Hi All, For the past couple of weeks I've been trying to come up with
one word that really explains the present and the future of mechanical
musical instruments. I now believe that word is "novelty".
One of Webster's definitions of the word novelty is "a small, often
cheap, cleverly made article, usually for play or adornment". I think
this definition is appropriate for three reasons.
One, mechanical musical instruments are clever. Or at least they were
when they were first invented. They fascinated people then, they still
fascinate some people today, and they will certainly fascinate some
people in the future.
Two, they are made for "play", or to be 'played'. They were made for
enjoyment and some people will continue to enjoy them for as long as
Three, the finer mechanical musical instruments 'adorn' some of the
finest homes in the World. They are in some of the finest collections
in the World. Some of them are, in fact, works of art.
Regarding the future of these mechanical musical devices, I think it
is wise to keep in mind that they are 'novelties', or as I often put
it "grown men's (and women's) toys". The people who have kept me in
business for the last 30+ years, and the type of people who will keep
me in business until I retire (like that's ever going to happen) have
one trait in common; they love toys. And as long as I can continue to
appeal to that part of their character, I will have loyal customers.
In other words, part of my job as a technician is to make these
If I carry a serious business attitude with me when I walk in the door
of their home, I'm certain to leave with less work than if I walk in
with a pleasant, fun-loving demeanor. My point is that a major part
of the future of these instruments lies in the hands of those of us who
do the work. Not only as it relates to the longevity of the devices,
but also as it relates to how long our customers will continue to
'show off' their 'toys' to other people. For in reality, they will
never be anything more than "novelties". And if a novelty isn't fun
or entertaining, it sits in the corner and collects dust!
(Maybe I should change my slogan from "Keep the Music Rolling" to
"Keep the Fun Rolling"... hmmm)
John A. Tuttle
Brick, NJ, USA