Craig Smith's "This Side Up" story makes a good point. Manufacturers
of delicate industrial equipment have solved that problem with a device
called "Tip-N-Tell" or some such name.
It's a plastic "UP" indicator that fastens to the outside of the box,
and it shows clearly which way is up. On its face is a wide piece of
transparent tape that covers a hollow that is half full of little
beads. If the indicator is ever inverted, the beads stick to the upper
portion of the tape, and vividly show that the contents of the box are
Of course, the clever delivery guy who has inverted the box will just
rip off the Tip-N-Tells, but little does he know there is another one
pasted INSIDE the box.
The Tip-N-Tell solution is not exactly appropriate for musical boxes,
however. The assumption with ordinary delicate equipment is that it
can be replaced. For shipment of rare or unique musical boxes, they
should be packed, as Nancy advises, to withstand severe mishandling.
This is an exercise in engineering, in which the experimentation
(including dropping from great heights) should be done on something
other than the real item.
Years ago a high school student shipped several recording accelero-
meters about the country as his science fair project. He dutifully
marked each package "FRAGILE". He had underestimated the abilities
of the U.S. Post Office, though, because most of the instruments
arrived off-scale, and some were even totally destroyed.