Magic in Miniature: Carousel Music Boxes

Close your eyes; can you see them as they were when you were a small child?  Holding your mother's hand, you waited for your turn to climb onto one of the beautiful and brightly clad horses as the calliope played a sprightly, mesmerizing tune.  There was nothing more enticing at the county fair than the twirling carousel!  Somehow, your mother and father knew just what you wanted for your birthday; an enchanting miniature beauty – a carousel music box!

These are truly timeless treasures of craftsmanship, beauty and sound.  Regardless of whether you're five or fifty, these magical wonders will delight you for years, and then be handed down through the generations replicating the magic of days now long gone.  Carousel music boxes remain the top-selling boxes of all times, and reputable artisans are still creating them by hand in the same manner in which they were first introduced to a fascinated public more than a hundred years ago.

A Variety of Carousel Music Boxes to Choose From

You can locate carousel music boxes through a variety of sources; in specialty boutiques, at estate auctions, through antique dealers, on the internet, and of course eBay.  Some of these boxes are new and lovingly crafted, and some are antiques that have been restored to perform just as they did in the last century.  The affordability of a carousel music box depends upon its age, functionality, and quality.  For example, a lovely triple-motion carousel music box with an oak base and three colorful horses can be found on eBay for only $15.  On the other hand, a more ornate and beautifully carved wood antique box sold for $1,300. 

Although music boxes originated in parts of Europe, American artists of the 1800's quickly recognized their fascination and intricacy.  Thus, today some of the finest carousel music boxes in the world are made in America.  The San Francisco Music Box Company creates a large variety of boxes of all sizes, materials, carvings and music, including their Grand Piano box and their Disney-oriented carousel box.

There is a carousel music box for everyone.  Mini Jobe's Mystical Unicorn Carousel Music Box displays magical unicorns in pastel colors instead of the more traditional horse-type box.  The Grand Carousel Music Box features constantly moving horses.  If you are a fan of Rogers and Hammerstein's musical, Carousel, Yap's box plays the beautiful Carousel Waltz. 

Victorian themes are quite popular in music boxes of all types.  The Queen herself commissioned a carousel music box that was larger and more ornate than most, featuring very bright moving horses, a medley of calliope music and riders of all ages dressed in clothing of the era.  This box is on display in the Tower of London, and is truly priceless.  But if you are a collector of items from the Victorian days, you can find very finely crafted carousel boxes made from the best wood and stone with calliope music reminiscent of the era.

The Chicago World's Fair of 1893 brought forth a large variety of carousel music boxes, many of which can be located at estate and antique auctions.  Look for boxes called "Twirls of the World's Fair."  At auctions you can find boxes crafted entirely from brass or porcelain – rare finds since these boxes are not often created by modern artisans.  And of course, Christmas carousel music boxes are perennial favorites that feature winter scenes and calliope Christmas carols. 


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