François Epars, L`Auberson
(1812 –1829)

“François-Emanuel  Epars´, citizen of Penthaz, establishment in Sainte-Croix at the beginning of the nineteenth century, was one of the forerunners of the music box in the Vaud Jura. He was part of the movement which troubled Sainte-Croix between 1807 und 1810 and which encouraged many craftsmen to come and learn different watchmaking techniques. In November 1808, he took on Mathias Hengler, a watchmaker from Munich, who specialized in dial making.”

“In 1812, together with am man named Boudry, François Epars invented something quite remarkable. He presented his invention to the Legislative Council of the Canton of Vaud, in the hope of receiving the necessary encouragment to go into production. It was a musical cartel for clocks, but the term cartel was henceforth to designate a large cylinder box.”

“Epars and Boudry, mechanics in Sainte-Croix, went to Lausanne to register their paper hoping that the authorities ‘will be grateful that they have used their talents not to imitate foreign artists but to invent or create a mechanism which had not previously been thought ot. Even though it is of simple construction, it proves that the principles, on the basis of which it is established, are correct.””

“Its harmonious effects, combined with the possibility of placing it in the bottom of a clock without in any way modifying its functions or operation, must invite recognition as an invention which is as valuable as it is rare and charming. In fact, there is nothing quite as pleasant for an amateur of music, a man who loves and cherishes art, as a clock which can be adapted, thanks to this ingenious mechanism, to all types of watches and clocks, plays a tune before striking the hour, a different one the following hour and yet another one after that.”

“It is furthermore pleasant because the different tunes change by themselves, repeat themselves, stop or fall silent and, in addition, there is no need to rewind the mechanism more than once a week, like a clock. Another significant advantage of this system is its solid construction and it lasts for a very long time without deterioration.” (ACV K XII F1)

“Certified by Justice of the Peace Bornand, this invention fascinated the members of the Legslative Council , but not sufficiently to incite them to give the required support.”

“Far from being discouraged, François Epars continued producing music boxes, in cooperation with local craftsmen such as Samuel Margot, who supplied combs and lent him money now and then.”

“In 1829, he was still in Sainte-Croix, but cannot be located after that date.”

Jean Claude Piguet konnte keine gemarkte Spieldosen dieses Herstellers finden.

(Piguet 2004, S. 217-218, TMB 18, 5, 1998, p. 136, Nr. 12; Bellamy, Music Makers of Switzerland, (2015), p. 6)