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Archive for the Restoration Category

What if a mechanical instrument is unrestored or not playing?

For all  types of automatic musical instruments from disc music boxes to automata to orchestrions to calliopes, there are qualified restorers.  E-mail me or call me if you have questions regarding restorers.  You CAN also restore many items yourself!  Do not be intimidated.  For the most part you will find restoration work to be relaxing, enjoyable, and rewarding!    Many restoration projects are straight forward.  There are restoration books available that can help.  It also helps if you are mechanically intuitive and have basic wood working tools and metal working tools.   If you run into a complicated component, this can be sent to a professional restorer.   There is nothing like the thrill of “turning it on” for the first time!

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What qualifies you to be an expert on mechanical music?

For over 30 years I have been actively involved in all aspects of mechanical music as a dealer, restorer, historian, lecturer, and consultant.  I maintain a large respected archive for my business.  I have written articles for the Journal of the Musical Box Society International and have served on their publication committee.  I have written e-articles for MMD, the Mechanical Music Digest with an eye toward promoting the exposure and sale of mechanical music.  I have presented many lectures and workshops on various mechanical music topics to the annual meetings of the Musical Box Society International, MBSI; the Automatic Musical Instrument Collector’s Association, AMICA; the Mid-America Chapter of the MBSI, and the National Carousel Association, NCA.  I have supplied instruments and music boxes to countless enthusiasts and have helped build some of the largest displays of mechanical music in the world.   I have helped form international museum collections.  I have been a consultant to corporations that use mechanical music such as the House on the Rock, the Marriott Corporation and  the Six Flags Corporation.

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The COAA Band Organ Rally in St. Joseph, Michigan was a tremendous success! People attended from all over the Midwest. 30 Band Organs came despite the severe storms that hit the area several days earlier.

Band Organs, Band Organs, Band Organs! There has been a lot of excitement recently over band organs! They have been a hot seller! Why? BECAUSE THEY ARE FUN! And there are alot of events called Band Organ Rallies that you can take them to! On top of that you can rent them out and make money while you are having fun! Check out the fine restored Wurlitzer 146A that was just listed on the Items For Sale page! How many of you have heard a Kalliope disc music box? The Kalliope firm built fine disc music boxes in Leipzig, Germany. In their later years, around the turn of the century, they redesigned their music boxes to feature short bedplate mechanisms which allowed the case of the music box to act like a soundboard. The Kalliope discs featured great musical arrangements! One of these recently was found in Germany. It is a Style 107D playing 45 cm (17 3/4″) discs which is the largest and most deluxe table top Kalliope disc music box. I have heard it an it simply sounds GREAT! Other Kalliope disc music boxes will soon be available. If you are interested in learning more about these, contact […]

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The Continual Thrill of Mechanical Music!

I am here to tell you that the novelty, excitement, and enjoyment of mechanical music NEVER wears off! For most enthusiasts the interest lasts a lifetime.  Music machines are not static items, they perform for you.   They combine the arts of fine cabinetry, intriguing mechanism, and music.  A reporter for the Chicago Tribune called Mechanical Music the ULTIMATE interest!  Vintage arcade machines, slot machines, vintage cars, etc. are ENHANCED by adding mechanical music to a display because it gives the display life.  Once a mechanical music machine is restored, the fun begins as each roll, book, or disc becomes a NEW experience which is often educational.  For example if you have been raised on Rock music, your horizons get expanded to Classical music, concert waltzes, cake walks, one steps, fox trots, Ragtime, blues, etc.  And for your friends and guests you can demonstrate the instruments versatility though its library of music.  Also you can enjoy a basic nickelodeon as well as a complex orchestrion from just it musical presentation alone!  Recently carousel owner have rediscovered the fact that the carousel experience is enhanced 100% by adding a band organ!  It is like adding sound to the movie.

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Discover the Hupfeld Phonoliszt Violina – The Ultimate in Automated Violin-Piano Music.

Stop! Before you buy a violin playing music machine, have you ever heard a beautifully restored Hupfeld Phonoliszt Violina? Your answer is probably no. This is especially true for many coin-op collectors. Other violin playing machines are mere novelties when compared to the Phonoliszt Violina. The Hupfeld Violina is known for beautiful and well arranged music. The piano has a much broader range and plays with reproducing piano expression. The violins also express in a very human like way. The horse hair bow (with three thousand horse hairs) spins at various speeds and the violin greets the bow with various intensities as dictated by the rolls. The result is magnificent music! I have these instruments for sale. You don’t have to be an advanced collector to like one of these, you just have to enjoy superb music!

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