Regina Sublima Coin Operated Mechanical, Style 304
Manufacture date: Circa 1910
Song Title: Wave of the Danube
The Regina Music Box Co. of Rahway, New Jersey, liked purely mechanical things -none of that new-fangled pneumatic stuff for them. This instrument came out quite early in the automatic musical instrument era, probably about 1906. When played, it sounds like the, then, very popular chorus of strumming mandolins. The vibrating "piano" action is controlled by possibly the widest roll made of the heaviest paper ever used in a music machine. It is also interesting that Regina manufactured many of these instruments with a large spring-wound motor (usable in places without electricity) but for those few locations that had electric current, such as the mining camps of Montana, they had an electric version. When automatic pianos became more reliable in the later "oughts," these instruments, along with such novelties as the Wurlitzer harp, declined in popularity. About 3,000 were made, and only a few dozen still exist. This particular one was used in the "Comae" Saloon in Neihart, Montana. There was another in the Bale of Hay Saloon, although it was undamaged by the Bale fire in 1983, it was sold in 1990.