Antique Cylinder Music Boxes -- Listen to a Piece of History at the Solvang Antique Center

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Exceedingly rare music box collection located at the Solvang Antique Center in the Danish village of Solvang. They are one of the few antique galleries that specialize in these fully restored and increasingly rare antiques.

The Solvang Antique Center has just acquired several antique music boxes and after an extensive restoration process they are now available to the public. The sounds of the antique cylinder music box and the disc music box are still enjoyed daily, along with other rarities such as the Violano Virtuoso, with only a few hundred left in existence. The Solvang Antique Center has long been praised as an antiques gallery with a museum like environment. This is especially true of antique music boxes, as they have one of the largest and most diverse collections west of the Mississippi.

The idea of a self playing music box was developed in the 1790’s by Antoine Favre of Geneva, Switzerland, who invented a carillon without bells. The tune was created using a pinning system that plucked a tuned steel tooth. This mechanical creation was first found in clocks, creating music at the hour. These musical components eventually were placed in boxes of their own featuring steel-tooth combs with multiple notes, and began evolving into the cylinder music boxes that would grace affluent homes with their majestic sound throughout the 19th century. Most of the antique cylinder music box and disc music box makers went out of business by 1910.

The sound of the antique cylinder music box is enchanting and elegant, nothing compares. The cylinders in these music boxes play from 4 to 12 tunes. The arrangements were songs from the day, operas and religious themes. Later in the century, the makers began creating boxes with interchangeable cylinders. The elite boxes would come with just a few cylinders or an entire cabinet, depending upon what was commissioned.

The rare and exquisite cylinder music boxes were made between the 1840's and 1890's primarily, and were hand made predominantly by the Swiss, to include such notable makers as Nicole Freres, Baker Troll, Conchon, Bremond, L'Epee, Lecoultre, Mermod Freres, Paillard Rivenc and Rzebitschek.

The antique cylinder music box evolved from rudimentary combs, simple tunes and plain boxes into beautiful masterpieces of marquetry inlay boxes in exotic woods with matching tables and multiple cylinders. The Victorian era brought about some of the most elaborate cylinder music boxes. They expanded to include not only tuned steel combs, but also reed organs, castanets, drums, bells, etc. The complexity of the orchestra cylinder music box added another dimension to the sound.

In the 1880’s, the disc music box was invented in Germany. This provided people with the ability to amass a multitude of discs, as each maker had hundreds of tunes available that would work on their machines. This ended the reign of the cylinder music box. The disc music boxes were made for a very brief time period, from the mid 1880's to about 1905 by Swiss, German and American makers such as Regina, Polyphon, Symphonion, Lochmann, Criterion, Olympia, New Century, Stella, Mira, Adler and Fortuna. These antique disc music boxes are available in beautiful restored condition at the Solvang Antique Center. They also have an eclectic variety of disc titles for your listening pleasure.

Along with the antique cylinder and disc music boxes at the Solvang Antique Center, you will find the Violano Virtuoso. This was an automated musical machine that actually plays a violin along with a piano board. The Violano Virtuoso was made solely by the Mills Novelty Company of Chicago in the 1920’s. These exceedingly rare machines are few and far between today. The Solvang Antique Center invites you to come and listen to a piece of history. You may also browse their selection online at

Having an antique cylinder music box or an antique disc music box in your home brings serenity and elegance that you can enjoy alone or with your guests. Whether it is a small one for a gift or a large one for your parlor, you will find the perfect antique music box to suit your needs at the Solvang Antique Center.

About Solvang Antique Center:

The Solvang Antique Center is one of the most comprehensive antique businesses in the US. Whether you are buying, selling, consigning or require restoration work of almost any kind, they have the talent available to satisfy the most particular collector. Their perfectionist packing department provides delivery safely and insured. With over 30,000 satisfied customers worldwide, their experience in long distance deliveries spans three and a half decades and encompasses nearly every corner of the globe.

Backed by 35 years experience in the antique field, the Solvang Antique Center has clearly earned its reputation as one of the finest antique collectives in the country. Antique clock dealers and collectors from far and wide depend upon this unique business as a source for quality antiques at competitive prices. The unique museum-like environment showcases 65 exceptional antique dealers from as far away as London. A tour of their user-friendly website gives you a good overview of their vast and diverse inventory. Call 805-688-6222 with any questions.

The Solvang Antique Center is located at 486 First Street in Solvang, and is open seven days a week from 10 until 6.


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Dwight Steffensen
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