FAQ - Frequently Asked Question
Music Boxes & Musical Mechanisms
The History of Music Boxes
Musical Movements in Music Boxes
Music Box Color Chart
Music Box Inlays
Customizing a Music Box
Your Own Custom Tune
Care of Music Boxes
Music Box Repair Service
The History of Music Boxes:
The origin of music boxes can be traced back to 1796, to Antoine Favre, the watchmaker from Geneva, who fathered nearly two centuries of mechanical dreams. At first merely a gadget incorporated in watches, perfume bottles, pendants, etc., the musical movement was the glory of Sainte-Croix during the second half of the 19th century. At the time this industrial activity represented 10% of the total volume of Swiss exports and was a source of delight to the high and mighty of this world, from Europe to China.
Edison and his phonograph, the first World War, as well as the crisis of 1929, hit the music box industry very badly, so much so that it nearly disappeared. After the second World War, thanks to the American army stationed in Europe, Swiss music boxes were given a new lease on life. The Music House offers a complete range of musical movements.
Basic movements you are likely to find.:
1.12 (1 tune, 12 notes)
1.18 (1 tune, 18 notes)
1.22 (1 tune, 22 notes)
These tunes play about 8 bars of music in 4/4 time lasting three minutes or so when fully wound. All tunes repeat after the cylinder has made one full revolution.
1.28 (28 notes, 1 tune)
2.28 (28 notes, 2 tunes) older Swiss Mechanisms
1.30 (30 notes, 1 tune) Asian only
1.36 (36 notes, 1 tunes) Swiss
2.36 (36 notes, 2 tunes) Swiss
1.50 (1 Tune 50 notes) New Asian and (older Swiss)
3.50 (50 notes, 3 tunes) Olser Swiss and Asian
3.72 (72 notes, 3 tunes) Swiss and Asian
3.100 (100notes 3 tunes) Asian
3.144 (144-notes, 3 tunes)
60 note, 4 tunes
144 note, 4 tunes
50 note, 5 cylinders, 10 tunes
72 note, 5 cylinders, 15 tunes
144 note, 5 cylinders, 20 tunes
17 note, 1 tune
144 note,4 tunes for the special drum and bells movement
Disc movements: This invention dates back to the end of the 19th century and heralded the advent of the phonograph. The disc movements are very easy to use and allow the collector to build up a library of tunes. This new type of musical movement led to the first real crisis among manufacturers of cylinder movements. Today quite a number of American and Japanese collectors share a passion for this specific type of mechanical musical instrument.
30 note, 4.1/2"
41 note, 11"
Musical Movements and Available Tunes
Example: 1.18 represents 1 tune played by an 18 note movement. To select a specific tune, please see the tune list for 1.18 movements. The Tune List is a separate document from our Music Box section.
Some of the music boxes are available with a choice of movement size. For example: 1.18 or 1.36
In some cases an item is supplied with a fixed tune or with a restricted set of tunes.
We have listed some "suggested tunes" for some specific theme boxes, such as the golf inlay boxes, but if you see, " select your tune" you may select any tune from the main tune list.
These days most of our boxes, unless otherwise noted are priced with an Asian movement. The Swiss movements are more expensive. We always try to fill our customers' requests with the Sankyo (Japanese) movements but sometimes the tune is only available as a Swiss mechanism. Should that be the case we will notify you .
Music Box Color Chart
NO: Burl walnut
Inlay Pattern Chart
Inlay Pattems and other codes
AN: Anchor inlay
Absence of "O" at end of inlay code indicates a high gloss finish.
Customizing a Music Box: Select a music box and select a tune from our tune list in our Music Box Department and we'll put them together (some music boxes are not suitable for change). Initials, names or inscriptions cans be engraved on small brass plates and applied to the box .
Your Own Custom Tune: We can custom produce your own tune or a tune that is not on any of our tune lists (though copyright/permission must be obtained) You will have several options. We've tried to cover everything on our Custom Page. To learn more, click on this link:http://www.musichouseshop.com/store/CustomMusicBoxes.html Feel free to call us if you have any questions.
Care of Music Boxes: Music boxes are precious objects which have taken weeks and sometimes months of painstaking labor to create. Played and treated gently and given a bit of care, they will delight your children and grandchildren forever and become a true family hierloom.
When you wind the movement, stop as soon as you feel the slightest resistance, never force it. Protect the movement from dust by keeping the box closed or by keeping the protective glass cover lowered as much as possible. Never expose your box to sunlight or extreme temperatures. In hot and humid countries, keep your box closed and in an air-conditioned room. Do not touch the movement; however, if it should be touched in error, take care to remove the fingerprints immediately using a lint free cloth. Be sure to play it from time to time. . Contact us for further information.
Music Box Restoration: Skilled technicians are available to repair your music box. Most repairs are handled here, on the premises. Sometimes we can talk you through the problem. Don't hesitate to contact us with your problem.
If you would like to hear other soundbites select from the following
36 note Soundbite Library
18 note Soundbite Library
Other Resources for Music Box Information
Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia - Musical Box
Description and history of music boxes
Musical Box Society
The Musical Box Society International is a non-profit organization dedicated to the enjoyment, study and preservation of all automatic musical instruments.
If you're looking to purchase a music box or music box movement/mechanism
(the internal works of a music box) visit
http://www.themusichouse.com/musich/musicboxes.htm or http://www.musichouseshop.com/store/Musicboxes4U.html
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