The Magical Little Manivelle (part 1)

The word is French for handle. Whilst it is true that most manivelles were children’s novelties, many were designed for the discerning ear and some as souvenirs. More were produced than any other type of musical box.

The manivelle has many advantages, particularly its simplicity and hence low production cost. No batteries, no springs, no need for a governor yet the speed can be varied to suit. Fast, slow, accelerando and ralletando. The brass cylinders were usually well made and were very skilfully pinned. Most had just one or two tunes but it was not uncommon to pin three or four tunes per cylinder, even six on rare occasions! Combs typically consisted of between 18 to 36/40 teeth.

From issue 1 (Summer 2015) of Mechanical Music World. To read this article in full become a member and receive a copy. Full details on “Membership” page.