Thursday, July 7, 2016

The Elbers Music Box Collection

My 1974 newspaper story about Kurt Elbers and his music box collection in Mandeville was one of the most interesting. When I say "music box" most people think small wooden boxes with the lid that opens and the wind up key in the bottom. Well, think bigger. Say like the size of a closet. 

The Elbers collection had several of what was used as early "juke boxes," put a coin in and a huge array of mechanically played musical instruments springs to life, sort of like a player piano but with violins, drums and horns.

Those kinds of music boxes of course came from the mechanical genius of the late 19th century, filling music halls and beer gardens with music that rivaled small bands. But, as the Elbers found out, keeping those boxes maintained and finely-tuned required a serious set of mechanical, hydraulic and pneumatic skills, not to mention environmental controls to provide humidity and temperatures for which they were designed. 

Here's the article below. Just click on the the images below to enlarge the view to make it more readable.