Music box repair

I was a bit stressed out earlier and needed a mini-project, so I picked up an old music box from grandma that hadn’t worked in over a decade.

I ultimately ended up taking the entire thing apart to get it working again properly. Nice to have a bit of a distraction.

Here’s a few photos of the Swiss Thorens No 26 1/2 Emmentalerlied Kuhreigen Vo Luzern uf Weggis zue along with a very up close audio that picks up the depth of the inner mechanics. The tune plays through twice before I let the mechanism stop itself.

Perhaps I’ll revisit the positioning of the pins to improve the sound, but at least it’s working again.


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Chris Aldrich

I'm a biomedical and electrical engineer with interests in information theory, complexity, evolution, genetics, signal processing, IndieWeb, theoretical mathematics, and big history. I'm also a talent manager-producer-publisher in the entertainment industry with expertise in representation, distribution, finance, production, content delivery, and new media.

16 thoughts on “Music box repair”

  1. Val Griffiths says:

    I have a similar box. How did you get the box itself apart to get to the mechanism? Well done

    1. Chris Aldrich says:

      When open, I pulled up gently on the small protruding piece of wood on the right side and removed it. Then you can slide the glass cover out. If necessary you can reverse screw the key off the bottom and remove the metal structure by unscrewing the three screws on the bottom of the box.

      1. Val Griffiths says:

        Many thanks. We can now get to the movement and try and get it working.

  2. Martha Sparwasser says:

    Could I send you my music box for repair as it looks just like yours? I’ve had it for over fifty years from when I taught in Germany.

    1. Chris Aldrich says:

      Though I might be able to fix it, it’s really not my specialty, so I’ll have to decline. If you don’t have a specialist locally, you might try a higher end watch repair shop. They’ll probably be thrilled to be working with larger gears and springs. Good luck!

  3. I have just purchased a beautiful music box but needs a new main spring it’s a REUGE

  4. Caroline says:

    Does the Thorens music box have an ‘on/off’ switch? Is that the button on the front?

    1. Chris Aldrich says:

      Yes, the “button” on the front is a sliding switch that turns the box on or off.

  5. Linda Rea says:

    I have a Thoren’s AD 30 music box and the movement appears to be frozen…could be rust or it could be that it is overwound. Do you have any suggestions on repair?

    1. Chris Aldrich says:

      Unfortunately no. Maybe a local watch shop?

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