Music Boxes Rule The World

If "music box" sounds like a phone app to you, you may want to read this. I know it sounds odd, but people actually enjoyed physical music boxes that had just one melody. Or, at best, a couple of melodies. And such music box toys are available even today for a few bucks.

But What's a Music Box?

It's a mechanical instrument that generates music by rolling a cylinder with a set of pins on it. These pins hit strings and generate sound. Music boxes used to be big as tables and had interchangeable cylinders. Nowadays this kind of music boxes are in museums. But much simpler and smaller ones are available as toys you can buy and give your kids. And, to my surprise, most kids will enjoy them pretty much. Regardless of all the electronic devices with a lot more functionality they have.

How come? Mechanical stuff has its own magic that is unproduceable in the digital world. And as I wrote many times, they give you the chance to open them and see exactly how they work. Some of them will just have a cylinder and a set of strings. Others will have cam and crank gears for more complex movement and more melodies:

Torley music box

Some are entirely automatic and the music start playing when you open the box. Others use a lantern to move the cylinder:

Musical music box with lantern

Ever wondered how do their gears look? Here's a nice photo:

Gears of a music box

Another good looking music box with lantern, a perfect retro-present for kids or even adults:

Painted music box

The below pircutre probably best illustrates how the lantern passes the movement to the cylinder. Then the cylinder hits the strings. The principle of the automated music boxes is the same, but instead of lantern they have a winding spring.

Lantern inside

Have a look also from the top (this is another music box but the same mechanism):

Mechanism, look from the top

You can find such music boxes even today although I can't guarantee they'll be of the same quality as the ones made 50 years ago for example. Just browse Amazon, Aliexpress, Ebay or your favorite online store and you'll be surprised how many kinds of music boes are still produced. They aren't dead, I told you!

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