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Orpheus Disc Musical Box
By Matthew Caulfield

Apparently not a lot is known about the Orpheus disc box.  Q. David
Bowers has a couple of pictures on p. 247 of his "Encyclopedia Of
Automatic Musical Instruments" and says that it was made by Ludwig &
Co. (Ludwig & Wild), Leipzig, Germany, in limited quantities around
the turn of the last century, in several sizes, including 12" and
22-5/8".  On p. 250 he mentions that the company seemed to take pride
in the bulk of some models, which included one that was 86" high,
30" wide, and 20" deep, playing 22 5/8" discs on a comb of 220 teeth.

Arthur W.J.G. Ord-Hume's "The Musical Box: A Guide For Collectors"
has more mentions (and pictures) of Ludwig & Wild and their Orpheus,
saying on p.  223-224 that the Orpheus was introduced in 1897, that
the disc drive holes are square, and that the table models rotate in a
counter-clockwise direction.  He says there were just three disc sizes,
the two cited by Bowers plus an 18 1/2" size, which came in two models,
one having a "sublime harmonie" layout.  He states that the 12-inch
disc will also play on the Britannia box made by Abrahams.

Ord-Hume attributes the failure of the smaller Leizig firms like Ludwig
not to an inferior product but to their too-late entry into the music
box field, after the biggies like Symphonion and Polyphon had cornered
the market.

As for sources of discs, I recommend looking in the MMD Subject
Archives under such terms as "discs" or brand names (also under MMD
contributor Kevin McElhone in the author archives).  In the U.S.A.,
Barry Johnson and Nancy Fratti and others sell discs for many different
brands of disc boxes.  Finding a source in Indonesia may be a wee

Matthew Caulfield
Irondequoit, New York

 [ See
 [ -- Robbie

(Message sent Mon 20 Feb 2006, 15:24:55 GMT, from time zone GMT-0500.)

Key Words in Subject:  Box, Disc, Musical, Orpheus

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