Search the collections
Similar items over time
Winding Handle - Symphonion, Cole's Book Arcade, circa 1889 Reg. No: ST 018124 2
- Winding handle for a symphonion, a clockwork mechanical musical box for playing 25 1/4 inch (641 mm) diameter perforated metal discs. 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.
- Metal winding handle with wooden knob. Handle is made of turned wood. Shaft of handle has double curve.
|Tagged with:||advertising, booksellers, mechanical musical instruments, music boxes, musical instruments, retailing|
|Themes this item is part of:||Cole's Book Arcade Collection, Information & Communication Collection, Leisure Collection|
|Primary Classification:||MUSIC & MUSICAL INSTRUMENTS|
|Secondary Classification:||Playback Devices - Mechanical|
|Tertiary Classification:||perforated disk players|
|Maker:||Symphonion Company, Germany, circa 1889|
|Inventor:||Mr Paul Lochman, Germany, 1885
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:||Cole's Book Arcade, Australia, circa 1889|
|Place & Date Used:||Cole's Book Arcade, Australia, circa 1889-1920s|
|References:||THE PROVENANCE OF THIS OBJECT IS RECORDED IN "COLE OF THE BOOK ARCADE - ABIOGRAPHY OF E.W. COLE", BY COLE TURNLEY.|