Tags

Add your own tags:
Separate multiple tags using a comma

Similar items over time

Winding Handle Replica - Symphonion, Cole's Book Arcade, 1880s Object Reg. No: HT 21143

Summary:
Reproduction of original winding handle (ST 18124.2) for a symphonion, a clockwork mechanical musical box for playing 25 1/4 inch (641 mm) diameter perforated metal discs. The original was made around 1889; it is not known when the replica was made.

This type of instrument was developed by Paul Lochman of Leipzig, Germany, in 1885, and may be regarded as a forerunner of the juke-box. The symphonion and other mechanical music boxes were very popular in Europe and North America in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

This symphonion was ordered from the Symphonion Company, Germany around 1889, by Charles Bassett, head of the Music Department at Cole's Book Arcade on Little Collins Street, Melbourne. It was originally set up to play once when a penny was dropped into the slot. This activated a clockwork mechanism that rotated a thin 641mm diameter metal disc with small projections on its surface. The projections plucked the teeth of a metal comb, causing music to play. It was modified in the late 1960s for decimal currency with A 240 v electric motor drive. It has now been restored to run by clockwork, and is still in operational condition.

Cole's Book Arcade closed in 1929, and the symphonion was acquired by Museum Victoria shortly afterwards.
Description:
Metal winding handle with wooden knob and brass detail. Shaft to which knob is attached is curved.
Acquisition Information:
Commission from Museum of Victoria Scienceworks, Engineering Workshop, 2008
Discipline: Technology
Dimensions: 125 mm (Height), 190 mm (Length)

More information

Tagged with: leisure, marketing, mechanical musical instruments, music boxes, musical instruments, retailing
Themes this item is part of: Edward William Cole, Bookseller (1832-1918), Cole's Book Arcade Collection, Domestic & Community Life Collection, Information & Communication Collection, Leisure Collection
Primary Classification: MUSIC & MUSICAL INSTRUMENTS
Secondary Classification: Playback Devices - Mechanical
Tertiary Classification: perforated disk players
Inventor: Mr Paul Lochman, Germany, circa 1889

Inventor Paul Lochman is credited with inventing the symphonion but it is not entirely clear whether he manufactured this instrument. There are no obvious maker's markings on the instrument.
Date Purchased: 1888-1890

This symphonion was ordered from the Symphonion Company, Germany around 1889, by Charles Bassett, head of the Music Department at Cole's Book Arcade on Little Collins Street, Melbourne.
Place Used: Cole's Book Arcade

Add your comment

  • Museum Victoria does not provide valuations, for more information please visit the valuation infosheet
  • Please note that Museum Victoria staff will not normally respond to comments posted on our website.

Similar items

Yes No