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2003 Issue

Compiled by
Bruce Gventer

Readers requested information on music boxes this month, along with difficult-to-find vacuum tubes. I have also found some other sites I think you might enjoy. The best part is when I hear from you, the reader, so let me know what you think. If you have a site you would like to share, or a subject category that you would like me to research, let me know. As always, I am interested in your opinions;  you can email me at 

Music Boxes

This site is brought to you by Al Meekins of the Meekins Music Box Company located in Collingswood, NJ. The Meekins business has started offering items from Reuge's music catalog. The Reuge Music Factory is located in Saint-Croix, Switzerland. Al was impressed by The Reuge Music Factory's high standards of quality and workmanship. You can view items from their catalog on Al's site. The catalog offers a thumbnail index, a table of contents, and a tune list.

Also on Al's site you will find antique mechanical musical items: music boxes, musical clocks, automatic violins, automatic banjos, automatic harps, player grand pianos, and carousel organs. Al claims to be the leading restorer of antique music boxes. He has been in business since 1969, and offers antique music boxes for sale as well as restoration services. He wants to buy, too.

Unfortunately, the site offers no pricing information. You have to contact Al to learn the cost of the piece that interests you. Still, the site has some nice photos.


Here we have Brady Sales and Restorations of Music Boxes, specializing in orchestrians, nickelodeons, band organs, automata, clocks, and pianos. Brady is located in Indianapolis, Indiana. Prices can be found right on the site, and a sale seems to be going on at the time of this writing.

You will find a brief description with price of each item listed. You can click on an image for a close up view of the piece. They say they can restore both disc and cylinder music boxes. They also will work on nickelodeons and orchestrians. When they refinish a music box case, they apply 15 coats of lacquer and rub out between each coat. Then they use four different types of cloth to bring an extremely high polish to the box.

There are lots of pictures and descriptions of antique music boxes, clocks, nickelodeons, and orchestrians all from their own inventory. If you are looking for a particular music box, they claim they will get it for you. Just send them an email message with the information.

Their category links include automata, clocks, cylinder boxes, disk boxes, snuff boxes and musical movements, nickelodeons and orchestrians, and Mason and Hamlin Reproducing Grand Pianos. The site's updates are dated so you can easily see if new items have been added to their inventory.


Vacuum Tubes

On this site you will find a stash of early radio tubes and other types of collector tubes: a must for the collector to have but often hard to find. George H. Fathauer, who operates the site, is located in Tempe, Arizona.

Currently, he is offering tube display bases – wooden rings painted satin black. He also now sells a selection of books and some CDs all about vacuum tubes. One of the titles that impressed me was “Saga of The Vacuum Tube,” by Gerald F.J. Tyne and only $19.95.

I like the fact that this site tells you when its lists are updated. The lists show the following information: the type of tube (usually a part number); a brief description of the tube (such as a dual diode pentode); and, most important, the condition and the price. Highlights from the site’s supply are pictured on the home page and include all the appropriate part information.

Be sure to visit the links at the bottom of the page if this is your area of collecting. Links go to, antique electronic supply, antique radio classified, antique radio restoration, among others. To most of you, this article will be a big vacuum, but to those who collect, I hope this helps.



La Belle Epoque

The best for last, at least to my taste. Here is a site all about the La Belle Époque, brought to us by a group of collectors near Paris, France. They all claim to be passionate about this time in our history. You can start your search of this site with their "Qwick Search.” Just type what you want into the search box and see what comes up.

La Belle Époque is an on-line store selling French and European antiques and collectibles. The items include antique leather luggage (including old doctor's bags), leather suitcases, and antique travel bags. They also sell collectible firearms, and antique field and marine binoculars and opera glasses. The item pictures can be clicked to show multiple photographs with a description.

They have a neat little self-scoring quiz you can take to see how much you know about the era. There is a comprehensive history of the time, written by M. Joachim Stein, which you might want to read first. I tried to view their picture gallery, but it did not seem to be working.

There are pages of collectibles on these topics: antiques and collectibles, binoculars, luggage, collectible firearms, and other antiques. My favorite was the collection of leather doctors' and nurses' bags. They say they only list a small percentage of their inventory online so you should contact them if you want something not on their site.


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