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MMD > Archives > April 2016 > 2016.04.22 > 01Prev  Next

Cylinder Musical Boxes by "Malignon a Geneve"
By Paul Bellamy

Dear Reg,  The following does not add much to the specific details
you ask for but I hope that it may be of interest to you.  Not a great
deal has been written about Malignon and there is sure to be much more
information 'out there' of historical interest.

Alphonse Malignon was born in 1800 and died in 1875.  He married
Jeanne-Judith-Elizabeth Victor in 1827 but they had no children.
From 1835 to 1868 he traded under the name of Malignon & Leschot in
Geneva at rue de la Corraterie 11.  Leschot was probably Georges
Auguste Leschot, son of Jean-Frédéric Leschot, the partner of and
successor to Henri-Louis Jaquet-Droz.

Leschot left the partnership soon after in 1839.  He is known to have
had premise nearby at rue de la Corraterie 6.  Sadly he and his wife
died there in the same year, 1868.  Thus the trading arrangement
between Malignon and Leschot seems to have continued for some time in
some form of trading arrangement.

Alphonse was a Geneva agent.  During the pre-1860 key-wind and post
1860 early lever-wind periods he was said to be associated in some way
with Langdorff.  Attribution to him and Moulinié Ainé is often found
stamped on the bedplate and sometimes printed on the tune sheet of
anonymous musical boxes that had distinctive Langdorff characteristics.

HAV Bulleid's tune sheet number 287, circa 1845, is a good example of
his agency status.  It is headed A. Malignon, fabricant d'Horologer et
de Bijouterie (clock/watchmaker and jeweller) with his address on the
premier étage (i.e., the first floor) at rue Corraterie 11.  In fact the
movement is a fine mandoline-expressive single comb, long-and-short-pin
cylinder by Henri Joseph Lecoultre.

The only other Bulleid tune sheet for Malignon is number 107 in
identical style.  This is for a Langdorff forte-piano movement with
bells.  Bulleid did not describe the comb but it is presumably the
two-comb fort-piano type.  Henri and his brother Joseph are the only
makers known to have made the single-comb types.  There is some
evidence of other names appearing on the long-and-short-pin single
comb types but they are almost certain to be agents.

Patrick McCrosson has researched the characteristics of Langdorff
movements, noting their similarity with others such as Métert, Moulinié
Ainé, Bourquin, Michelle Minas, as well as Malignon.  He concluded that
Langdorff was the maker and supplied all of them.  One significant
characteristic of Langdorff found on other 'makers' (i.e., agents) is
the characteristic large numerals about 4 to 4.5 cm high stamped on
the bedplate.

Bedplates are also known to be stamped 'H. Métert'.  It is presumed
that Métert was acting in some form of agency arrangement with
Langdorff.  Bedplates with small punch-marked serial numbers are
indicative of Henri-Joseph Lecoultre.  This observation is of great
historical significance.  Here one needs to establish whether or not
they are of the two-comb forte-piano type.

Bulleid noted in his book Cylinder Musical Box Technology (page 49)
a typical Langdorff movement the bedplate of which had been stamped
H. Métert.  The name had been obliterated by heavy chisel strikes and
then over-stamped Lion Freres a Hambourg.  Here we have an agent,
pretending (perhaps) to be a maker, buying from and agent pretending
to be the maker!  On pages 56/57 Bulleid lists in serial number and
date order Langdorff and Métert movements from 1843 to 1892 together
with known agents.

Paul Bellamy

 [ Malignon, Langdorff and Langdorff agents.

(Message sent Fri 22 Apr 2016, 20:36:58 GMT, from time zone GMT-0700.)

Key Words in Subject:  Boxes, Cylinder, Geneve, Malignon, Musical

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