Edmond Fornachon ~1850 – ~before 1888
La Mothe, Switzerland. Edmond Fornachon was one of the first to apply himself to redesigning the cylinder musical box to speed production He was granted British Patent No. 6962, dated 24 May 1886, for methods of improving production and lowering costs. His patents shows cylinder arbors cast integrally with the bedplate and the cylinders arranged for easy exchange.
Musical boxes to his design were produced by Mermod Frères. An eight-air cylinder movement has been seen with the name E. Fornachon stamped on the rear end of the comb face. Around the middle of the last century, Messrs Fornachon were watch merchants in Neuchatel and were cousins of Breguet. (Ord-Hume, Musical Boxes, p. 304)
Fornachon as patentee; Fornachon, Edmond, MaMothe (near Yverdun), Switzerland. U. S. Patent 362,080, May 1, 1888. Belgium, 73,117, May 14, 1886. France, 176,207, May 18, 1886. England, 6,962 May 24, 1886. Germany, 41,807, May 31, 1886. (Mosoriak p. 81)
La Mothe ist eine kleine Ortschaft im Kanton Waadt, östlich von St. Croix, in der Luftlinie auf halbem Weg zum Neuenstädter See.
“Descended from a family of watch dealers established in Neuchȃtel in the middle of the eighteenth century, Edmond Fornachon first appeared in the region of Sainte-Croix towards 1850. At the time he made bedplates for Sallaz & Oboussier. He was owner of the mill and sawyard of La Vilette, on the river Arnon, but had set up in Vuguelles-La-Mothe, at the foot of the mountains, some ten kilometers from Sainte-Croix. He made tools for the production of music boxes, as is shown in the following advertisement published in the Feuille d´avis de Sainte-Croix on 23rd June 1860: ‘For sale two music box drilling tools of all sizes, ready in a fortnight, guaranteed to be precise; contact Ed. Formachon in La Mothe, who also makes all tools related to watchmaking and music box manufacture.’”
“Edmond Fornachon was a member of the SIC (Société industrielle et commerciale) where he was known as a manufacturer of blanks. However, it appeared that in January 1879, he launched the production of complete music boxes because in the local press he was repeatedly looking for a good assembler. Only one box bearing his trade name has been identified. It played eight tunes and was serial number 7660. He was one of the first inventors who tried to find a solution to the problem related to the transition from small scale to industrial production of music boxes. His methods, some of which were patented, were applied by Mermod Frères.”
“Edmond Fornachon died before 1888: at that time his company, which employed eight workers, went under the name ‘successors to Fornachon‘. Some ten years later, when the music box industry slowed down and the foreigner industry made its appearance, his property was transformed into a boarding house.”
(Piguet 2004, S. 218)