University Museums

Title: Mira
Name: Music Box, Disk style
Date: 1897-1905
Medium: wood, paper, metal
Country/Culture: Swiss
Dimensions: 12 × 13 × 7 1/2 in. (30.5 × 33 × 19.1 cm)
Classification: Musical Instruments
Credit Line: Gift of Donald E. Larew to the Farm House Museum. In the Farm House Museum Collection, Farm House Museum, University Museums, Iowa State University, Ames, Iowa.
Object Number: UM2011.429
More Information
This disk type music box resembles an illustrated ad for a small single comb Mira music box circa 1900. It is a rather standard design for a disk type box, the exception being its crank design. The removable crank for this box is concealed inside the cask. This is opposed to the majority of boxes with an external crank mounted on the side panel of the case.

This music box plays 9¼ inch disks and is operated by placing the disk on the center wheel and pulling back the holding wheels at the back and front of the box. Once the disk is secure, one uses the crank lever to turn the internal spring via the shaft in the front right of the box. Then it is a simple matter of turning the play lever to PLAY and dialing in the playback speed using the lever at the back of the box. This would allow tunes of different tempos to be put on a standard disk that may have otherwise removed too much metal from a disk.

The Mira, and also Stella, music box companies were some of the longer lasting Swiss music companies. Most of the others went out of business because they refused to change from cylinder type boxes to disk type. The aggressive marketing and cheaper components of the disk type manufactures made the cylinder type market obsolete by 1895. This being said, the larger Stella and Mira boxes are regarded as some of the best tonal quality and workmanship of all disk type boxes and are valued highly by collectors.