Merry Music Makers

The Music Box

For a person of means in the Victorian era, a music box was central to the parlor. In fact, unless blessed with a musically talented family member, a household’s primary source of musical entertainment was the music box.

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The bird box was a popular style of music box in the late 1800s.

These beautiful musical units, crafted by jewelers, were reminiscent of tinkling church bells.

Unfortunately, with the invention of Thomas Edison’s phonograph in 1910, production of revolving cylinder devices nearly ceased entirely, and the Victorian music box became a lost art.

The Gramophone

The first successful system of sound recording – the gramophone – was invented by Emile Berliner, a German immigrant working in Washington D.C., in 1887. Emile was the first inventor to begin recording on flat discs, or records.

The Sands Are Alive With Sunshine

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The sands are alive with sunshine,

The bathers lounge and throng,

And out in the bay a bugle

Is lilting a gallant song.

The clouds go racing eastward,

The blithe wind cannot rest,

And a shard on the shingle flashes

Like the shining soul of a jest;

While children romp in the surges,

And sweethearts wander free,

And the Firth as with laughter dimples…

I would it were deep over me!

~ William Ernest Henley (1849-1903)

Painting:  “Shores of Bognor Regis” by Alexander Mann (1853-1908)

Sweet Summertime

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It is official. The fireflies and frogs have announced the barefoot season. Even the Autumn lovers have succumbed to hammocks and wind chimes in wait of the eminent turn. The rhythmic hum of oscillating fans, lawn mowers, children’s clamor and gurgling fountains are the soundtrack of summer. Family potlucks and cookouts invite picnic hampers, nostalgic tablecloths and pieced quilts to sprawl upon the ground.

This is the nonchalant season when the living is easy. Relaxed conversation over icy lemonade on the porch swing and patriotic cupcakes with butter cream frosting, and trips to the organic market (wicker cart and grocery shopping bag and bicycle basket).

May your sunshiny days surprise your thirsty gardens with an occasional thunderstorm. Revel in the aromas and visions of the leisure season until that first cold snap induces sweater weather once again!