Symphonion, Fabrik Lochmannscher Musikwerke, AG
Braustrassw 13-19, Leipzig-Gohlis, Germany
The Symphonion Company started business in 1885 and produced the first disc-playing musical box. Its founders were Oscar Paul Lochmann and two partners: Gustave Brachhausen and Paul Riessner. Within two years however, these two men had left to set up the Polyphon company that made similar machines in competition to the original firm. In 1889 the Symphonion firm became a public limited liability company or Aktiengesellschaft, with stock exchange listed shares. Following the establishment of the Original Musikwerke Paul Lochmann in 1900, the founding Symphonion business continued under the control of Franz Thumen and Hans Kanitz until 1909 when it entered financial difficulties and was restructured, with the name of the business changing to Symphonion-Fabrik AG. Under this name it remained in existence at Schkeuditzer Strasse 13-17b in Gohlis.
The Symphonion is notable for the enormous diversity of types, styles and models produced. No other disc-playing musical box exists in so many varieties. Discs of the same diameter but of differing scales to suit two types of mechanism can be found. The company also pioneered the use of electric motors in disc musical boxes, the first model fitted with an electric motor being advertised in 1900. The company moved into the piano-orchestrion business and made both disc-operated and barrel-playing models, player-pianos and phonographs. Although the latest catalogue recorded by Bowers was published around 1912, it seems that around the outbreak of the First World War, the business moved to Barengasse 14/40, Gera, Thuringia, by which time it was directed by Paul Scheibe and concentrated on phonographs. In 1930 the business was styled Pail Scheibe Symphonion-Musikwerke and was located at 14 Schulerstrasse.
Ord-Hume, Arthur W.J.G. The Musical Box - A Guide for Collectors, Schiffer Publishing Ltd. 1995. p. 302