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MMD > Archives > September 2002 > 2002.09.20 > 01Prev  Next

Music Box Size vs. Movement Size
By Beatrice Robertson

In answer to Tim Kramer's question about cylinder music box size,
around 1900, music box makers put very small movements in much larger
boxes to make them look more important.  The excuse was, "It increases
the tone quality."  That is possibly so, but these boxes generally have
too few teeth to be very attractive musically.

Then there is the "three bell nasty" boxes -- a term coined by a well
known musical box collector for the late (1890 and after) boxes with
three bells, often not tuned to anything, which were added to make the
box look more important.  Both of these types of boxes are better left
to the antique dealers.

On the other end of the spectrum, the very early music box movements
(especially snuff box movements) were frequently put into boxes that
were a little too _small_ for them, and therefore, bits of the bottom
and sides of the boxes had to be whittled or ground out to make them
fit.  Interesting progression of assembly techniques.

Speaking of cases for music boxes, we recently have been working
on some small 1895 Paillard boxes and noticed some interesting case
economy alterations.  In two boxes with identical movements, built
perhaps a year or two apart, the following alterations were made:

1. The later box is a bit smaller both length and width.
2. The earlier box is made with 5/16 inch sides and the
later box has 3/16 inch sides.
3. The curved skirt around the bottom of the early box was
eliminated for a straight edge in the later.

Just minor changes, but in the volume made, probably a significant
difference in cost.  An interesting oddity about these two boxes is
that the pictures on the top are both vertical instead of the far
more common horizontal graphics.

Our thanks to Robbie and Jody for all the work they do to keep MMD
appearing each day. It is wonderful to be able to keep in touch with
the discussion whether we are in Florida or in the Netherlands.

Beatrice Robertson and Luuk Goldhoorn

(Message sent Fri 20 Sep 2002, 14:09:35 GMT, from time zone GMT-0400.)

Key Words in Subject:  Box, Movement, Music, Size, vs

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