Die zehn BORNAND-Firmen

Eugène Bornand & Cie, 1846–1887

Emile Bornand-Perrier

Felix Bornand, L´Auberson, 1888–1896

Bornand Frères, St. Croix, 1825–1904

Isaac Bornand

Mermod et Bornand, St. Croix, 1884–1893

Léon Bornand, St. Croix, 1893–1898

Virgile Bornand, St. Croix, 1883–1896

Justin Bornand-Hössli, St. Croix, 1883–1901

Ami Bornand-Meylan, St. Croix, 1870–1892

Nach den Vornamen der diversen Träger des Namens Bornands gereiht

Adrian Bornand I.

Adrian Bornand II., son of Adrian Bornand (I)

Adalbert Bornand (see Bornand Frères depuis 1895)

Alfred Bornand (see Bornand Frères, managing director depuis 1895)

Ami Bornand-Meylan (son of Felix und grandson of Joseph Bornand)

Emile Bornand (see Bornand Frères)

Eugène Bornand & Cie, 1846–1887

Felix Bornand, 1888–1896

Felix Bornand (son of Joseph and father of Ami B.)

Bornand, G. A., agent

Isaac Bornad, (grandfather of Léon and father of Justin B.)

Joseph Bornand (grandfather of Ami and father von Felix)

Joseph Bornand, nephew of Adrian Bornand (I)

Justin Bornand-Hössli, 1883–1901 (son of Isaac and father of Léon)

L. Bornand, Menton

Léon Bornand, 1893–1898 (grandson of Isaac and son of Justin

Ruth Bornand

Samuel Bornand (see Bornand Frères depuis 1895)

Virgile Bornand, 1883–1896

Adrian Bornand I.

Adrifan Bornand Ste-Croix, c. 1860. A musical-box maker.

His nephew, Joseph Bornand, was a comb tuner who went to America with other Swiss mechanics with Messrs Paillard when they opened a factory in New York in 1883.

His son, Adrian (the second) (Adrian II.) remained in New York as a musical-box repairer up until the time of his death in 1954.

Bornand Music Box Company
139 Fourth Avenue, Pelham, New York, USA. Formed by Adrian Bornand, the company offered repairing services if musical boxes. Head of the company today is Mrs. Ruth Bornand and there is a second branch of the company in California. Also markets gramophone records of musical boxes and musical-box literature.


Eugène Bornand & Cie, 1846 – 1887

Ste-Croix, Switzerland. Maker of good-quality musical boxes, c. 1850. The bedplate of a key-wound musical box which has been seen is stamped `Eug.e Bornand & C.ie´.

“The Eugène Bornand-Coleur company, created on 1st June 1846, was one oft he first to manufacture complete watches in the Sainte-Croix. They specialized in finished watches and comlicated pieces, some of which contained a musical movement. In 1849, Eugène Bornand made a large box containing a musical movement with a clock on top, which was signed Eugene Bornand & Cie. Simultaneously, he made watches with a cylinder musical movement.”

“The Bornand company participated in numerous national and international exhibitions, always in the watch manufacturer category, even though some of ist products contained musical movements. They were presented in Paris in 1855, and 1867, and in Bern in 1857.”

“The Eugène Bornand comptoir ceased all activity on 30th July 1887.”
(Piguet 2004, S. 189-199)



Emile Bornand-Perrier,
manufacturer since 1883 until ~1909, †1935

Musical-box manufacturer in Auberson until ~ 1909.

Teilnehmer bei der Nationalen Ausstellung in Zürich 1883:

“At the end of the 1870s, to replace the declining watchmaking industry, a number of workshops set up in Saint-Croix, and in L´Auberson, for the manufacture of music boxes. Together with three other établisseurs from L´Auberson and some from Sainte-Croix, Emile Bornand-Perrier tried his luck at the National Exhibition in 1883.”

“In Zurich, he exhibited [in 1883] his own special music boxes with one to eight tunes. These no doubt brought him a certain measure of success, but no specific distinction. He did not exhibit again until 1901, in Vevey, where he was part of the manufacturers´ group from L'Auberson. They were awarded a gold medal.”

Emile Bornand-Perrier, whose company was officially registered after 1883, adhered to an general movement at the end of the century which gave considerable thought to ways and means of fighting competition from disc boxes, and counteracting falling sales prices for music boxes. He joined the Sociéte industrielle et commerciale in 1898 and became a member of the Committee of The Music Bos Manufacturers´ Trade Union, which was created that year to keep up prices.

But he also belonged to the minority group of établisseurs from L´Auberson who, early in 1902, [as Emile Bornand-Wenger], were against the renewal of the workers´ trade union convention and who finally surrendered to popular pressure.”

“[...] Philippe Cuendet [...] took over the production and all the arrangements of the Emile Bornand-Wenger company, which was set up in Geneva in 1902.”

“His workshop was situated at Grand-Rue 114 where he employed seven people in 1904, as well as many home workers. He concentrated on the production of small music boxes and was part of the dozen or so local manufacturers who survived the crisis at the beginning of the century. He continued production after the war but his company closed down in 1935, which was also the year he died.”
(Piguet, S. 201-202)

Felix Bornand, L´Auberson, 1888 – 1896

“On 11th December 1889, Félix Bornand, in L´Auberson, registered his private company as manufactur of musical pieces of all kind.”

“‘Nothing more is known about this company, which was struck off the register on 22nd June 1896, following the withdrawal of the owner.” (Piguet, 2004, S. 199, TMB 18, 5, 1998, p. 136–137, Nr. 3

Jean Claude Piguet konnte keine gemarkte Spieldosen dieses Herstellers finden.

Bellamy, Music Makers of Switzerland, (2015), p. 6

Bornand Frères, (Alfred and Emile B., ab 1895: Adalbert and Samuel B., Alfred B. als managing director), St. Croix, 1825 – 1904

Rue Centrale 17 and rue Neuve 6, Ste-Croix. Manufacturers of musical boxes and mechanisms, since 1825 (Mosoriak p. 69

“Bornand Frères, which is said to have been created in 1825, was one of the largest companies in the area. Samuel Bornand and his brothers went to Bern in 1857 for the Third National Exhibition. At the time, they made musical snuffboxes, called Chinese boxes, but especially more complicated pieces, e.g. four cartels ordered by the Empress of china at the end of the century, and special articles like flute and cello music boxes and singing birds. The more elaborate boxes were real masterpieces of art and good taste, worth many thousands of francs.”

“In 1895, Alfred and Emile Bornand, who employed five people in the Rue Centrale 17 and the Rue Neuve 6 in Sainte-Croix, decided to retire in favor of their successors. Alfred, who had a lot of experience in his trade, remained managing director but the business was taken over by Adalbert and Samuel Bornand.”

“Bornand Frères organized their production along traditional principles based on the home industry. One way or another, they kept going, resisting competition from the German disc boxes and bringing out several models of the ‘new type’ boxes at excessively low prices, for which they were awarded a diploma of honor with gold medal at the Exhibition internationale of Bordeaux in 1897.

They were exceptionally dynamic and proves it by participating in the Geneva exhibition of 1896, in Brussels the following year and in Vevey in 1901, despite the cost involved.”

“In Geneva their nonstop playing boxes received much attention. It was a system of their own design, for example, the box called Nationale created for the occasion, in which the music activated twenty-two automata in the costumes oft he twenty-two Swiss cantons. It worked twenty-cent coins and earned them a silver medal.”

“On the basis of the success obtained by their musical automata in 1894, they decided to develop this sector and to specialize. They also started making disc-playing boxes (using the pinless disc system) and their production, covering the entire music box range, earned them a gold medal in Brussels. The official report emphasized the ‘quality of their special articles, such as flute and chello boxes, singing birds, etc. wide choice of tunes (15,000) from all countries and of all kinds allows the Bornand brothers to satisfy customers´ requirements.’ The press wrote about the enthusiasm of the public for the automata of Bornand Frères who once again created an extraordinary piece for the occasion which executes a truly stupendous gymnastic exercise.” (FAS 19th June 1897)

“On 30th July 1904, when their activities came to an end, Bornand Frères still employed nine people. They had manufactured various types of music boxes, from the simple to the most complicated, and given them aa1an unusual hallmark of sonority and precision, with select arrangements, carefully assembled, well-finished boxes of excellent taste.” (Le pays horloger).

“ Like so many other, however, they could do nothing against the long drawn-out decline of the large music boxes in the 1890s.”
(Piguet, S. 199-200, TMB 18, 5, 1998, p. 136–137, Nr. 4)

G. A. Bornand

Agent in London for Thorens, c. 1893

Isaac Bornand, dann Sohn Henri-Marius Bornand (1831 – 1861)

“Isaac Bornand was one of the first music box établisseurs in Sainte-Croix. Registered in 1831 as a music box trader, he had problably started his operation long before.”

“One of his sons, Henri-Marius, continued the watchmaking activity until his death in 1861.”
(Piguet, S. 200)

Mermod et Bornand, St. Croix, 1884 – 1893

“On 26th April 1893, Georges Mermod left the Mermod & Bornand company and Léon Bornand (grandson of Isaac and son of Justin) carried on under his own name.”

(TMB 18, 5, 1998, p. 136–137, Nr. 5, Piguet 2004, p. 200; Bellamy, Music Makers of Switzerland, (2015), p. 6

Léon Bornand, St. Croix, 1893 – 1898

“On 26th April 1893, Georges Mermod left the Mermod & Bornand company and Léon Bornand (grandson of Isaac and son of Justin) carried on under his own name. He saw the advent of coin-operated automata as a solution to the problems of his time and decided to start manufacturing this type of product.”

“In 1896, together with other manufacturers from Sainte-Croix, he participated in the Exposition Nationale of Geneva where he introduced himself as a specialist in automated music boxes, manufacturer of top quality pieces with bells, drums and castanets. The public showed great interest in his Interlaken-style carved cabinet with dancing dolls, and also in singing birds, snuffboxes, chalets and other musical objects. The jury found his products of sufficient interest to award him a bronze medal.”

“Unfortunately this encouragement did not save Léon Bornand´s business. On 20th August 1898, he went bankrupt.”
(Piguet 2004, p. 200, TMB 18, 5, 1998, p. 136–137, Nr. 6; Bellamy, Music Makers of Switzerland, (2015), p. 6)

Virgile Bornand, St. Croix, 1883 – 1896

Virgile Bornand registered a privat company in Sainte-Croix under the designation factory of music boxes of all types in 1883, even though he started up years earlier, as his participation in the International Tool Exhibition in Geneva in 1880 proved. The term ‘factory’ had to be interpreted as being an establishment occupying less than five people in the workshop and a higher number at home.

“The large music boxes were no longer selling, and as he did not have the tools or the capital to start manufacturing disc boxes, Virgile Bornand gave up this activity on 22nd June 1896.”
(Piguet, 2004, S. 200, TMB 18, 5, 1998, p. 136–137, Nr. 7; Bellamy, Music Makers of Switzerland, (2015), p. 6)

Justin Bornand-Hössli, St. Croix, 1883 – 1901

“Like so many other entrepreneurs from Sainte-Croix, Justin Bornand-Hössli embarked on the music box adventure and was very active during the prosperous years.”

“Having decided to make music boxes, he proceeded to register his company in 1883 and opened up his establishment at the lower end of the Rue du Tyol, on the square, where he had a large sign to put up.”

“Justin Bornand-Hössli kept up his activities till the end of the century but nothing is known of his products. He died on 4th February 1901, at the age of 48’”

(Piguet, S. 201, TMB 18, 5, 1998, p. 136–137, Nr. 8; Bellamy, Music Makers of Switzerland, (2015), p. 6)

Jean Claude Piguet konnte keine gemarkte Spieldosen dieses Herstellers finden.

Joseph Bornand, father if Félix Bornand, grandfather of Ami Bornand-Meylan

“[...], Joseph Bornand accepted to stand surety for the assembler Daniel Henry Jeanneret. He [Joseph Bornand] bought gear work assemblies as well as music box bedplates. In the 1870s, he and his son Félix Bornand, as well as his grandson Ami Bornand-Meylan, took an interest in music boxes.”

L. Bornand

4 ave. Victor-Emmanuel, Menton, Alpes-Maritimes, France. Name on singing-bird box in the C. de Vere Green collection.

Ami Bornand-Meylan, St. Croix, 1870 – 1892

“[...], Joseph Bornand accepted to stand surety for the assembler Daniel Henry Jeanneret. He [Joseph Bornand] bought gear work assemblies as well as music box bedplates. In the 1870s, he and his son Félix Bornand, as well as his grandson Ami Bornand-Meylan, took an interest in music boxes.”

“Ami Bornand-Meylan showed some of the music boxes he made at the Exposition Universelle of Paris in 1878, where he obtained an honorable mention for the following products:
- a music box with six tunes and organocleid harp;
- a music box with eight drums, bells and castanets;
- a music box with twelve tunes and visible alarm clock on the front of the box, which played a tune on the hour;
- two boxes with four tunes and piccoloharp.

His donations to the hospital lottery give a clear idea of Ami Bornand-Melan´s products. He gave a four-tune five-inch music box estimated at forty-five francs, whereas Félix Bornand donated a two-tune music box with inlay worth twelve francs.”

“Ami Bornand-Meylan carried on his activities after his father´s death on 5th August 1880. He registered officially in 1883 and then decides to give up on 29th January 1892, when the music box industry had serious problems.”

(Piguet 2004, S. 201, TMB 18, 5, 1998, p. 136–137, Nr. 9; Bellamy, Music Makers of Switzerland, (2015), p. 6)

Spielwerke / music boxes

Bitte hier klicken / Please, click here