edge of the base board, leaving about
3/4-inch of wood showing all round. In addition, it would have had a
cast (usually iron) tree cup with three holding screws around the upper
rim and a tapered hole that would just fit the tapered spindle driven
by the spring motor. The tree would be rotated by the motor which
could be turned on by one of the two levers sticking out from the base.
The other lever enabled to owner to engage or disengage the musical
"This particular instrument is the most primitive of the models they
made. Others had up to four separate two-air movements that could be
brought into play at will (See Bowers' Encyclopedia, p.77), while still
others added a set of slip rings that would bring electricity up to the
lights on the tree while still allowing the tree to rotate.
"These stands were quite common, and can still be found in flea
markets, usually in similar deplorable condition. I believe Reuge
was still making similar stands up until a few years ago.
"This is probably more than you or Joy cared to know about musical
stands, but it's all part of the [MBSI] service."