Antique Organ Music Box with Bells with Mandarin Automata Strikers by Mermod Freres of Saint Croix, Switzerland. c. 1898
A magnificent and rare organ music box with bells and mandarin automata strikers made by Mermod Freres in c. 1898.
The fully restored movement features an 18 key organ and 6 rack-mounted bells struck by colourful Mandarin automata who turn their heads as they play. The movement also features the distinctive Mermod Freres combined tune selector and change-repeat mechanism, a slow-fast control, and Mermod Frere's parachute safety check. The combs are stamped with the Mermod Freres mark, and the box is wound by an external crank to the right.
It plays 12 operatic tunes with a superb sound, as befits a large and impressive box like this. The tunesheet is original, and details the 12 operatic tunes, as well as the Mermod Freres serial number 117977.
The case is veneered with rosewood with tulipwood stringing, and is inlaid to the lid and to the front.
This box is a rare and very impressive example. I have only encountered one other similar to it in the last 40 years. A truly special music box.