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55th annual - AMICA CONVENTION
BLACK HILLS - South Dakota
June 3 - 8, 2018

          Encyclopedia of Disc Music Boxes 1881 - 1920
       A History,
          Catalog Raisonné,
                and Appreciation.
                    By Q. David Bowers
       An AMICA-International Publication

Click on any image to see a larger version


   Mills Trade Paper Ad

The Violano Virtuoso is a violin that plays automatically. Instead of a bow, it uses a rotating disk to rub against the strings.

Photo and Instrument: Don Teach Shreveport, LA


Encore Roll-Playing Banjo

The Encore Automatic Banjo was marketed from 1897 until about 1907, largely by the American Automusic Company of New York City.  This company, controlled by W. Scott O'Connor of the Connorized Music Co., also provided the music rolls for the instrument.

The photo shows an Encore Banjo machine made by David C. Ramey of Lynwood, IL.  Dave is a noted restorer of coin operated music machines.  Several years ago a garage full of Encore Banjos was discovered.  Dave bought what was literally boxes and boxes of parts, as the machines had all but rotted to the floor.  Dave then proceeded to replicate the Encore Banjo.  Everything was made new.  He has made close to thirty of these replicas.


Tanzbaer Automatic Accordion

16-note trigger operated roll mechanism, inlaid walnut case with label of "Treasure Sales Co., 1690 Boston Rd., N.Y."



Wurlitzer Player Harp

This instrument was built for Wurlitzer by the J. W. Whitlock & Company of Rising Sun, Indiana.  Pictured here is the rare Wurlitzer Style B Automatic Harp, in an ornate case of quarter-sawed golden oak.  The sixty strings are plucked by a harpsichord-style mechanism controlled by an electric powered pneumatic roll player.

Mike Knudsen wrote in 970528 MMD:

The tone is soft, but a bit brighter (more nasal and twangy) than a hand-played harp.  There is no expression, but the arrangement of "Claire de Lune" that I heard was beautiful (it seemed to be an exact copy of Debussy's piano score).  This harp was coin operated.  It would be a perfect instrument for a small home shared with a spouse who doesn't go for ricky-tick, razz-ma-tazz, monkey music :-)

Play-a-sax and Clarola


The Play-A-Sax and Clarola were novelty items produced by QRS in the early twentieth century. QRS is still in the mechanical music business today.



©2018 AMICA International
Automatic Musical Instrument Collectors' Association,
a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt organization.

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