Author Archives: Tim Morrison - Page 2

The Lasting Power of Beatrix Potter’s Peter Rabbit

The Tale of Peter Rabbit by Beatrix Potter was published one hundred and ten years ago, yet it remains a treasured favorite of children of all ages. Potter’s work has been adapted in song, film, ballet and animation and translated in multiple languages. What is it about the story that keeps it beloved by generation after generation?

Peter Rabbit by Beatrix Potter

To explore the legacy of the book, first we will take a look at its author, Beatrix Potter. Born in 1866 to a privileged English family of artistic naturalists, Potter grew up with numerous pets who she would observe and draw constantly. As a student of both science and art, Potter developed a great reputation in the scientific community for her drawings of insects, fossils, archeological artifacts, and fungi. Her interest in the natural world and the arts led to her publishing The Tale of Peter Rabbit, first privately in 1901, and with wider distribution a year later. With the proceeds from the book and an inheritance from an aunt, Potter bought Hill Top Farm in the English Lake District. Her preservation and expansion of this land was left to the National Trust after her passing in 1943, which is now most of the land that comprises the Lake District National Park.

The illustrated book tells the tale of the mischievous and disobedient young Peter Rabbit who is chased through the garden of Mr McGregor. After escaping the garden and being cooked into a pie by McGregor, he returns home to his mother who gets him to fall asleep with chamomile tea. The story was created as a series of letters that Potter sent to her former governess’ ailing child and the characters in the book of Peter Rabbit and his sisters Flopsy, Mopsy and Cottontail were based on Beatrix’s childhood pets.

A creative person is at their best when they are passionate about their creation while remaining true to themselves. Potter’s story does just this, combining all of her passions and life’s experience into one grand children’s book.

It is the San Francisco Music Box Company’s great pleasure to work with the legacy of Beatrix Potter by presenting a collection of musical gifts, creating more timeless memories involving the rascally Peter Rabbit.

Peter Rabbit Gifts from San Francisco Music Box Company

Greatest Books for Kids

What are the ‘greatest’ books for kids?  A February 2012 release by Scholastic Parent & Child magazine listed the top 100 books for kids.  Who is the authority here?  What was it based on?   Well, several things were noted, including literary merit, popularity, a variety of genres, and cultural representation.  Literacy experts and ‘mom bloggers’ nominated over 500 books.   Here are a few, and one in particular that has a new home at The San Francisco Music Box Company:

“Charlotte’s Web” tops the list at #1. Who can not like this classic tale about a spider and farm girl who save a naïve runt of a pig?  It’s a little longer tale to read, but a sure winner!



“Goodnight Moon” came in a close #2.

I still recall the pictures in this classic book from the many times I read it to my children.  Still one of their favorites!


“Where the Wild Things Are” from Maurice Sendak listed at #5.   This wonderful story became a major motion picture in 2009 and is now on our SFMB list of targets for consideration. 

Can you picture some fun musical items in your child’s room of the characters from this great story?  It is especially relevant today with the fun monster craze inhabiting the lives of our 5-10 year olds.


Green Eggs and Ham,” the classic tale from Dr. Seuss, ranked # 7.   We read this story so many times that I still recall the words “I do not like green eggs and ham, I do not like them, Sam-I-Am.”   There are only 50 different words in this story! 

Dr. Seuss had an incredible knack for bringing fun into our story time with rhyming dialogue and crazy characters!



“The Very Hungry Caterpillar” by Eric Carle is our favorite at #12.  This book has sold millions of copies worldwide and is still a top-seller today.   The story of the caterpillar who ate through everything, eventually becoming a beautiful butterfly, is magical. 


Here at SFMB, we created some timeless musical items from this popular story, added a little more magic with some very classic tunes, and are excited to bring them to you in June, 2012!  Here are two of them for you to share with your friends.



The Very Hungry Caterpillar Apple Musical BankThe Very Hungry Caterpillar Musical Cupcake Rotating Figurine

See all our great children’s musical gifts at

Tradition meets “HIP”!

We’ve been in business for over 30 years and decided it was time to “SHAKE THINGS UP!”  What does that mean?  We have a New Attitude and a New Direction where ‘Tradition meets HIP!’  We’ve created a host of new musical gifts to share with you in 2012!  Our Magic Room has been a busy place… YES, it’s going to be an amazing year!

Eric-Carle-Apple-bank-Revised2-150x150The Very Hungry Caterpillar Musical Bank. We have new licenses with Eric Carle (author of the classic children’s story “The Very Hungry Caterpillar”)



Gone With The Wind (one of the all time ‘greats’ in film history!), and Bob Byerley (internationally known artist and painter of Our American Childhood).




“Jessica’s Bonnet” Musical Jewelry Box

 Our new formats include musical banks, musical candle holders, vintage music boxes, and glass music boxes with attachments.  We have new sound, with new digital recordings by original artists – you’ll want to get up and dance!






New categories include Fashion music boxes – glamour, fun, home fashion

Hearts and Kisses Glass Music Box

– and  Tweens – musical gifts for the 6-12 year olds, including gifts for boys and girls.





“Jing-A-Ling” Musical Banks








 And we have all new items in our classic categories with Looney Tunes,




Phantom of the Opera 25 Years Music Box

Phantom of the Opera (did you know that this year Phantom of the Opera celebrates 25 years??? – don’t miss our ALL NEW LIMITED EDITION pieces!),




and the Wizard of Oz….a true American classic!

OZ, the Great and Powerful Lighted Figurine with voice clip from original movie

OZ, the Great and Powerful Lighted Figurine with voice clip from original movie. A new movie comes out in 2012 about the Great and Powerful OZ – you’ll want to share in the fun!


That’s just a small sampling of what’s in store at The San Francisco Music Box Company.

Top Ten Christmas Traditions

Every year we celebrate the Christmas holidays with so many wonderful traditions.  Some of our favorite traditions for the season are here in our TOP TEN CHRISTMAS TRADITIONS.



The Christmas season begins for many with the start of Advent.  Advent, from the Latin word adventus meaning “coming,” is the time of preparation and waiting for the celebration of the Nativity and Jesus’ birth at Christmas.  In many Western churches, it begins on the fourth Sunday before December 25.    It is celebrated with Advent wreaths – a decorative wreath of greenery with 4 candles, one for each week of Advent.  The passage of Advent is marked by the lighting of one candle each week, until in week 4, all are lit.  It is a special time, lighting the candle and remembering what this special season is all about!  It is a tradition that is never missed in the home of yours truly!

Advent Calendar Sample

Advent Calendar with Gifts

Advent is often also celebrated and marked with an Advent Calendar.  Most often it is a calendar of 24 days, beginning December 1 and moving through December 24, with the culmination on Day 25 with Christmas. Many are made for children in the form of windows, with one opened each day to reveal a poem, picture, or part of a story.   I remember having one when I was a child and the expectation each day when a new ‘window’ would be opened on the calendar.  The excitement and anticipation are still to be remembered.  Some more elaborate Advent calendars have a small gift concealed in each window, such as a toy or a chocolate item.   YUM!   What was your favorite advent surprise?



Christmas Cards

How many Christmas Cards do you get each year in your mail?  Or in your email?  Or now via Facebook posts?   I look forward each year to picking up the mail in December and seeing what my friends, family and co-workers have been doing this past year.  It is especially nice to get the newsletters in those special  cards, telling all the tales of the year.    Photos….photos….photos… we have them in digital form, so it’s easy to include them in these traditional cards.     An extra special idea is to make a home-made Christmas card, full of color, glitter, and add-ons.  Here is a link to a site that describes how to make a pop-up Christmas Tree card, with a video showing you step-by-step.

Pop-Up Christmas Tree Card
Pop-Up Christmas Tree Card – Ready to Decorate!

Take a few moments with one of your children and make a special card for Grandmother, a special Aunt or Uncle, or a favorite friend.   Include a favorite saying from your family or use traditional sentiments like “Merry Christmas” or “Happy Holidays”.   Collect your Christmas cards each year and use them the next year for ideas.  Cut out images from them and paste them on your new designs….add some glitter and a special message and VOILA!   A Christmas treasure!




Christmas Tree

They come in all sizes and all kinds….tall, short, wide, narrow, spruce, fir, pine, green, white, and multicolored.  They have a multitude of decorations….ornaments, garland, lights, stars, bows, balls, candles, handmade, purchased.   And they are the heart of most home décor at Christmas.   Many families have a tradition for ‘setting up the tree’.

In our home, we set aside a day when the whole family can participate.  We start by getting the decorations out of storage….that’s a job, as we’ve collected much over the years.   Then we get the video camera….a tradition we started when the children were small.  It’s a great memory for us each year to look back on.  Dad sets it up on the tripod, and we’re off!

The tree is set up first, then the lights are added.   That is the biggest job, and DAD is in charge!   Then the garland….each year we change it up with different colors.  Then the ornaments….oh, what a collection of homemade, school-made, gifted, and purchased.   Each brings a memory to our minds.  Last, but not least, is the star on top…..the crowning moment when we all step back and admire our work.

This tradition is always made more fun with hot chocolate, wassail, and cookies.    If you are lucky enough to not have allergies to pine, I’m sure many of you have ‘real’ trees and make a tradition of finding the right one.  Whatever your tradition, a tree is a special addition to the season.

Jingle Bell Rotating Christmas Tree - Plays "O Christmas Tree"

Here is one from SFMB that can be placed on your mantel or end table, if you have no other.   ENJOY!



Christmas Stockings

“And their stockings were hung by the chimney with care…..”   What is the origin of Christmas stockings being hung by the chimney?   Various versions abound, but one popular legend describes the following:

“Very long ago, there lived a poor man and his three very beautiful daughters. He had no money to get his daughters married, and he was worried what would happen to them after his death.

Saint Nicholas was passing through when he heard the villagers talking about the girls. St. Nicholas wanted to help, but knew that the old man wouldn’t accept charity. He decided to help in secret. He waited until it was night and crept through the chimney.

He had three bags of gold coins with him, one for each girl. As he was looking for a place to keep those three bags, he noticed stockings of the three girls that were hung over the mantelpiece for drying. He put one bag in each stocking and off he went. When the girls and their father woke up the next morning, they found the bags of gold coins and were of course, overjoyed. The girls were able to get married and live happily ever after.”  (

Christmas Stockings on Mantel

Christmas Stockings Ready for Santa

Some families celebrate the coming of St. Nicholas on December 6
with small gifts and candy secretly left for the family members.   Whatever your tradition, Christmas stockings are a special addition to the mantel at Christmas time.




The reason for the Season…..Jesus’ birth.   This tradition is well-known in all of Christianity.    Most nativity depictions show the Virgin Mary, her spouse Joseph, and the infant Jesus, either laying in a manger or being held by Mary.   This represents the Holy Family and their journey from Nazareth to Bethlehem, where Jesus was born.   Having no room at the inn, the Holy Family stay in a stable, which is often shown in a Nativity scene.    Others join the Nativity scene….the shepherds and their sheep, who hear the ‘great news’ from the Angels.   Three wise men, or Magi, follow a star to Bethlehem to find the newborn King, where they honor him with gold, frankincense and myrrh.

Gold Nativity Water Globe Figurine

Gold Nativity Water Globe Figurine

Having a Nativity as a part of the holiday is a tradition for many.   Some display them under the Christmas tree, others in a special place in the home.  Many holiday programs include a Nativity reenactment as part of the program.   In our home, the Nativity holds a place of honor, as we remember why we celebrate this holy season.

If you are looking for a special nativity that holds the magic of Christmas, here is a beautiful musical water globe/figurine just for you!  I plays one of my personal favorites for Christmas – “O Holy Night”.



Christmas Lights

Jesus is the light of the world….what better way to commemorate the season celebrating His birth than with light!    Lights on the Christmas tree in multi colors or simply in white!  Candles on the table or on the tree!   Lights on the house and around the bushes and up the driveway!   Neighborhoods are decorated with matching lights.  And many places of business outline their stores with lights.  Some go another step and add music to the lights for a true holiday display!    In Kansas City, our SFMB home, we celebrate the holiday season with two fond ‘lighting’ traditions.

Kansas City Plaza Lights
Kansas City Country Club Plaza Lights during the Holidays

On Thanksgiving night, the world famous Plaza lights are lit.  It is a phenomenal display of color and pageantry, with over 80 miles of lights outlining the spectacular architecture of this classic shopping district in the heart of Kansas City.

Then, the Mayor’s Christmas Tree is lit the following weekend at another traditional ceremony. The 100-foot-tall Mayor’s Christmas Tree, one of the nation’s tallest, is the centerpiece for an illuminating holiday celebration. It’s the symbol of the Mayor’s Christmas Tree Fund, which is dedicated to assisting the city’s less fortunate.   After the holidays, the wood from the Mayor’s Christmas Tree is made into commemorative ornaments, which are sold the following year to benefit the Mayor’s Christmas Tree Fund.  ( )

What holiday lighting ceremonies are your favorites?



Christmas Baking

What would the holiday season be without sweets, sweets, sweets?   Christmas baking is a classic tradition and one that children look forward to eagerly.   Who doesn’t love the fun of decorating a gingerbread house?  Or making cut-out sugar cookies in the shape of bells, trees, and stars…then frosting and eating them?   What about a classic holiday fruitcake?  And those special candies and cookies and breads?   Oh, I can feel the pounds coming on by just thinking about all those yummy treats!   We make sure all our friends and family have a sampling of whatever we bake.    And don’t forget, some of those special cookies need to be saved for Christmas Eve to leave out on a special plate for Santa.

Christmas Cookies

Christmas Cookies - YUMMY!

Here is a favorite recipe from one of our SFMB fans:


1 c. sugar                    1 c. confectioners sugar           1 c. margarine

2 eggs                         1 c. oil                                      4.5 c flour

1 tsp. baking soda       1 tsp. cream of tartar              1 tsp. vanilla

Mix.  Roll out and cut out cookie shapes.  Bake on ungreased cookie sheet.  375 degrees,  10 min.


Christmas Caroling

One of the most loved parts of the holiday season is the music.   It makes one feel good by just listening.  And there are so many wonderful holiday songs….old songs and new songs, famous songs and not-so-famous songs.  Three of our fans shared their favorites on our Facebook page:

ANN:  Carol of the Bells, originally titled Shchedryk, was composed by Mykola Dmytrovych Leontovych in 1916. This Ukrainian folk song is about a sparrow and the bountiful year that awaits a family.  In theUnited States the song was first performed in 1921 at Carnegie Hall.   Peter J. Wilhousky wrote new lyrics for the melody, copyrighted it and the song is what we now know as “Carol of the Bells.”  This hauntingly beautiful song is about the sound of bells come Christmas time. (

BARBARA:  “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas” is a song introduced by Judy Garland in the 1944 MGM musical “Meet Me In St. Louis.”  Frank Sinatra later recorded a version with modified lyrics, which has become more common than the original. (

ANGELA:  “The Little Drummer Boy,” originally known as “Carol of the Drum,” is a popular Christmas song written by the American classical music composer/teacher Katherine Davis in 1941. It was recorded  in 1955 by the Trapp Family Singers and further popularized by a 1958 recording by the Harry Chorale.   In the lyrics the singer relates how, as a poor young boy, he was summoned by the Magi to the nativity where, without a gift for the infant Jesus, he played his drum with the Virgin Mary’s approval, remembering “I played my best for Him” and “He smiled at me”.  (

And another one of my personal favorites:

Silent Night originated in the little town ofOberndorf,Austria in 1818.  Christmas Eve was almost upon them when the priest, Joseph Mohr, discovered that the organ didn’t work.  Some say it was because of rust; some say that a mouse ate through the cables. Whatever the reason, it was unfixable.  So Mohr pulled out a poem he had written called “Stille Nacht, Heilige Nacht,” and asked his friend and organist Franz Gruber to write a simple melody to it that could be played on the guitar. He did; the choir quickly learned the song; “Silent Night” became history. (

Enjoy the sounds of the holidays in some of SFMB’s spectacular snow globes and figurines!



Christmas  Service

A tradition that truly reflects the meaning of Christmas….Christmas service at your place of worship.  Remembering that this special season is about the birth of our Savior Jesus is what makes all of the other traditions have meaning.   Families and friends dress up to attend mass, religious services, prayer services, musical programs, and reenactments of the Nativity.    It is a special time to remember the Christ Child and pray for Peace On Earth.




Christmas Presents

It’s 4:00 a.m.   The kids are tip-toeing down the stairs to peak at the presents.  “Hurry Up!”  they whisper to each other.   One goes to find a flashlight.  The others  wait.   Slowly, carefully, they check out the packages and gifts, discovering names on each.   Quietly they pick up a few and shake them.   They whisper, hoping their parents are still sleeping.   They crawl up on the couch and fall asleep for another 2 hours.   When 7:00 arrives, they bound into mom and dad’s bedroom and shake them.  “Wake Up!  Wake Up!   Santa was here!”   Everyone dashes to the living room …. the excitement is contagious.   The packages under the tree are gaily wrapped, sparkling, and calling ‘Open Me’.   It’s a moment like no other.   All the shopping, all the wrapping, all the late nights.….the feeling when you give a gift to another and see their joy is unparalleled.  No matter how small the gift….sharing with another, without expecting anything in return, is priceless.

Thank you, Jesus, for your gift to us.

Happy holidays to our SFMB fans.



Top 10 Carousel Oddities and Amazements

After endless hours of researching what we find to be a very fascinating subject, we have amassed a list of the San Francisco Music Box Co. Top 10 Carousel Oddities & Amazements. We warn you, this list is not for the weak of heart. If you are a fan of the Avant-Garde, aren’t afraid of the Artful Dodger and ready to take the road less traveled – we welcome you into a list will take you deep into your imagination and then invite you inside.

10. Carousel Gardens Amusement Park
Come rain or shine, this 1906 carousel building is wrapped entirely of double-fold doors and is topped with a pyramidal roof that keeps it’s guests and antique carousel comfortable and dry.  The stained glass windows of the clerestory and cupola cast a playful spectrum of light on the fully renovated carousel featuring fifty-four carved colorful animals. In the enclosed area of the Carousel Building, guests can sip cocktails and enjoy a succulent meal. Weather permitting, additional guests can be accommodated on the deck surrounding the building.
Location: New Orleans, LA
Ticket Cost: $3

My Kingdom for a Carousel

9. Brighton Pier, United Kingdom Carousel :: Grandfathered In
Take in the sights, eat some great food, do some shopping and ride the historic Brighton Pier Carousel but remember to bring a life preserver. This great Carousel sits atop a pier that has a history that dates back to 1823. It has set the stage for many silent black and white films, served fish and chips to Grace Kelly, Greta Garbo and Bette Davis, and was the set for a plethora of commercials, television shows and photo shoots. These horses have made history and have rubbed shoulders with the stars. What would you do to ride on the back of a carousel horse that quite possibly saddled Johnny Depp?
Location: Brighton Pier, United Kingdom
Ticket Cost: $3

By BunnyHugger, Lansing, Michigan

8. Carousel Columbia, America :: In Honor of the Greats
Although not in the “Historic Registry” club, this Carousel, located at the grand entrance of the Carousel Columbia, America Amusement Park, demands respect in its own right. Each and every animal that rides this double-decker masterpiece is a replica made from the molds of the horses and animals that rode the most famous carousels of yesteryear’s. From the carousel placard, “The inspiration and beauty of the Columbia reflect the artistry of hundreds of workers who dedicated themselves to this splendid carousel. It was conceived and designed by Randall Duell and Associates as the first major new carousel in the world since the late 1920’s, when the art of carousel design was nearly – but fortunately not quite lost.
Location: Six Flags Great America and at California’s Great America

Destination Carousel

7. Trimper’s Rides Carousel :: The Legacy
What do you get when you add a 10 mile beachfront, a 3 mile wooden boardwalk and an Amusement Park featuring a 100 year old carousel boasting 12 leaping horses, 11 Standing Horses, 1 Camel, 2 Cats, 1 Deer, 2 Dogs, 1 Dragon, 2 Frogs, 2 Giraffes, 1 Goat, 1 Lion, 2 Mules, 2 Ostriches, 2 Pigs, 2 Roosters, 1 Stork, 1 Tiger, 2 Zebras and 4 Chariots? Days of historic family fun! The Trimper’s Carousel is unique only to it’s Herschell-Spillman Company sister carousel, built around the same time, that sat on Coney Island but later burned in a fire.
Location: Ocean City, Maryland
Ticket Cost: $2

Spillman Carousel

6. Spillman Carousel ::A Work of Art
The Spillman Carousel lives in the Grand Rapids Public Museum in Michigan. Adorned with brightly colored jewels and intricately hand carved animals, The Spillman Carousel has stolen many hearts of carousel lovers from around the world. Forty-Four wooden horses, six menagerie animals and two chariots dance gracefully around this fully restored 1928 Carousel by the Spillman Engineering Company.
Of all the Carousels I’ve had the honor to research and present to you, this one wins the “beauty” contest hands-down. I never imagined ever being humbled by a horse and the menagerie of company he kept.  Image trackback.
Location: Grand Rapids, MI
Ticket Cost: $1


5. Name That Carousel :: Mechanical Flying Fish vs. Tug Boat
In my search for the most mystifying and magical carousels of the land, I ran across this carousel. The image came with no name or artist. I am going to need a little help with this one!
What I do know is this:
1. The picture was taken in Brussels.
2. It was designed by a French artist.
3. Displayed at a Christmas Festival.
4. Sinterklaas makes a visit.

The Doll Carousel Room

4. House on the Rock Carousel :: Pretty Porcelain and Ponies
Frank Loyd Wright would scoff if anyone would compare him to the architectural antics of one Alex Jordan. Marv Balousek, a newspaper reporter for the Wisconsin State Journal, describes Jordan as “a shadowy figure as reclusive as the late multi-millionaire Howard Hughes.” The House on the Rock is a 14-room house with a complex Möbius of half levels, stairs and corridors. If you visit, allow for at least 2 hours to tour the house and 3 additional hours to find your way out. During your 3 hours of misguided discovery, be prepared to visit what is know to be one of the creepiest carousels in the world. You will be greeted by hundreds of dark, lifeless eyes from hundreds of pale, handcrafted dolls standing about or riding a host of miniature carousel ponies.
Location: Spring Green, WI
Ticket Cost: Section 3 $15.50

Warner Bros. Pictures 1987

3. Looff Carousel :: Star Struck
Does anyone remember when Kiefer Sutherland was the handsome yet terrifying “David” from The Lost Boys and not the dashing and daring “Jack Bower” from 24? Before Kiefer was Hi-Jacking planes from terrorists or saving his family from government thugs he was sucking blood and getting thrown off a carousel in Santa Cruz, California on the Beach Boardwalk. What other movies / television shows have featured this epic carousel? The Killer Klowns from Outerspace, Sudden Impact, Dangerous Minds and countless television commercials. If only those horses could talk . . .
Location: Santa Cruz, California Beach Boardwalk
Ticket Cost: $3

The Riverbank Carousel

2. The Riverbank Carousel :: The Etch-a-Sketch Carousel
As a child, did you ever dream your dazzling doodle could walk off the page and you could come face-to-face with your creation? What if someone told you that it could be done? Would you take the chance and deliver a doodle or chalk it all up to some crazy man with an over-active imagination? Meet Milo Mottola. Mila Mottola dreamed of a carousel designed completely from the drawings of children. Imagine riding on the back of a zebra with plaid legs or a chariot made of two harnessed spiders or better yet, a yellow pickle that strangely resembles a giraffe.  The only “horsing around” done on this carousel will be any pushing and shoving it takes to be the first of your friends to ride the blue deer with the Cheshire smile!
Location: New York, NY
Ticket Cost:
50 cents

In need of a good home.

1. The Letenský Carousel :: Holy Horse Hair, Batman.
Built in 1892, this unexpected and under-appreciated carousel predates the famous carousel at the base of Monmartre in Paris by some 20 years. I would say this merits some serious respect, especially if you happen to be a horse. Like the rest of the carousel, the inner construction of each horse is wooden, but each sculpture is then wrapped in horse hair and dressed in a hide that had to be skinned from a dead horse. . . all in one piece. It is said that each horse was slaughtered explicitly for the purpose of constructing the carousel. Sadly, this magnificent Carousel is currently homeless and in great need of an owner with nearly 9 million dollars. Last year, the museum applied without success for European Union funds to help cover the cost. Early next year, the museum plans to reapply.

We hope you have enjoyed our Top 10 Carousel Oddities and Amazement’s tour. We invite all Carousel lovers, aficionados and collectors to add some of YOUR favorites to our list. Are there any carousel horses you would love to see as a San Francisco Music Box Co. reproduction? All comments are encouraged and welcomed.

The doctor is in?

Every day we read about or hear, in one way or another, about how a doctor has saved a life. There are so many reasons I am thankful for the health professionals.  I think of all of the health professionals that take time out of their holiday’s to help complete strangers.

So now, you might ask, am I writing about people in the medical profession? Before I answer this question, I would like to introduce you to the very first incubator and where it was first introduced to the public.

Setting: Wonderland Amusement Park in Minneapolis, Minnesota, at Lake Street and 31st Avenue. Turn of the 20th century.

“The exhibit at Wonderland, while short-lived, was extremely successful. It opened in 1905, along with the amusement park itself. Unlike at the Coney Island amusement park, according to Minneapolis Past, the incubator babies were the main attraction at Wonderland. The hospital building itself was two stories tall. The Minneapolis Journal reported that “the first floor will be devoted to a room in which the incubators…will be exhibited. A room adjoining will be fitted up as a model nursery…The rooms upstairs are the living rooms” for the doctors and nurses.    

Because the idea of displaying infants at expositions was a social frontier, it was very controversial in society at the time. As soon as Couney had set up the first exhibit at Coney Island, the Brooklyn Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children (SPCC) protested his actions. They believed that it was immoral to display infants in a public place, and that Couney’s main goal was not to save babies, but to make money.

 Evidence for the medical impact of the incubator hospitals can be found in the large numbers of infants that were saved. The Minneapolis Daily Times reported that “it is a matter of statistical record that previous to the use of the incubator that only 15% of the prematurely born lived. By use of the incubator 85% are saved.”  At Coney Island, “his [Couney’s] success was astounding. He saved over 6,500 of the 8000 babies brought to him” (Adams 51). “ ~ Borrowed from

About now, you have probably checked to see what website you have accidentally stumbled upon. You are thinking, “This is all great and fine but really….I want to read about The San Francisco Music Box Company and what wonderful things they have been working on!”

What would you say if I told you that a surgeon, a medical instrument technician and a BIG idea (hint, hint) was responsible for the very first documented Snow Globe! Getting interesting now, yes?

Setting: Surgical Clinic in Vienna, Paris. Turn of the 20th century.

“At the turn of the 20th century, a surgeon asked Erwin Perzy, a medical instrument technician, to make the Edison light bulb brighter for his operating room in Vienna. Perzy drew inspiration from shoemakers, who would fill a globe with water and place it in front of a candle to magnify lighting. To further enhance the effect, Perzy filled the water globe first with tinsel, then with white grit, to reflect the bulb’s light. Unfortunately, the idea failed. The added particles floated to the bottom and no longer increased light.

But the effect Perzy created with the white grit fascinated him. It reminded him of falling snow.

As Perzy experimented with the water globe, a souvenir handler and friend asked him to make a miniature of the Basilica of the Birth of the Virgin Mary (to this day, the basilica is the most important pilgrimage site in Austria). Using pewter from his medical instruments shop, Perzy created the miniature. He then decided to place the miniature in the glass water globe with the white grit. The first snow globe was invented.

Perzy knew he was onto something. In 1900 he got a patent for his “Glass Globe With Snow Effect.” From 1900 to 1905, Perzy played around with different scenic miniatures and different white material to mimic snow.” ~ Borrowed from The Los Angele’s Times.

In conclusion, this year The San Francisco Music Box Company is thankful for our medical professionals and the lengths they will go to save a life AND the lengths they will go to correct a dim operating room!

Want to see how the magic of YesterYear has influenced The San Francisco Music Box Company? Look Here!

Happy Thanksgiving!



Thanksgiving Kid’s Crafts – Drip Ball Ornament

Drip Ball Ornament

Difficulty: Easy

Age: 6 and up

Parental supervision is recommended

Holiday Links

These drip ball ornaments are so easy but they look like you spent all day on them! Kids will have fun drizzling on all that paint.

What you’ll need:

  • Glass ball ornaments
  • Acrylic craft paint in holiday colors
  • Empty egg carton
  • Ribbon for hangers
  • Water
  • Paintbrush
  • Clear glaze spray suitable for glass

How to make it:

  1. Remove the hanger top from each ornament and set aside.
  2. Place egg carton upside down and place ball ornaments in the middle of four egg cups to act as your holder (see image).
  3. Place some paint in a palette and water the paint down until it begins to drip off the paintbrush (see image).
  4. Keep the paint palette close to your egg carton holder. Dip paintbrush into the watered down paint, picking up a generous amount. Move the paintbrush to the top of the ornament immediately. Place a dollop of paint onto the ornament. If it doesn’t begin to drip down, add some more paint until it does. Continue this technique around the ornament, alternating colors as well. When finished, allow the ornaments to dry completely (see image)
  5. Once the ornaments are dry, replace the hanger tops and tie ribbon in place.
  6. Hang ornaments on a dowel or strong twig, and then in a well-ventilated area, spray with clear glaze spray. Let dry completely.



  • Using the egg carton as a holder will cause the paint to stop where the paint drips down and meets the egg carton. You can avoid this by hanging the ornaments on something sturdy while you paint, just be sure that you have newspaper below to catch the drips.
  • The thicker the paint, the darker your drips will be. If you would like lighter drips, simply thin out the paint more.
  • If you paint simply won’t drip, you will need to add more water. Test by holding the paintbrush directly above the paint palette. The paint should begin to drip within 3 seconds.

By: Amanda Formaro

Thanksgiving Kid’s Crafts – How to make a snowglobe!

Snow Globe

Difficulty: Easy

Age: 6 and up, though younger children can assist with adding water and glitter.

Parental supervision is recommended

Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow! This darling little craft is made from recycled baby food jars, or any other type of jar you have sitting around collecting dust. We suggest making more than one, or you won’t want to give up this little keepsake to your child—they’re great to keep around your own home, perfect for your computer desk. Give your globe a theme and make it a gift for Christmas, Halloween, birthdays or any occasion. Or, you can make a snow globe featuring your favorite characters or animals such as Dinosaurs, Spiderman or Barbie. Enjoy!

For more Christmas fun, be sure to visit our Christmas crafts, Christmas ornaments crafts page, and our main Christmas area. As well, visit our winter crafts for more snowy ideas!


What you’ll need:

  • Baby food jars (medium or large) or any other type of jar with a lid
  • Florist clay (can be found at any craft supply store)
  • Small figurine (see “Choosing your figurine” under “Helpful Hints”)
  • White and/or silver glitter or fake snow
  • Hot glue gun or aquarium sealing glue (hot glue is less expensive)
  • Ribbon or felt (optional)
  • Garland plastic greenery (see “Getting your greenery” under “Helpful hints”)

How to make it:

  1. Wash and dry your jar completely, including the lid.
  2. Attach figurine to inside of jar lid using florist clay. If you are using a small object, it’s a good idea to build up the clay so the object will appear taller. To preview, simply place empty jar over the top of your figurine to see if you have the height where you want it. Attach any optional items with the clay (greenery, berries, etc.). Important: Use your imagination, but make sure whatever you use is waterproof and won’t dissolve.
  3. Fill jar with water to within 1/2 inch (1 cm) of top. Use cold water, warm water tends to cloud. Sprinkle ½ teaspoon of glitter, or “ snow” into water. This measurement is based on a medium to large baby food jar. Adjust glitter amount according to your size jar.
  4. Using hot glue gun, line inside of lid with glue. Insert figurine in water and screw on lid.
  5. Dab lid dry if any water dripped or spilled. Apply a layer of hot glue around the rim of the lid to seal shut.
  6. Let stand and dry overnight — lid side up.
  7. Decorating the lid rim is optional, and there are several ways to do it. Attach decorative ribbon with glue, use plastic holly berries for a holiday feel, or use colored felt as we have. This can be as simple or as elaborate as you like. Use white or craft glue to run a squiggly line around the felt then sprinkle with glitter and let dry. Glue on buttons, use stickers, or personalize your globe by writing your name in glue and sprinkling with glitter. You may also paint the lid rather than use ribbon or other embellishments. The possibilities are endless so have fun!



Keep your globe secure. Make sure the objects are secure in the clay, you could even glue them for added security.

Choose your figurine wisely. Choose a figurine made of a material that will not dissolve or deteriorate in water over time. Cake toppers, small ornaments with the hanger removed, miniature toys and dolls are all possibilities.

Easy-to-find greenery. You will only need small pieces so look for stems in the floral department that are on sale or inexpensive. You can also trim pieces from silk and plastic greenery, or you can even fashion your own small trees out of chenille stems. Another option is to use tiny plastic pine trees found in toy train and car sets.

Glitter tips. Before gluing or sealing the lid, make sure you have sufficient amount of glitter. Depending on the size of the jar, you may need more or less. Be careful! Too much glitter will completely obscure your figurine.

Add color and pizzazz. To make a more elaborate snow globe, add tiny objects to “ float” in the water, use a drop of colored oil to create a swirling effect or use food coloring in the water. Or, instead of using just white or just silver glitter, mix the two colored glitters. Silver tends to fall faster, the white floats more. Putting them together creates a fun effect. These are just some ideas to help you create your one-of-a-kind snow globe. Use your imagination and have fun.

Choose a theme . Make your snow globe for any occasion or theme such as Halloween, birthday, sports, holiday, Victorian and beach (seashells). You can also make two and give one away as a gift.

Save your felt scraps. This craft is a perfect example of utilizing small felt pieces that were left over from other projects so remember to save those scraps.

By: Amanda Formaro –

SFMBC “Holiday Recipe Swap” Drawing

We invite all of our Facebook & Online friends to participate in our “Holiday Recipe Swap” drawing. To enter, simply share your favorite Holiday Recipe in the comment area below. Please be sure to include your contact information.

Whether it’s a favorite Pumpkin Pancakes recipe handed down through the generations or a special Autumn Apple Squash Crisp your mother serves every Thanksgiving, every family has favorite holiday recipes that are part of their family tradition.  Whatever your specialty might be—tell us!

You will get one entry per recipe.  Everyone who participates will be entered in a random drawing to win up to $50 off the retail price of any item on the San Francisco Music Box Company website. Also, please share this with your friends – if they win and you don’t – you still have a chance to win! With our “ONE for YOU, ONE for your FRIEND” recipe reward system,  one prize goes to the drawing winner AND a friend of their choosing!

So, that’s all you have to do… share your recipe!  I’m sure you will enjoy reading all of the other SFMBC fan’s Holiday Dish Recipes just as much as we do… consider this a virtual recipe swap!

Post recipes by December 1, MIDNIGHT.

ENTRY REQUIREMENTS: 1) No purchase is necessary. 2) Contest is void where prohibited by law. Subject to all federal, state and local laws and regulations. 3) Odds of winning based on the number of valid recipe submissions received. Limit one prize per person. One prize awarded to the winner and one prize awarded to an individual of the winner’s choice. 4) Deadline to enter is by December 1, MIDNIGHT. 5) Drawing will be conducted by The San Francisco Music Box Company, whose decisions are final and binding on all matters relating to this contest. 6) The SFMBC reserves the right to eliminate any inappropriate content at anytime.  7) Affiliated companies, participating advertisers and media, employees, their immediate family members and/or those living in the same household of each are not eligible. Immediate family member is defined as husband, wife, children, mother, father, sister, sister in-law, brother or brother in-law. 8) The winner will be notified via email by December 6, 2011. The “friend” of their choice should be included, along with their friends shipping address, email and phone, in their award acceptance return email to The SFMBC. 9) The deadline for redemption of prize is by December 31, 2011.


Top 10 Stages of Women, Gift Ideas & Traditions

Throughout their lifetime, women will take on many different roles that mean something different to every person they touch in that lifetime. Today we have decided to write about the very special events / occasions that most girls will experience in their lives, along with some unique and heartfelt gifts ideas. If we have missed any that you, our readers, think we have forgotten – please feel free to add to the list!

10. Birth Day: You wake up to the phone ringing from your bedside table. It is your very best friend from childhood, your daughter, granddaughter or niece …and she has just given birth to a beautiful baby girl. It is her first baby and you want to get her the perfect gift. A gift that marks this very precious moment in her life. We suggest one of our Musical Music Boxes, they make the perfect Keepsake box. Shown is our “Heart Shaped Window Musical Jewelry Box.” It plays the tune, “La Vie En Rose.” We invite you to click on the image for more details.
As mothers, we like to keep things such as:

  • The baby’s first lock of hair – A common superstition holds that a lock of hair from a baby’s first haircut should be kept for good luck.
  • A piece of the babies first “lovey” or “blanket.”
  • Babies first spoon.
  • Christening Rosary.

9. Christening: After the birth of a baby, some parents choose to Baptize or Christen their new bundle of joy. Godparents are honored and family is gathered for this very special event. New mothers get to dress their baby girls in a frilly and fancy white gown. Gifts are usually special keepsakes. We suggest our “Bedtime Prayers Girl, Rotating Water Globe” that plays the tune “Jesus Loves Me.” If she has a baby boy, we also carry a blue Bedtime Prayers Boy, Rotating Water Globe.”

8. Piano Recital: After months of lessons and hours of practice (and maybe a few Aspirin), the day of her very first Piano Recital has arrived. Everyone is so proud and excited to be a part of this special event. Following the recital, everyone will meet at her favorite restaurant or someones house to celebrate. For a little girls first Piano Recital, we suggest our “Wooden Baby Grand Piano Musical Ring Box” that plays the tune “”Always In My Heart.”


7. Christmas: If you are anything like me, shopping for mom at Christmas time is always a challenge. What do you get for the person that seemingly has everything? Make it easy by starting her a Holiday Snow Globe collection! The San Francisco Music Box Company has a history of producing the most magnificent and collectable Snow Globes in histtory.  You can start by checking out our collection here!

6. Sweet Sixteen: 16 is such a pivotal and esteemed juncture in every girls life. They are no longer a little girl but a young woman “coming of age.” Even the candles on the cake have a special meaning, Wikipedia says.

  • The first candle is for the girl’s parents.
  • The second candle is for the siblings. (If there are no siblings, then this candle can represent the grandparents.)
  • Candles 3, 4, 5 and 6 are for the rest of the family members.
  • Candles 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13 and 14 are for friends.
  • Candle 15 is for the girl’s best friend or friends.
  • The 16th candle is for a significant male, such as a boyfriend or good friend.
  • Some add a 17th candle which represents good luck

A great gift idea for sweet 16 would be our “Carousel Trinket Box.” It represents the treasured memories of childhood but also, reminds them throughout their adult life, to never loose site of the magic and dreams captured from their youth.

5. High School Graduation: High School Graduation is steeped in ritual. From having their names called out, walking across a stage, and being handed their diplomas in front of their entire class, family and friends to the final throwing of the graduate hat, High School Graduation is a great accomplishment for any teen. They are excited but nervous about leaving home for college. The future is right around the corner and they are ready to go! Might we suggest our “Ruby Slippers Click Figurine.” It plays the tune “Over The Rainbow.”  It is something they can set on their bedside to always know that loved ones are only a phone call away AND as reminder that “There’s no place like home.”

4. Wedding Day: From the time they are little girls, women are planning their picture perfect wedding day. They dream of their Prince Charming and what he will look like. They circle pictures of wedding dresses in their mothers magazines and practice dancing their first dance. Needless to say, a brides wedding day plan has been in the works since the first time they saw Cinderella. For this gift idea, we make a suggestion to the husband-to-be. As every man knows, jewelry is a woman’s best friends. Our “To My Love Music Box” is the perfect memoir to keep her favorite jewelry in. This box features a the following sentiment “To My Love -You have given me many wonderful memories. May we continue to build more memories as the days go on. I Love You.” The tune is “Let me call you Sweetheart.”

3. Baby Shower: Traditionally, baby showers were given only for the family’s first child, and both men and women attended. The original intent was for women to share wisdom and lessons on the art of becoming a mother. You can’t go wrong with The San Francisco Music Box Company’s “Hey Diddle Diddle Animated Toy Box.”

A loving piece for a nursery, with all the favorite characters from Mother Goose: Humpty Dumpty, The Cat and the Fiddle, The Dish and The Spoon, The Cow Jumping Over The Moon and Mother Goose herself!  With animated movement and the classic tune “Hey Diddle Diddle,” this piece is sure to be a favorite for years to come!

2. Wedding Anniversary: For most men, finding that “perfect” anniversary gift can be quite a challenge. We can’t think of a better way to profess one’s love than through one of the most well know and beloved characters of all time!

Our favorite bird with our favorite sentiment, the “Tweety I Wuv You” figurine is sure to put a smile on her face.  Tweety offers your true love a beautiful flower and plays the tune: “I Wanna Be Loved By You.”

1. Mother’s Day: Mother’s Day is a celebration honoring mothers and celebrating motherhood, maternal bonds, and the influence of mothers in our lives. As little girls dream of being brides, they will never know of another bond as strong until they become new mothers. They soon shift their aspirations and hopes upon their children and spend their lives bettering themselves through their accomplishments. What do we – as daughters, son’s, husbands and grandmothers – give our mothers to celebrate their unconditional love? The best gifts, as most mothers will concur, are the gifts made with love by their children. We can only second this gift by suggesting you re-read our #10 on the list. This gift idea is specifically aimed to our new Grandmothers.

For a new mother’s FIRST mother’s day, we propose to re-gift.  The music box you recieved, or the keepsake box that you have kept for all these years, when she was born. Now she can carry on the tradition of the Mother’s Music Box!

We must not forget the Grandmother’s in our lives. Honor your Grandmother with our “Red Rose Mushroom Water Globe” that plays the tune “The Rose.” A classic red rose, the perfect gift of love.