Transparent paperweight Music box
Vivaldi (listen to it here )
1915 - MEMORY (CATS) A. L. Webber (listen to it here )
2187 - VALSE N° 1 (JAZZ-SUITE 2) D. Chostakovitch (listen to it here )
2189 - SOLVEJG SONG (PEER GYNT-SUITE 2) E. Grieg (listen to it here )
2192 - HUNGARIAN DANCE N° 1 J. Brahms (listen to it here )
A music box is a very complex object which requires several stages in its creation, calling on a number of craftsmen with amazing skills.
Numerous stamping operations create mechanical parts that make up the movement, from materials such as brass or steel.
The combs are first of all cut rough, and then the teeth are cut by machines which were created, developed and made by Reuge. The comb is then heated and plunged into oil to create a thermal shock; the correct hardness of the comb, and therefore the correct tone is thus obtained. The temperature and the time of heat treatment that make Reuge's quality and reputation, are kept secret. After that, lead is soldered underneath the teeth for the bass notes.
The comb is then tuned. This is a computerised operation; each tooth has a frequency, and a grinding wheel files them to the correct frequency. Finally, synthetic dampers are glued underneath the teeth which produce the bass notes to act as a damper (to perfect the sound). In the past, chicken feathers were used.
The brass cylinder is drilled by machines. This operation is called drilling. After that, 0.25 mm diameter steel wire is inserted into the holes by other machines. This is called pinning. Each individual computer tune file, is inserted into the machines and controls the drilling-pinning process; meaning that it determines the positioning of the pins on the cylinder. In the early days, the drilling-pinning process was done by hand.
Each cylinder is visually checked: we check that all the pins are in place and that they are straight. A small tool called a "poussette" (pusher) is used to insert the missing pins or to straighten ones which are crooked. Plugs are then placed at each end of the cylinder and an axle is placed inside. The next stage is equalising the pins. This operation, called "frisage" (grinding), is also automated. Fixing is the first time in the manufacturing of the musical movement when we can actually hear a tune. The fixer assembles all of the components on to the base-plate and checks the movement. The last step of the process is fixing the comb, so that it is exactly opposite the pins and neither too far nor too close to the cylinder, and checking the quality of the completed movement. This job requires a good musical ear and perfect vision.
The movement is put in the box, which can be made of finely inlaid wood. This is done entirely by hand. Over 100 different varieties of wood can be used. After cutting, the parts are assembled on a piece of paper and then stuck onto the box. The paper is removed by sanding. A professional arranger is given the difficult task of reducing a tune to its most characteristic part so that it can be played – and identified – in a few seconds.
The best cabinetmakers in Switzerland and Italy are chosen. The choice of varieties of wood (from all over the world), their seasoning and assembly, the varnish – everything comes together to produce exceptional boxes that are true collector's items. The base is in a way the music box’s speaker. The feet create the space necessary for the sound to resonate. The difficulty is in making a base that is thin enough to vibrate well, but still thick and strong enough not to break during transport. The inlays are entirely handmade; over 100 different precious woods can be used. After being cut, the pieces are assembled on a piece of wood paper and stuck on the box. The paper is removed by being sanded down.
Product specifications Thirty-Six paperweight
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