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MMD > Archives > April 2000 > 2000.04.21 > 02Prev  Next

Replicas of Collectibles
By Stephen Kent Goodman

Mark Yaffe wrote:

> I have a question maybe someone out there can answer for me.  Why,
> when someone today manufactures a mechanical music item -- automata,
> music box, nickelodeon, European orchestrion, etc. -- do they call
> it by the original company's name and model number?

In the case of the Ramey BanjOrchestra, from what I can determine it
is part Encore and part Seeburg parts, and the case is only reminiscent
of an original Engelhardt case.  It in no way attempts to be an exact
replica of an original machine, because none are known to exist.

On the other hand is Bill Edgerton's KT Special replica, which was
an exact duplicate of a Seeburg KT Special, down to the motor.  In the
case of the latter, if a modern creation is an exact duplicate, the
only difference is who made it and when.

There is a gray zone between restoration and reconstruction.

> I assume (maybe incorrectly) that most good restorers have a backlog
> of work to do.  So why are we spending valuable time fixing creations,
> when we could be _restoring_ or saving from rotting original machines.

From my understanding, the restorers are doing both.  And often times
the original rotting machines need full replacement of parts that
don't exist for them; as an example: empty cases.

Lastly, given the declining value of many instruments today, many
collectors are not willing to spend the money required to restore these

Rebuilders need to make a living, so replication of parts and so on
is often required to supplement their income.  A lot of "creations" are
commissioned by people who often can't afford more or want something
different than the original instrument.

Stephen Kent Goodman

(Message sent Fri 21 Apr 2000, 15:53:42 GMT, from time zone GMT-0700.)

Key Words in Subject:  Collectibles, Replicas

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