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MMD > Archives > September 2005 > 2005.09.15 > 01Prev  Next

Unknown Swiss "ST" Musical Box Plays 23.8 cm Disc
By Matthew Caulfield

[ We received a nice email and photos from Teddy Hargrove inquiring
 [ about an unknown Swiss disc musical box displaying a distinctive
 [ "ST" monogram.  I asked Matthew what information he might have.
 [ -- Robbie

Dear Robbie,  I see in the picture of the disc several features that
should help to identify the maker of the box.  The fact that you
mention the ST monogram also appearing on the comb indicates that the
disc and box belong together (not an interchangeable disc from some
other company which can play on that box).

First is the ST monogram and the fact that the box is of Swiss
manufacture, which rules out most disc box makers, which were German.

Second is the disc size; his figure of 9-3/8 inch diameter [23.8 cm]
sounds pretty precise.

Third is the fact that the disc is center drive, not rim drive like
most boxes, or pinion driven (characterized by a saw-tooth disc
circumference), like Thorens.

Fourth is the rather distinctive scoop-shape pattern made by the
stamping of the disc projections.  This is characteristic of Mira
(see Bowers, p. 106), which is Kevin McElhone's suggestion.  But the
disc drive and the ST monogram don't fit with Mira.

Fifth is the tune title, "The Mansion of Aching Hearts," in English,
not French or multi-lingual, and a 1902 Von Tilzer selection
(for the turn-of-century American or British market?).

Both Bowers (p. 246) and Ord-Hume mention the Schrämli & Tschudin
company in Geneva, doing business as "Sun" Music Box Manufacturing
Company (note name in English) from the late 1890's.  Little is
known about them, and Bowers mentions that it isn't certain whether
the line of orchestrions, disc boxes, cylinder boxes, and other
instruments were made by them or whether they were simply agents.
It could be that Mira made boxes/discs for S&T.

On p. 243 Bowers mentions that the cheapo company B.H. Abrahams was
in Ste.-Croix, Switzerland, from about 1898, producing two brands of
disc boxes, for sale mostly in the UK.  But from the pictures those
boxes seem to be rim-drive boxes.

Perhaps someone like Barry Johnson or Nancy Fratti, who have both
seen lots of discs, would recognize this disc.

Matthew Caulfield
Irondequoit, New York

 [ Thanks, Matthew.  I'll place the photos at the
 [ MMD Pictures site, 
 [ -- Robbie

(Message sent Thu 15 Sep 2005, 14:22:32 GMT, from time zone GMT-0400.)

Key Words in Subject:  23.8, Box, cm, Disc, Musical, Plays, ST, Swiss, Unknown

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