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MMD > Archives > June 2010 > 2010.06.06 > 02Prev  Next

Small Breitler Musical Box Movement
By Don Caine

Hi Linda,  Non-functioning musical mechanisms are very much like a car
that won't start.  The lights won't come on so you install a new battery.
Now the lights come on but the car still won't start.  However, now
that the electrical system has been restored you see that the gas gauge
reads empty, so you add gas.  But it still doesn't start, so you start
looking at other items that might cause the car not to work.

Even after you find out what the problem(s) were and get the car
started, you may then find that it runs very rough, or it doesn't sound
very good.  Then you need to decide about other adjustments to different
components and what those might cost.

Breitler SA in Sainte-Croix, Switzerland, was a small quality maker
of musical mechanisms starting in the 1930s but they have been out of
business for more than 25 years.  Because the music box industry was
a cottage industry for the most part, many of the parts, even from
different makers, are very similar and can be adjusted or modified as
replacements.  As long as the original musical cylinder and comb are
intact, with no missing teeth on the musical comb, we should be able
to repair or replace any of the other mechanical parts and get your
grandmother's music box playing again.

The drawback in restoring small musical movements is that the labor
cost, usually in excess of $100, far exceeds the commercial or
intrinsic value of the music box and mechanism and that deters people
from having them repaired.  In this case you are dealing with a
sentimental attachment to a family heirloom and its value to you is
incalculable or priceless.

If investing $100 or $150 or more into restoring the mechanism is
within your financial comfort zone, please send me some photos of the
musical mechanism, along with a description of what the malfunction
seems to be and your contact information.  I'll then call or email you
to discuss what the problems appear to be and the guesstimated repair
costs associated with that diagnosis.

Most sincerely,
Don Caine - Proprietor
The Music Box Repair Shop Unlimited
Lomita, California
tel.: 1-310-534-1557 

(Message sent Sun 6 Jun 2010, 16:30:01 GMT, from time zone GMT-0400.)

Key Words in Subject:  Box, Breitler, Movement, Musical, Small

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