Five Generations of Music Box Builders

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My Music Box Story

One of my childhood memories was about a music box sitting under the Christmas Tree. I hoped with all my heart that it was for me and not my little sister. I had previously written to Santa confirming that I had been very good all year and wanted a music box more than anything. And when I saw that music box under the tree I begin praying that it would be for me.

I carefully read the tag, " To Audrey June", and could barely contain my joy. Tears filled my eyes as I held the little music box in my lap. Oh, I was the luckiest little girl in all the world. I can't remember what ever happened to my music box and I wish I still had it. But I do remember asking my father this question, "where is its heart Daddy?" I will never forget his answer..."The Heart of The Music Box Is You ."

The stories I could share with my music box. Every night for years, its lingering music lulled me to sleep with strains of Puccini's "Oh Caro Mio Babbino." Sometimes I would pretend to be a ballerina and glide across the floor in my tiny room to the rhythm of the music coming from the inside my music box.

I wondered how the music got inside of the little wooden box. I tried to imagine how that was possible. I would make up different scenarios of how the music box came to be and put a variety of faces to the inventor.

Little did I know that one day when I grew to be an "old lady" I would discover the truth and the story behind the music box. Little did I know that a magical place called Hubpages would lead me to this discovery.

Beautiful Cherry Wood Music Box
Beautiful Cherry Wood Music Box | Source

One of 8 Children Started building Music Boxes

It was the year, 1848. James Marshall finds gold in Sutter's Mill in Coloma, California. The 1st commercial bank in San Francisco, California was established. Mexico gives Texas to US, ending the war. The 1st US women's rights convention was held in Seneca Falls, NY. The first railroad in Spain - between Barcelona and Mataró - is opened.

And in in L'Auberson (Sainte-Croix), Switzerland lived the father of 8 children by the name of Alix Gueissaz. As if he didn't have enough to do with 8 children to help care for, he began manufacturing music boxes.

One of those 8 children, a young man by the name of Jules-Louis took an avid interest in helping his father build music boxes. He learned the art so well, he became the firm's first successful salesman.


Alix Gueissaz Live here with 8 Children

The 5 Generations of Music Box Builders - Courtesy of Gueissaz.com

Alix Gueissaz - 1817 - 1900
Alix Gueissaz - 1817 - 1900 | Source
Phillipe Gueissaz - 1850 - 1921
Phillipe Gueissaz - 1850 - 1921 | Source
Andre-Samuel Gueissaz - 1881-1973
Andre-Samuel Gueissaz - 1881-1973 | Source
Andre-Paul Gueissaz - 1920 - now
Andre-Paul Gueissaz - 1920 - now | Source
Pierre-Andre Gueissaz - 1953 - now
Pierre-Andre Gueissaz - 1953 - now | Source
The inner workings of the music box
The inner workings of the music box | Source
Musical Pocket Watch - Author Rama - Baud Museum
Musical Pocket Watch - Author Rama - Baud Museum | Source

How The Music Box Works

I wonder as I write this, if the inventor of the box filled with such delicate musical sounds had even a vague notion that he was bringing to the world something so intriguing and lasting.

A music box brings a sense of tranquility. There's something about the celestial sound that seems to wrap itself around you. It's music is appealing to all ages. The enchanting and magical sound charms the memory of earlier times.

Music boxes come in a wide variety of styles and types and can easily become a collecting treasure. And children love to wind them up and listen to the melody as it slowly and very accurately winds down to a stop.

The music from inside the box comes from a vibration. The Vibration is a rhythmic mechanical motion which occurs around a stable equilibrium. And it is sustained while the system has access energy.

The melody, or pitch is produced by the rate of vibrations that occur. When the pitch is low, the vibrations are slower and when the pitch is higher the vibrations are faster. In this sense, the music box can be compared to the strings of a piano. The longer strings vibrate slower than the short strings. The longer strings then, produce a lower sound while the shorter strings produce a higher pitch. There is of course much more on the physics of music but this is basically how it works.

antique cylinder box
antique cylinder box | Source

The Little Music Box

Wind the little music box

And it begins to play

A melody so haunting

It somehow seems to say


My little song is just for you

So play me often please

I’ll play your every care away

And put you right at ease


My little switch you simply move

When you’ve heard enough

Unlike most human beings

(It’s hard to shut them up)


I’ll be here for you waiting

To share my song with you

I’m such a happy music box

And I love to sing for you.


vocalcoach 1.8.2012

See how its done

The Heart of The Music Box Is You

The Heart of the Music Box is You, for only you can connect to the music. It is you who listens to the melody and feels its rythym. The music box is unable to play until you wind it up. And with many music boxes, it is you who can stop its music when you want to by closing its lid.

But even more important are the memories that flood the human mind. Memories of another time and another place. Our mental camera reminds us of both blissful and sorrowful times. It re-captures events, times, places and people.

Yes, you are the heart of the music box and may you live each day with your own music, played to the beat of your own drummer.

On behalf of music boxes everywhere...I thank you.

Check out the Glass Harp

I used to play this for my mother - she loved this piece.

Have you ever had a music box?

  • Yes, when I was a child
  • My family had one
  • I have one now
  • I'd love to have one
  • I visit them in specialty shops
See results without voting

© 2012 Audrey Hunt

More by this Author


Comments 34 comments

thougtforce profile image

thougtforce 4 years ago from Sweden

This is a wonderful story and I can relate to your memories of music. That feeling when we got something that we really wanted as a child stays in the memory. You did a great job with this, writing this hub both interesting and written with feeling in your awesome style. Thanks for sharing this Vocal, I was just on my way to log out from HP when I saw this and I just knew I had to read it! I am glad I did, it was a delight in every way.Voted up and more,

Best wishes

Tina


WillStarr profile image

WillStarr 4 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

When my wife and I were dating, for our first Christmas, I bought her an Italian made music box with a compartment for her jewelry. The other gift was an engagement ring.


vocalcoach profile image

vocalcoach 4 years ago from Nashville Tn. Author

Oh, thoughtforce - thankyou! Your comments have given me just the lift I need. And how wonderful that you can relate to that childhood experience of wanting something so much and then getting it.

You like my writing style! I'm thrilled to hear that. So happy you saw this just before logging out of HP. I just published it and you are my first visitor.

I'm happy! Thank you my friend.


homesteadbound profile image

homesteadbound 4 years ago from Texas

When I was 14, I was in the hospital for 6 weeks when I shattered a vertebrae in my spine. I was 90 miles from home, so did not have a lot of visitors. Someone gave me a music box. I loved to play it and watch it turning and plinging against the cylinder. Great memories.


vocalcoach profile image

vocalcoach 4 years ago from Nashville Tn. Author

Will - What a very sweet gift to give your lady. Both the music box and the ring. Ahhhhh - love a romantic man!


tammyswallow profile image

tammyswallow 4 years ago from North Carolina

Canon in D on glass.. It just doesn't get any better than that. Such a beautiful, creative hub! Beautiful!


Ruchira profile image

Ruchira 4 years ago from United States

Hi Vocalcoach,

A Music box is always treasured esp when you have jewelry in it :)

I love my box and treasure it well 'cause of the pleasant music when opened. it's so soothing to the ear and feels good to store something in it.

I wish you a great year ahead, June Audrey :) Wishing your days are full of soothing and relaxing music!


Movie Master profile image

Movie Master 4 years ago from United Kingdom

I remember my first music box, it was a ballerina in a globe, we bought it on holiday in Switzerland and the music was the Isles of Capri, how I loved that music box, how I wish I still had it!

Thank you for sharing Audrey, I loved your story, poem and the history of the music box.

Voted up/awesome


drbj profile image

drbj 4 years ago from south Florida

What a sweet and tender story of your first muic box, Audrey. You have gladdened the hearts of nusic box lovers and music boxes everywhere with your kind words.


Hyphenbird profile image

Hyphenbird 4 years ago from America-Broken But Still Beautiful

Oh, this Hub brings back such lovely memories to me of my childhood ballerina music box. I learned so much about the history of music boxes also. Thank you Audrey June (a beautiful name)for the poem and the "heart" with which you wrote this.


leni sands profile image

leni sands 4 years ago from UK

The heart of any music instrument (including the voice) is always the person who owns it, nurtures it and cherishes it. Wonderfully, well-written and interesting hub, beautiful memories - voted up, useful, interesting, beautiful & awesome, great videos as well!


vocalcoach profile image

vocalcoach 4 years ago from Nashville Tn. Author

Dear Cindy - What a sweet story. I'm sorry though that you were hospitalized for such a long time at the young age of 14. How thoughtful of the person to give you the music box. It must have helped to pass the time. Thanks for contributing.


Angela Blair profile image

Angela Blair 4 years ago from Central Texas

It's difficult for me to imagine a home without a music box. My Granny, who raised me, had a very old music box that was absolutely fascinating to me as a very small child. It was so old Granny wouldn't let me wind it but she'd wind it for me time after time until I'd wear her completely out. The music box disappeared when she died and I have no idea to whom -- hopefully whoever has it finds it as valuable as I. Great Hub and intense memory trigger! Voted UP. Best, Sis


vocalcoach profile image

vocalcoach 4 years ago from Nashville Tn. Author

Hi tammy ~ You and I share the same appreciation for good music. I was hoping that someone would enjoy this video as much as I have. Thanks and have a beautiful day!


b. Malin profile image

b. Malin 4 years ago

I remember as a Kid having a Music Box that played "Some Enchanted Evening"...and I thought it was Beautiful and I would dance around to the music. I too, don't know what ever became of it.

I Loved this Hub Vocalcoach, so Interesting, and the History Lesson, most Enjoyable, as well as the Videos...And Last, but certainly not Least, I adored your Lovely Poem. Always a Treat to come to your Hub Page!


Charlotte B Plum profile image

Charlotte B Plum 4 years ago

Hey vocalcoach! I was really drawn to this hub because of the title! What a sweet childhood memory you have. I love the delicate sounds of music boxes too, and I really love the videos that you chose to go with the hub! =) I just spotted you published another hub about warm ups, and I am going to go there noooowwww! I'm excited! =)


marcoujor profile image

marcoujor 4 years ago from Jeffersonville PA

Ah, vocal,

I am obviously a child at heart. Music boxes are a gift of choice for me when I attend baby showers, etc...

Years ago, my best college buddy gave me a train music box (Chattanoga Choo Choo) that I keep by my bed, as it reminds me of my Dad, an engineer and my childhood... the sounds are truly magical and your Dad is right, we put our heart/ meaning into these treasures.

Thank you for these beautiful memories in this amazing piece. Voted UP & UABI. Many hugs, Maria


vocalcoach profile image

vocalcoach 4 years ago from Nashville Tn. Author

Ruchira - You are so sweet and so are your welcomed comments. Thank you for wishing me days filled with music. I couldn't ask for anything more. I'm glad you have your music box filled with lovely jewelry.


vocalcoach profile image

vocalcoach 4 years ago from Nashville Tn. Author

Hello Dear MM ~ I wish we both had our music boxes. I must make it a point to ask Santa for one next year. I'll be good all year and write lots of high quality hubs!

Thank you so for being here to read and comment on my hub.

Hugs!


vocalcoach profile image

vocalcoach 4 years ago from Nashville Tn. Author

drbj, my friend ~ I'm touched that you liked my story about my music box. I think everyone should have at least one. If I were able, I would send one to each of my special hubfriends beginning with you.


mary615 profile image

mary615 4 years ago from Florida

I have several music boxes my children have given me for special occasions. I love them. I enjoyed the videos, especially the glass harp one. When I had a cranky baby, I would turn on a music for her to lull her to sleep. Music Boxes are very special, I think. I voted this Hub UP, etc.etc.


Denise Handlon profile image

Denise Handlon 4 years ago from North Carolina

"The heart of the music box is you" What an awesome line. This is such a sweet hub, I've thoroughly enjoyed you sharing about this memory and the beautiful videos you've added.

My youngest daughter used the Canon in D as her wedding processional song escorted by my husband John to a Lakeside arch in an outdoor wedding. It was stunning.

The music box dancer (not this version, LOL) brought back dear memories of our dance studio and one of the numbers I had choreographed for some little ballerinas.

Thank you for sharing such a sweet hub...I voted it up and awesome.


epigramman profile image

epigramman 4 years ago

....dear dear Audrey I have enjoyed hanging out with your daughter at the Hub - she has quite a sense of humor and a nice personality just like her mum and she even tried out my famous honey garlic chili recipe - I love this hub subject as you can imagine and I feel the inspiration of a written piece by the epi-man coming with the inspiration you have brought me here - this is such a labor of love too and I know how much you love music which makes us soul mates and kindred spirits that way - thank you for all of your love and support over the past almost 2 years now - and I will see you over the rainbow with a posting to my Facebook page.

lake erie time ontario canada 8:12pm sending warm wishes to you and good energy too


vocalcoach profile image

vocalcoach 4 years ago from Nashville Tn. Author

Dear hyphenbird - You touched my heart and brought a tear with "Audrey June." Only you, so sweetly sensitive, would do such a sweet thing.

I can picture your little ballerina on your music box, dancing around and around. How little it took back in those days to please children.

Thank you my precious friend for always finding in my hubs...me, Audrey June, and bless you with lasting love and joy until the time we meet with our Father in Heaven.


Sunshine625 profile image

Sunshine625 4 years ago from Orlando, FL

I love music boxes. There is something so magical and comforting to them. Thank you for sharing your story.

Happy Birthday (2/22)!!!!


kelleyward 4 years ago

I love this hub. I also have great memories about my music box from my childhood and bought some for my boys already. This was beautiful. Voted up and shared on facebook!


jabez3 4 years ago

The heart was the first music box ever created. Just close your eyes and listen...


RTalloni profile image

RTalloni 4 years ago from the short journey

As I child I loved to watch a music box ballerina that my mother's brother had given her. It is a sweet memory of quiet moments. Every child should have access to a music box that has sweet music in it! Thanks for sharing your memory of a music box for Christmas, and for the neat look at the Gueissaz family and their legacy.


vocalcoach profile image

vocalcoach 4 years ago from Nashville Tn. Author

Hello Sunshine - Its so true. "Magical" is a perfect description for a music box. I so wish I still had mine!


vocalcoach profile image

vocalcoach 4 years ago from Nashville Tn. Author

kelleyward ~ Your boys must be delighted with their music boxes. What a lovely thing to give to them. When they are older, their music box will bring them many delightful memories!


vocalcoach profile image

vocalcoach 4 years ago from Nashville Tn. Author

RTalloni - Yes, indeed...every child should have a music box. I'm glad you enjoyed the small history of the Gueissaz family. I wonder if they have any idea how much joy they have brought to the world through their little music boxes!


vocalcoach profile image

vocalcoach 3 years ago from Nashville Tn. Author

jabez3 - Oh, how beautiful your words are. I close my eyes and listen. Thank you!


ologsinquito profile image

ologsinquito 2 years ago from USA

What a fascinating story. Voted up, shared and pinned.


vocalcoach profile image

vocalcoach 2 years ago from Nashville Tn. Author

ologsinquito - I'm so happy to see you here. Thank you for liking this hub, for voting up, sharing and pinning. Happiness to you ~ Audrey

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