British Music Box Society's Registry and Robin Pratt's Resignation
By Beatrice Robertson
I heartily concur with Jim Canavan's comment pertaining to Robin's withdrawal. If we don't like the discussion, it is our own fault for not starting a string in topics more to out personal interest. What I know about MIDI other than very much enjoying the downloaded files which I play while working is even less than I understand about roll reading and piano rebuilding, but I sure have learned a great deal. If I get around and contribute something of interest about music boxes, then I can expect some response about music boxes for a while. My choice.
On the other side of the coin, I spend a fair amount of time with my MBSI jobs, and know the kind of time it takes, and Robin is very busy with his AMICA jobs. I would think that had an influence on his decision also.
Since we haven't had a music box string in some time, I have a suggestion, which I will start. Can we get some stories about a real find (Ralph Schack can start) or about some history of a piece or two in your collections?
This past winter, I purchased a work box (sewing and writing utensils) with an F. Nicole musical movement in it (3 tune, wonderful music.) I bought it sight unseen at the Christie's Auction in London. When it came, I had the wonderful surprise of finding it full of letter, dance cards, pressed flowers and various momentoes of a teenage girl who lived in Cornwall, England. The letters are dated from 1870 to 1895. So I basically have a time capsule of the history of this particular music box. I am copying each paper so I can spend time trying to read the various penmanship. Then I will write an article about it. It also has a presentation plaque on the lid, and a hand written note on the bottom to document 2 other dates in its existence.
Two things were brought to mind by this find. I would like to propose that when we purchase a music box, we document as much as we know about it: where it came from and who owned it if we know. Then write or type it on a small piece of paper and put it inside the box - in a cylinder box, inside the control chamber is a safe place. In a disc box, under the bedplate. Fasten the paper to the box so it doesn't rattle around (Tape works fine), and somewhere down the time line, someone will know a bit more about the travels of their music box. I have been fortunate enough to find a few other boxes with this type of information inside, and it is really welcome. And for those of you who have collections, I encourage you to document them with the British Music Box Society's Registry. The Registrar will return your list with the registry numbers - and almost always, a great deal of additional information about at least some of your boxes. It takes time, but is well worth the effort.
Again in complete agreement with Jim Canavan, thanks, Jody, for all your efforts on this Digest. I look forward to it each day, no matter what the content!
(Message sent Fri 24 May 1996, 11:57:11 GMT, from time zone GMT-0400.)