Fig. 201 illustrates part of a cylinder, broken, showing the progress of the 5 operations: a, pointing; b, boring; c, garnishing: d, gumming; e, turning.
The manufacture of a musical box may be divided into two very distinct parts. The first includes all that concerns the mechanical part of a box - that is, wheels, pinions, barrel, spring, fly-wheel, etc, or the "clockwork" of the box. The second concerns more particularly the musical part of the box, viz. putting the desired tunes on the cylinder, tuning the key-board, finishing these two parts and putting them in their proper places, so as to have a playing box. About the first part, it is necessary to say nothing, everything concerning it. having a great resemblance to watches, and especially to clocks. Clocks and watches being universally found, and everywhere easily repaired, the case will be the same with the mechanism of a musical box. As to the second part. For finishing an ordinary musical box, the following processes are necessary:
First - The tunes are pointed on the cylinder. (Previous to this, of course, the choice of tunes is made, with the notes necessary for playing them.) This pointing is effected by an instrument in which the cylinder is placed on its 2 points. A needle on a dial serves to make the cylinder turn, in accordance with the measures of the music (tune), whilst the pointers glide from one end of the cylinder to the other, making small dots on the cylinder in accordance with the notes of the tune.
Third - In each of these holes a steel-tempered peg must be placed, and all forced into the same height above the cylinder. The pegs are long enough to have a part in the inside of the cylinder.
Fourth - The cylinder is partly filled with mastic gum, in order to fasten the steel pegs, and to give to the whole cylinder a certain consistency.
Sixth - The key-board must be turned in accordance with the note put on the cylinder.
Seventh - This key-board must be atml tached by screws to the plate of the musical box.
Eighth - The ends of all the keys must be put in their right place, in respect to height (they must all be on a level), and with regard to the pegs of the cylinder.
Ninth - The key-board in place, each peg of the cylinder must be bent forward, so as to pass directly by the middle of the point of the key corresponding, and more or less bent, so as to allow the key to produce its sound at the right instant; a special instrument with dial and hands is here again necessary.
Tenth - Steel spirals must be put at the end of each key, and bent in the right shape, so as to stop the vibration of the key each time a peg comes to lift it.
In the preceding description, several operations have been intentionally omitted which are of no great consequence for a general comprehension. Before giving further details, it will be necessary to make three preliminary remarks. The first is a precautionary suggestion, that great care should be taken never to take out any part of a box, except the key-board, without ascertaining whether the spring of the barrel is quite run down. It is easily understood that by lifting the keys of the key-board, if, for instance, the flywheel is removed, the spring being partly wound up, the cylinder, not being able to turn without the pegs attached to it, will revolve rapidly, and one of two things must happen, either the steel pegs of the cylinder will give way under the resistance of the key-board, and then break or be bent backwards, or, if the pegs be strong enough to resist, the key-board will be destroyed in pieces. Very often both cylinder and key-board may be broken in this way. Therefore, after having taken out the key-board, ascertain if the spring is at rest, and if not, let the box run down, and for more security, that no strain exists on the spring, lift the ratchet which hinders the spring from running backwards, and unwind it.
The second suggestion is: Before commencing to repair a box, observe at first if the pegs of the cylinder are all bent in the same direction, and if there be a few missing. If this be the case, there is all probability that the box need not be sent to the manufactory for repairs. But, if a certain number of pegs be wanting, or bent in all directions, especially backwards, no hope must be entertained of repairing the box, except at the manufactory itself, where all the particular tools are found necessary for making a musical box entire. In this way much expense may be avoided, and time and annoyance saved.
Thirdly, a very wrong impression is widely spread concerning the repairing of a musical box, which the writer will endeavour to correct. Very often a badly damaged key-board is alone sent to the manufacturer to be repaired or changed for a new one, or a new keyboard is demanded to replace an old one, without sending back the whole box. In the actual state of manufacturing musical boxes, it is impossible to make a new key-board for a given cylinder, or the reverse - a new cylinder for a certain key-board - without having in hand the entire musical box. These two parts, which are the two most important of a box, are too closely connected to permit the mending of one without the other, or without the plate which carries them both. It is only when one or two keys are broken that it is possible to replace them without the entire box.
We have now given, in a brief way, an idea of the manner in which a musical box is made, and the indications when a box should be repaired at the manufacturer's, or elsewhere. We will now admit that the cylinder is in sufficiently good condition, and will mention, one after another, the accidents which may be easily repaired by any skilled workman, possessing ordinary tools.