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MMD > Archives > November 2005 > 2005.11.04 > 01Prev  Next

Identifying the Maker of a Cylinder Music Box
By Matthew Caulfield

The surest way of identifying the maker of a cylinder box is to check
the design of the tune sheet against the many examples that have been
identified and published by Arthur W.J.G. Ord-Hume and H.A.V. Bulleid.
Not many boxes bear the name of their makers in recognizable form,
although a few do bear design features or marks that are recognizable
by the cognoscenti.

Forget such things as case design.  That varies all over the map, and
sometimes movements were sold uncased for importation and casing in the
country of sale.  If a name _is_ found on a box, it is often the name
of the dealer, importer, or manufacturer's agent, not of the

Luuk Goldhoorn has developed a schema classifying tune-sheet designs
by salient elements.  That schema may be of help in focussing your
attention to a narrow list of potential makers.

After you have identified the maker of your box, you may be able to
approximate its date of manufacture -- and possibly even the market the
box was made for --  by researching the composition dates of the tunes
listed on the tune sheet.  Success at this requires some facility in
reading old manuscript.  Many of the letter shapes are different from
those we use today.  But it can be done, with experience.

If Sharon Gordon, who raised the question in the 05.11.03 MMD, will
send me a good clear picture of just the tune sheet (no cabinetry,
please), I will try to help her.

Matthew Caulfield
Irondequoit, New York

(Message sent Fri 4 Nov 2005, 14:58:41 GMT, from time zone GMT-0500.)

Key Words in Subject:  Box, Cylinder, Identifying, Maker, Music

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