At Reblitz Restorations, we’ve been entrusted with restoring a wonderful variety of automatic instruments for museums and private collections worldwide for over 40 years. Although only a few of these instruments have ever been in the restoration shop at any given time, if they were all displayed in one place they would form comprehensive mechanical music collection.
Art Reblitz became interested in automatic instruments when he encountered a Seeburg KT Special in an amusement arcade at age seven and immediately thought “I want one of these!” His education then followed parallel paths in classical music performance, music education, piano tuning and restoration, and automatic musical instrument restoration. Much of his early training in mechanical music restoration took place at the very popular but late Svoboda's Nickelodeon Tavern and Museum, on Chicago's South Side under the guidance of Dave Ramey Sr. and Tom Sprague. Fascinated with the coin-pianos and orchestrions Art was motivated to apply his mechanical aptitude in understanding the mechanisms. He then added to this goal of mechanical excellence his extensive musical training to bring out the best possible sound and musicality of each instrument. Later on, when there seemed to be enough demand to support a career working on these instruments he jumped at the chance, gradually acquiring the tools, enhanced techniques, and the years of hands-on experience needed to provide fine quality woodworking, case finishing, machining, and other related skills fundamental to quality workmanship, and especially necessary for museum quality restoration work.
The philosophy of Reblitz Restorations—and that of our fine repeat customers who have kept us very busy for over 40 years—is that it’s more fulfilling in the long run to perform one fine quality job than to do two “pretty good” jobs in the same amount of time. Art Reblitz and the staff at Reblitz Restorations continue to focus on making instruments work and sound their very best, whether a customer desires a simple tuning and regulation, mechanical repairs of one component, a complete restoration with cosmetic finishing touches, or anything in between.
We’re pleased to present photographic galleries of some of the beautiful instruments that we’ve been fortunate to restore. Please note that some pictures have "Click Here…" under the main picture. Click on it (or the image above it) to see additional pictures and captions.
Each of the galleries is devoted to one generalized type of instrument, as listed in the navigations menu (accented by a vertical red bar and arrows) to the left of this text. Together, the galleries form an interesting “Virtual Museum” of automatic pianos and organs brought back to life by Reblitz Restorations. We hope you enjoy seeing examples of our finished work.