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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


If you'd like to see some orchestrions (also known as nickelodeons, because it commonly cost a nickel to play them) like the one your great-grandparents might have enjoyed at their local watering hole:


Click on any image to see a larger version

An orchestrion

An orchestrion

Orchestrions are the one-man-bands of the automatic music world. They are player pianos, with other musical instruments built in, and everything plays automatically. These instruments were once a common feature of public gathering places such as bars and cafes.

Photo and Instrument: Don Teach Shreveport, LA

Stained glass

Stained glass ornamentation such as this is a feature of many orchestrions.

Photo and Instrument: Don Teach Shreveport, LA


Many orchestrions were coin-operated, the forerunners of the jukebox. When the price was a nickel a play, they began to be called nickelodeons, a name also used for movie house, and later, jukeboxes.

Photo and Instrument: Courtesy of Debence Antique Music World

Peek inside

Here's a peek of the works inside an orchestrion. A particularly interesting feature of this one is the loose loop of punched paper - the holes in the paper represent the musical notes to be played.

Photo and Instrument: Courtesy of Debence Antique Music World



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

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