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MMD > Archives > February 2016 > 2016.02.10 > 03Prev  Next

Seek Parts for Cylinder Music Box Movement
By Don Caine

Hi Steve,  You've got the terminology right.  Unfortunately, you
are seeking two small part (that are relatively inexpensive could
you find them) for an antique (probably Swiss) mechanical musical
mechanism from an unknown maker.

That's tantamount to asking an auto parts shop for a hub cap and
a brake shoe for a antique car without giving them the make, model,
engine size or year of manufacture -- the proverbial search for
a needle in a series of haystacks, without a magnet!

It just isn't financially worth their while to elicit all that
information and then start searching for those parts.  In all
probability, they are going to have to cannibalize the parts from
another mechanism of a similar maker and vintage (from their junk
pile) and then modify those to fit your specific movement.  Or,
the replacement parts will have to be made from scratch.

Non-functioning musical mechanisms are very much like cars that
won't start.  The lights won't come on so we 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 we see that the gas gauge
reads empty, so we add gas.  But it still doesn't start, so we start
looking at other items that might cause the car not to work.  Even
after we find out what the problem(s) were and get the car started, we
may then find that it runs very rough, or it doesn't sound very good.
Then we need to determine what other adjustments to different
components are needed and advise what those might cost.

For your information: The Geneva stop, like a hub cap, really isn't a
necessary part for the mechanism to operate properly.  Its design and
function was to prevent the main spring from being wound up too far
(breaking the spring), or unwound too much (allowing the spring to come
off the central winding arbor).  Contemporary Swiss mechanisms no
longer incorporate this accessory.

The ratcheted spring on the base of the winding arbor, like a brake
shoe on a car, is designed to allow the spring to be wound tightly
while the spring was being restrained by the governor (speed
regulator).  Swiss makers used similar ratchet springs, but they were
often different in their design and dimensions, being make and model
specific to their construction.  They are not directly interchangeable
from maker to maker.

Note too that, in addition to the time needed to search for the parts,
the restoration of this movement is likely to be highly labor intensive
(expensive) because replacing the ratcheted winding spring requires a
total disassembly of the winding arbor and gear assembly.

Someone may be able to assist you, (possibly me).  However, the reality
of the situation is that, whoever that might be, will want/need you to
send them the complete mechanism for restoration in order to get the
exact dimensions (specifications) of the parts and fit them onto the
mechanism.  (Sending just the spring housing and winding arbor assembly
is not advisable because there are likely to be other problems with the
mechanism that won't become apparent until the mainspring and governor
assemblies are functioning.)

If you are willing to invest a minimum of $150.00 plus parts and
postage (and probably more) into this mechanism, please feel free to
send it to me for a more detailed assessment and repair cost estimate.

We charge a $45.00 bench fee for evaluation and estimate to repair.
If you choose not to have the suggested repairs made, we will be
pleased to return it to you, and your only financial responsibility
would be the $45.00 fee plus the return packaging, shipping and
insurance charges.  (If the estimate to repair is approved, the $45.00
bench fee is waived and the evaluation time is simply considered as
part of the first hour's labor fee.)

Our minimum labor fee is $90.00 for the first hour, or part thereof.
Additional time beyond the first hour is also billable at $90.00 per
hour but in 10 minute ($15.00) increments, plus the cost of replacement
parts and the return shipping, handling and insurance costs.

Most sincerely,

Don Caine - Proprietor, The Music Box Repair Center Unlimited
Lomita, California [delete ".geentroep" to reply]

(Message sent Wed 10 Feb 2016, 19:43:51 GMT, from time zone GMT-0500.)

Key Words in Subject:  Box, Cylinder, Movement, Music, Parts, Seek

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