A very similar changeable cylinder box, sold in these rooms as Lot 154 on October 20 1976, was described in detail in The Music Box Vol. 7 No. 7 (pp. 272-5); this had no maker's name. Another example, also with mandolin pinning, from the Guinness collection, is described by Etienne Blyelle in Musiques Mecaniques Vivantes, No. 43 (2002); this carries the name of Karrer & Cie, and also, on the tune-list, of Herni Kapt. In addition to the mandolin pinning, the Karrer box has forte-piano expression with unequal length pins. The present example is not playing (attention is needed to the governor train), but from a visual inspection it is doubtful if it shares this feature. However, both this and the Karrer movement have similar weights added to the wings of the governor. Blyelle naturally assumes these to be a later modification, but their appearance on another example of the same make suggests they may be original.
The key extension fits only the left-hand end of the cylinder arbor; the right-hand end has a plain brass sleeve, which might originally have fitted a 'glove-hook', or could have been intended for holding in the fingers. The Lecoultre stamp on the bedplate is preceded by some illegible initials, one of which looks like a 'J'.
Tune titles are as follows:
Vers toi de Lucie/Pendant La Fete de Guido/Valse de Strauss.
Songe du Nuit d'Ete Cho D=G=Chasse/Envai j'espere de Robert le Diable/Derniers Pensees de Weber
Une Ange Une Femme La Favorite/No. 8 Des Martyrs/Souvenirs du Jeune Age
No 19 de guillaume Tell/La Rose de Smyrne Valse/Polka Mazurka Ouverture des Martyrs/Casta Diva Norma
Part of an original tune sheet survives, in fragments, with instructions in French for changing cylinders on the reverse. A later list is written on the reverse of an 1879 invitation card, and a photocopy survives of an English translation of the instructions.
The musical box is in good, unrestored condition apart from the poor state of the governor train; there are some slightly bent pins, though no evidence of a 'run' having ever occurred. The comb contains approximately 220 teeth.