Antique Music Box Restoration

Porter Music Box Company started its humble beginning with the repairing of antique Music Boxes and has continued to do so for the past 40 years. Please send us photos of your antiques that you may want restored and we will be happy to review your treasures and discuss your needs.

Sincerely,
Dwight G. Porter

Aug 302018
 

Late last summer we started the tremendous job of restoring a 24” Komet upright for a customer.

This was a box that hadn’t played right in sometime.  One of our first discoveries happened when we removed the bedplate from the cabinet.  Someone along the way had decided that the damper rails needed to be replaced with a combination of epoxy, wood and random heights of dampers from several different makes of boxes. With some help from our friends who sent us a rusty damper rail, we were able to design and engineer accurate upper and lower assemblies. See pictures below of before and after.

This is the dampers that were on the komet when it showed up.

The dampers we borrowed to copy (top) and our new manufactured ones(below)

Dampers on rails. Old and new.

Dampers on the bedplate.

We also found that the starwheels were worn and had to be replaced.  The motor also had issues that required us to make new Geneva stop parts to replace the broken and missing parts.  After fixing the motor and going through the bedplate, all parts were cleaned, lacquered and painted.  Then we re-tuned both combs to scale.  We installed the motor and bedplate in the cabinet. Next we built a new sound board from sitka spruce.  The end result is a music box that plays with a rich mellow sound just as it did over 100 years ago.  Proper restoration insures the best results and dependability.

This is the motor and cabinet before cleaning

This is just to show the size of the motor. For reference that is a 6 inch scale being held up.

What was left of the geneva stop.

A cleaned and ready to go motor.

Finished bedplate in cabinet.

Finished cabinet open.

Front of cabinet

Front view of cabinet.

Jul 192018
 

To zoom in on pictures, click on pictures.

This is a very rare Bornand Mermod orchestra music box. It has a drum, set of tuned bells

with castanet and an 18 note reed organ.

 

restored unit with completely rebuilt organ bellows.

Hand engraved tune card made from brass and silver plated

view of the spring barrels and winding mech.

completed unit in its refinished cabinet.

The owner of this music box, purchased it at auction in Paris,

had it shipped home, and then gave it to us for total restoration.

Amazing sound with all instruments synchronized to play together

One cannot measure the satisfaction that comes from doing precise work with

magnificent end results.

Jul 192018
 

To zoom in on a picture, click on picture.

New cabinet made and designed by a company in Italy especially for the Plerodienique movement.

    

                                   

Cabinet design has brass, pewter, and mother of pearl inlay.

                                      

                        

                                          

Knee is inlaid with brass, pewter, and mother of pearl.

It took one week per leg to do the work. The curves and angles were very difficult.

 

oxidized tuning leads, had been improperly soldered and had rusted the underside of the musical comb

combs after rust removal, leads properly installed, comb tuned and new dampers installed

before restoration

before disassembly

before picture of motor

after polishing and plating

before picture of governor

after picture of governor has been re-bushed and plated

 

first play after set up of combs and cylinders

after complete restoration.

beautiful motion shot of the motor assembly.

This rare music box took several months to complete and many thousands of dollars to complete.

The end result was amazing. Another example of restoration by Porter Music Box Company.

The joy on the customers faces when they heard it for the first time, made all the work very worthwhile

Jun 182018
 

At the end of 2017, we saw two automatics in our shop. The real amazing part was that they were both 27 inch Regina’s. Here we see how the second of these boxes started in our shop..


As we normally do, we started with restoring the bedplate. This included replacing the worn dampers, removing the ruts in the combs that were worn in by the starwheels, and re-tuning the combs, so that this box would sing songs beautifully again. We also replaced the pressure rollers as the old ones had signs of wear.

Before

With the bedplate repainted and reset up with the newly polished and tuned combs; we moved on to the motors. Usually we end up replacing the ribbons due to rust or to lengthen the wrap around the pulleys with most ribbon lift changers.  This insures a longer life of the ribbons. This box also had somehow broken a tooth off the lift gear. We had to surgically replace this tooth, so the lift would work right again.

The next part was to clean the motors and regrease the springs. The disc drive pinion on this box further showed that this box had been used a lot and needed to be replaced. At some point,  this box had been worked on and someone had modified the coin-op. We were lucky to have an old coin-op that we could put in

With all the parts out of the box, cleaned, polished and repainted; it was time to reassemble. This is when the fun begins of adjusting all the parts to work  together correctly. The spring barrel that powers the disc drive gear stop slots were not spaced right on the barrel, so we had to shave one to make the disc stop in the right spot.  This enables the discs  to always pick up in the same place each time. We also added fingers to guild the lift fingers to a consistent spot on the tune rack.

This is just part of what we did to make this 27 inch Regina operate correctly and sound beautifully again. As you can see there is a lot of work that goes into such a beautiful and complicated box. Here is the results of our hard work

 

Oct 142015
 

Here is wonderful example of the quality music boxes we get to work on.  As you can see we have done a complete restoration of the beautiful instrument.

We had to rebuild the bellows from scratch and for anyone who is thinking about do it themselves it is major undertaking and even though we have done many  thru the years it takes many hours to do a correct job.  It can’t leak any air once your done or it just won’t have the power to play the music.

The governor on this music box (the governor controls the speed/tempo of the motor) was not original when we got it and we had to make many of the parts (done from pictures of it in its original state).  We had to calculate the proper gearing as it was playing way to fast with what it had and this was another one of those items where years of restoration work pays off as you can make an educated guess of what it needed to be.  It takes all lot of power to operate the music box so having the correct speed on the governor was critical.

This was a wonderful music box to listen to when completed.  With most Organ & Bell boxes these two often over powers the musical combs, but not his one the combs embellish the organ & bells perfectly.  I will admit it took many tries to get this done.

The cabinet was also completely restored by our cabinetmaker in Italy.  The craftsmanship of our cabinetmaker is unmatched.  It is a work of art in it self!

bell drum organ music box

bell drum organ music box

bell drum organ music box

bell drum organ music box

bell drum organ music box

bell drum organ music box

 

 

Jul 292014
 

This music box came from a New England collector and was in good shape.  It is quite rare and it has whistles along with a Triangle and drum to accompany the musical combs.  It was a coin-op and like so many coin-ops it did not have all the parts and so we had to figure out what was missing and manufacture those parts in our tool shop.

We rebuilt the bellows and all the whistles, which is really an undertaking in itself.

Another great job done and a Very Happy Customer!

 

Jul 292014
 

Orphenion Restoration 2014,

What a project we under took here!  It came from the Mid West and was in pretty tough shape and the owner really wants it done correctly as it appears someone had done work on it at one time and did not stay with the original.

The first thing we found were some very bad dampers (see pictures) and as nobody has these we had to make our own and with some help from our friends in Texas, we came up with a solution and made a whole new set that was from the same model but a bit different then what was in this unit.  All of which were made here in Vermont.

The musical combs were rusted badly the leads were really oxidized and the combs were worn just as bad, so we had to sand the rust and remove oxidized leads out and hone the tips of each tooth and then restore the tuning from scratch.  When you do this it also changes how the combs are set up on the bedplate so more man hours!

It was a coin-op but did not have all the parts so we had to use pictures from the Bower’s book of Music boxes (our music box bible).  Many of the parts we hand made and we learned more as went on on how this unit worked.

There are a lot parts on this music box as you can see from the pictures and it was certainly an adventure working on this unit and the final out come was terrific.

 

Apr 262013
 

So this is how the story goes, I get a call one day from a lady who has a Christmas tree stand that needs repair and wonders if we can help.  I assure her we can as we had just finished one a month or so a go.   She then goes on to say that her father had taken it during World War II when they invaded  Adolf Hitler retreat “The Eagles Nest”.   Well now she had my imagination and I said that on our next trip out to the Mid-West we would stop by and pick it up.

So we meet this lady and she show us this banged upped  Christmas tree stand that she said that was  her fathers that he took from Hitler’s Eagle’s Nest and she had other items that were most certainly from Hitler’s home (somewhere).  So we can not confirm that this item is from the “Eagles Nest” but it does make a great story.

Her father carried the stand from Germany to America in his back pack and it certain shows as it is all dented up.

Ron started cleaning it before I could get a good picture of just how dirty it was but we were able to get some good shots so you can see all the work we had to do.  The combs had a lot of damage to the leads and they needed a lot of cleaning to bring them back to a reasonable looking shape.  With all this cleaning of the combs and leads we had to restore the tuning and since this is Dwight’s specialty he had no problem with that and they sound beautiful again.

As you can see in the pictures there is only one motor and two separate musical units.  The one motor plays both instruments by moving a pinion gear from one unit to the other, and since it is all mounted on wood it is quite tricky to get them in perfect sync.  Since we have worked on several of these we have some jigs to help us with this process and it is all working perfectly now.  The cup that holds tree is not with the stand and we are not sure if it ever was.

I have spoken with the family and they are all excited to hear there father treasure once again, she was almost in tears over phone and it will be fun to see them again when we delivery it.

It is a wonderful gift that we have to give the world and we are forever grateful to all of customer who entrust us with their family treasures and for inviting us in to there lives, we are very blessed.

Sincerely,

Jim Sault

Porter Music Box Co April 26, 2013

 

 

Mar 062013
 

We have been working on very unique Symphonion with a clock. It came to us with no start stop mechanism and with some help from friends we did get a picture of another one that is located in Texas! (Thanks Allen) and with those two pictures we were able to recreate it with all new parts that we were able to make in our tool shop.

We also built soundboards for this cabinet, as everything was ether broken of missing.

What makes this one unique is how it is powered. It has massive weight that measure 12 ½ long x 5 ½ wide x 3 ½ thick and weighs about 75 pounds. It connects to the winding arbor by a metal ribbon and when fully wound it will play for about 15 to 20 minutes.

The clock turns the music box on every second hour and can be turned off at night.

This just another example of what projects we can tackle here at Porter Music Box Company.