The following list primarily includes the names of companies, products, and distributors that are published in the book The Golden Age of Automatic Musical Instruments by MBSI member Arthur A. Reblitz, published by the Mechanical Music Press, Woodsville, New Hampshire; copyright 2001, ISBN: 0970595107. They are used here with permission of the author and publisher. Permission is granted for writers to use a limited number of brief excerpts provided credit is given to the MBSI web site, the title of the original work and the author. Written permission is required for all other uses. For a comprehensive list with many more music box brand names and makers, see Arthur W.J.G. Ord-Hume’s The Musical Box. For all types of automatic instruments, refer to Q. David Bowers’ The Encyclopedia of Automatic Musical Instruments. Both references are listed in the MBSI Reading List.
St. Croix, Switzerland. Made inexpensive cylinder music boxes, circa 1857-1900; Britannia and Imperial disc music boxes, 1898-early 1900s. Also used the name B.H.A.
Disc music boxes made in Germany by J.H. Zimmerman, 1896-early 1900s. Name used interchangeably with Fortuna.
Aeolian American Corporation
East Rochester, NY. Formed by the merger of the Aeolian Co. and the American Piano Co. in August 1932. Continued to make Chickering & Sons, J. & C. Fischer, Wm. Knabe & Co., Mason & Hamlin, George Steck, Weber, and other piano brands. The company installed Ampico and Duo-Art reproducing mechanisms in these pianos on a very limited basis until the late 1930s. The last Ampico mechanisms were installed in spinet pianos known as “Baby Ampicos,” introduced in 1938. The last Ampico rolls were made at the factory in 1941. Several other firms have made recut and new Ampico rolls since then. Aeolian-American was acquired in 1959 by Winter & Co., owner of many other old piano brand names, which had resumed production of spinet player pianos in 1957. Renamed the Aeolian Corporation, and then Aeolian Pianos, Inc. in 1980, it continued to make pianos and spinet player pianos under a variety of brand names until its bankruptcy in 1985. The Chickering brand name was then acquired by the Wurlitzer Co.
New York City, 1878-1932. Branches in London and many other cities. One of America’s largest piano and organ manufacturers. Founded in 1878 as the Mechanical Orguinette Co., sold small tabletop organettes (1878-c. 1910), player reed organs (1883-early 1910s), and Pianola push-up piano players (1899-c. 1905). Organized as the Aeolian Organ & Music Co., in 1887. Reorganized as the Aeolian Co. under the parent entity Aeolian Weber Piano and Pianola Co., 1908. Sold Pianola player pianos and Duo-Art reproducing pianos in its piano brands and Steinway pianos (Pianola circa 1905-early 1930s; Duo-Art 1914-1932), pipe organs (1894-1932), player pipe organs (1895-1932) and Duo-Art reproducing pipe organs (1915-1932). Player and reproducing piano sales were very limited after 1929. Owned the Weber Piano Co.; Geo. Steck & Co.; Wheelock Piano Co.; Stuyvesant Piano Co.; Chilton Piano Co.; Technola Piano Co.; Vocalion Organ Co.; Votey Organ Co.; Aeolian Co., Ltd., of Great Britain; and Aeolian Co., Ltd., of Australia. Also owned Melodee Music Co. and Universal Music Co. (music rolls). Merged with the American Piano Co. in 1932 to form the Aeolian American Corporation.
See Aeolian American Corporation
Player reed organs made by the Aeolian Company.
Vienna. Maker of cylinder musical boxes, about 1900, early 20th century (?), mentioned 1924.
Allard & Cie
Geneva, Switzerland. Made high quality cylinder music boxes, circa 1882-1909.
American Automatic Banjo Company of New Jersey
New York City. One of two makers of the Encore Automatic Banjo, incorporated in 1896. In 1899, reorganized as the American Automusic Co. Continued in business into the early 1900s. Owned territorial rights to New York, and the rest of the United States not covered by the New England Automatic Banjo Co., also listed in this Appendix.
American Automusic Company
New York City. Name for the reorganized American Automatic Banjo Co. of New Jersey, 1899, also listed in this Appendix.
American Photo Player Company
Berkeley, CA. Made Fotoplayer brand theatre photoplayers, circa 1912-1925. Became part of the Robert-Morton Company in 1917. In 1925, the name was changed to the Robert Morton Organ Company, and operations were consolidated in Van Nuys, CA. The firm became one of America’s largest makers of theatre pipe organs, second only to Wurlitzer.
American Piano Company
New York City, 1908-1932. Made pianos, player pianos, and reproducing pianos. Incorporated by G.C. Foster and W.B. Armstrong of the Foster-Armstrong Co. in 1908. Acquired Chickering & Sons ( Boston) and William Knabe & Co. (Baltimore) in 1908, J. & C. Fischer (New York City) in 1920, and the Mason & Hamlin Co. (Boston) in 1922. Foster-Armstrong also owned Haines Bros., Marshall & Wendell Piano Co., Franklin Piano Co., Foster & Co., Armstrong Piano Co., Brewster Piano Co., the Amphion Co. (maker of player mechanisms, established 1903, acquired by American Piano Co. circa early 1920s), the East Rochester Iron Works, and the Ampico Corp. Merged with the Aeolian Co. in 1932 to form the Aeolian American Corporation.
Amphion Piano Player Company
Syracuse, NY. Made player piano mechanisms circa 1903-1938. Made player piano and Ampico reproducing piano mechanisms for American Piano Co. from 1917 onward. Acquired by the American Piano Company by the early 1920s.
Name given to several different models of reproducing piano mechanisms installed by the American Piano Co. in its many lines of pianos, 1912-1932, and then by Aeolian-American, 1932-1938.
Dance organs made by Arthur Bursens of Belgium, also listed in this Appendix.
See Herschell-Spillman Co.
Paper roll-operated music boxes invented by Oliver H. Arno and made by the Massachusetts Organ Co., circa late 1880s.
Artizan Factories, Inc.
North Tonawanda, NY. Established in 1922 by former employees of the North Tonawanda Musical Instrument Works. Made band organs and air calliopes.
Orchestrions made by Berry-Wood Piano Player Co., Kansas City, MO, circa 1907-late ‘teens.
Boston, MA. Name for the reorganized New England Automatic Banjo Co., 1899, also listed in this Appendix.
Automatic Music Roll Company
Chicago, IL. Brand name used by the J.P. Seeburg Piano Company, 1916-1928, for selling coin piano and orchestrion rolls supplied by the coin-operated division of the QRS company.
Automatic Musical Company
Binghamton, NY. Established in 1903, reorganized as the Link Piano Company in 1916. Made coin-operated pianos in keyboard and keyboardless styles. In its early years, produced a roll-operated xylophone.
B.A.B. Organ Company
Brooklyn, NY. Founded by Evaristo Bona, Andrew Antoniazzi, and Dominick Brugnolotti, whose initials comprised the firm’s name. The firm serviced street pianos and fairground organs, circa 1912-1958. Converted many pinned cylinder organs to cardboard music or paper rolls; arranged and perforated both types of music. Took over the assets of G. Molinari & Sons in 1939.
See Abrahams, B.H.
California. Made barrel and paper roll-operated organs, mostly portable hand-cranked models, 1907-1957. Member of the Bacigalupo family of Berlin; changed his surname after moving to the United States.
Berlin, Germany. Several generations of family members built pinned cylinder and paper roll-operated mechanical organs from 1870-1978.
Baker, George, & Company
Geneva, Switzerland. Made cylinder music boxes circa 1873-1880s. Later became Baker-Troll.
Baker-Troll & Company
Geneva, Switzerland. Made fine quality cylinder music boxes circa 1890s-early 1900s.
Vienna. Maker of cylinder musical boxes, 1887- 1913(?).
Vienna. Maker of cylinder musical boxes in typical Austrian format mostly for clock bases, 1864-1882(?).
Vienna. Probably son of August Bartl. Maker of cylinder musical boxes in typical Austrian format mostly for clock bases. Started his business in 1881, probably working until 1922.
Berni Organ Company
New York City. Founded by Louis Berni circa 1910-1920. Imported and sold many European fairground organs; a distributor of Wurlitzer band organs in the 1920s.
Berry-Wood Piano Player Co.
Kansas City, MO. Made coin pianos and Auto Orchestra keyboard-style orchestrions circa 1907 through the late ‘teens. Certain components were purchased from Engelhardt in St. Johnsville, NY.
Unterkirnach, Germany. Several generations of Blessing family members made musical clocks, hand-cranked barrel organs, mechanical pianos, barrel- and roll-operated orchestrions, circa 1805-1920s. Repair work was continued until the 1950s.
Paris, France. Made and leased several models of life-sized accordion-playing automata circa 1920-1935.
Disc music boxes made by B.H. Abrahams, St. Croix, Switzerland.
Bruder, Gebrüder (Bruder Brothers)
Waldkirch, Germany. Ignaz Bruder I, 1780-1845, manufactured flute clocks and barrel organs. Of his 15 children, five sons and their descendants continued to build portable and then larger fairground organs under several different company names, including Gebrüder Bruder, the largest of the firms (1860s-1937); Ignaz Bruder Söhne (1860s-1918), and Wilhelm Bruder Söhne (1860s-1939).
Brémond, B. A.
Geneva, Switzerland. Made fine quality cylinder music boxes, circa 1860s-1916.
Antwerp, Belgium. Made Arburo and Ideal fairground, street, and dance organs. Founded by Joseph Bursens circa 1890, and carried on by his son Arthur into the 1970s. The Arburo name was derived from the words Arthur, Bursens, and Roels, the latter a business partner.
Böcker, Ernst, Organ and Orchestrion Company
New York City. Imported Imhof & Mukle, Hupfeld, and Weber orchestrions, Gebr. Bruder and Ruth fairground organs, early 1900s-1914. Extant Hupfeld Phonoliszt-Violinas that originally were used in the United States were imported by Böcker, so far as is known.
Name used by Tangley Company for its air calliopes, 1914-c. late 1920s; currently used by Miner Manufacturing Company.
“Cuff” music boxes made by F.G. Otto & Sons, 1875-c. 1908.
Capitol Piano and Organ Company
New York City. Sales outlet for North Tonawanda Musical Instrument Works, circa 1920s.
Capitol Roll & Record Co.
Chicago, IL. Subsidiary of the Operators Piano Co. Made Capitol music rolls for coin pianos, orchestrions, and mortuary organs, 1924-1934. Prior to 1924, known as the Columbia Music Roll Co.
Chevob et Cie
Geneva, Switzerland, 1873-c. early 1900s. Successors to Baker-Troll.
London, England. Maker and repairer of portable hand-cranked organs, fairground organs and music, 1864-present.
Chickering & Sons
Boston, MA. One of America’s first and most important piano makers, established in 1823. Incorporated into the American Piano Co. in 1908. Under American’s ownership, one of the finest brands in which the Ampico reproducing mechanism was installed.
Chordephon Fabrik von Musikwerken
See Claus & Company.
Clark Orchestra Roll Company
DeKalb, IL. Made coin piano, orchestrion, pipe organ, and mortuary organ rolls, 1920-1941. Owned and operated by Ernest G. Clark, who acquired the coin-operated roll division of QRS after that company was split from the Melville Clark Piano Co. Ernest retained the right to use QRS roll arrangements for his coin-operated rolls. In the last years of business, Clark’s best customers were amusement companies who owned air calliopes, and manufacturers of non-musical roll-operated horse race gambling machines such as Pace’s Races.
Clark, Melville, Piano Co.
DeKalb, IL. Made pianos, pushup piano players, player pianos, Art-Apollo and Solo Art-Apollo expression pianos, circa 1900-1919. Its founder, Melville Clark, was one of America’s leading pioneers in the player piano industry, and is credited with developing the first 88-note player grand piano in 1903. Shortly before Melville Clark died in November 1918, Tom Pletcher purchased controlling interest in the Melville Clark Piano Co., including the QRS music roll business. He sold the piano company to the Rudolph Wurlitzer Co. in 1919, and moved the roll manufacturing business to Chicago. See also QRS Music Co.
Claus and Company
Leipzig, Germany. Made Chordephon mechanical zithers, 1895-1917.
Coin pianos and orchestrions made by the Operators Piano Company, Chicago IL, circa 1909-late 1920s.
Columbia Music Roll Co.
Chicago, IL. Subsidiary of the Operators Piano Co. Made Columbia music rolls for coin pianos and orchestrions circa late ‘teens-1924. After 1924, known as the Capitol Music Roll Co.
Conchon & Cie
F. Geneva, Switzerland. Made high-quality cylinder music boxes, circa 1874-1898.
Connorized Music Co.
New York City. Made Connorized player piano rolls; owned by the O’Connor family, who also owned part of the American Automusic Co., also listed in this Appendix.
Coin pianos and orchestrions made by the Marquette Piano Company, Chicago, IL, 1905-late ‘teens.
Disc music boxes made by F.G. Otto & Sons, Jersey City, NJ, 1896-early 1900s.
Reproducing pianos made by Ludwig Hupfeld, A.G., Leipzig, Germany, circa 1905-mid ‘teens.
Paris, France, circa 1840s-1870s. Made pianos, mechanical pianos, and separate keyboard-playing mechanisms that used “planchettes,” or pinned wooden plates.
Deagan, J.C., Inc.
Chicago, IL, 1898-1978. Made fine quality xylophones, orchestra bells, chimes, tower chimes, Una-Fon bells, and many other percussion instruments. Its xylophones were particularly popular among American coin piano and orchestrion builders. For a description of the Una-Fon, see the glossary.
French spelling of Gebroeders Decap, or Decap Brothers.
Herentals, Belgium. One of the original Decap brothers of Antwerp who were sons of Aloïs Decap, the founder. Left the firm circa 1935 and founded his own company in Herentals. Today, his grandsons Tony and Frank continue to run this firm, building traditional and electronic organs.
Decap, Gebroeders (Decap Brothers)
Antwerp, Belgium. Company name originated by the four brothers Livien, Frans, Léon and Camille Decap, sons of Aloïs Decap who founded the firm in 1902. Maker of dance organ orchestrions (early years), piano orchestrions (limited production, early years), street and fairground organs (1920s-1930s), and a leading maker of dance organs (1930s-present). Beginning in the late 1950s, electronic components were used increasingly in place of pipes. In more recent years, traditional and electronic organs have been made. Today, Camille’s daughter Martha, her husband Louis Mostmans and son Roger continue operating the business under the name Decap Brothers of Antwerp.
Reproducing pianos made by J.D. Philipps & Söhne, Frankfurt, Germany, circa 1908-1930.
Neuchâtel, then Geneva, Switzerland. Made fine quality cylinder music boxes, circa 1820s-1870s.
Buffalo, NY. Made barrel organs and orchestrions, 1868-1898.
Brand name of reproducing piano mechanism made by the Aeolian Co., 1913-1932, installed in its piano brands and the Steinway. Also, brand name of reproducing pipe organs made by the Aeolian Co., 1915-1932.
Duwaer & Naessens
Amsterdam, Holland. Distributor of Hupfeld, Welte, and other orchestrions.
Ghent, Belgium. Made electric pianos and orchestrions, circa early 1900s-1939. DELETE: One of the last makers of these instruments in the world.
Vienna. Maker of cylinder musical movements in typical Austrian format mostly installed in clock bases, 1849-1878. Worked in cooperation with Johann Sagan from 1854 until 1856 and maybe from 1851 on.
Brand name for Mira disc music boxes sold by Lyon & Healy, Chicago, IL, made by Mermod Frères circa 1890s-1909.
Brand name for coin pianos and orchestrions sold by Lyon & Healy, Chicago, IL, made by Operators Piano Co., circa late 1910s-1920s.
Encore Automatic Banjo
Self-playing banjo made by two companies, the American Automatic Banjo Company and the New England Automatic Banjo Company, also listed in this Appendix.
Engelhardt Piano Co.
St. Johnsville, NY. See Peerless Piano Player Co.
Fabrik Mechanischer Zithern Chordephon Claus & Co.
See Claus & Co.
Fischer, J. & C. Co.
New York City. Made high quality pianos, established in 1845. Acquired by the American Piano Co. in 1920. A popular Ampico reproducing piano brand.
Disc music boxes made by J.H. Zimmerman, Leipzig, Germany. Name used interchangeably with Adler.
Rochester, NY. Made pianos, established circa 1894. George C. Foster and W.B. Armstrong incorporated the American Piano Co. in 1908.
Brand name of theatre photoplayers made by the American Photo Player Co., Berkeley, CA, and Van Nuys, CA, circa 1912-1925.
Paris, France. Made the Pianista, one of the first push-up piano players that worked on pneumatic principles, 1863-1870s. As large as an upright piano, the Pianista had fingers that played the keys of a piano. Music was programmed on a pinned cylinder, but the pins actuated small valves that controlled a pneumatic player action as in most roll-operated player pianos. The mechanism was powered by a hand crank. Also patented an early cardboard-operated key frame; Gavioli et Cie., (Paris) bought the patent and adapted its principles to the fairground organ.
Frati & Company
Berlin, Germany. Formed by partnership of Anselmo Frati and Giovanni Bacigalupo, circa 1870. Made hand-cranked organs, barrel pianos, fairground organs, and later, electric pianos and orchestrions. Bought by J.D. Philipps & Söhne in 1923.
Noted music arranger, pipe voicer, and street organ builder born in 1884. Served apprenticeship with the Wilhelm Bruder Company in Waldkirch; worked for Gavioli (Paris), Mortier (Antwerp); opened his own factory (Breda, Holland, 1921); returned to Waldkirch (1946) where he and his son continued in business. Carl Sr. died in 1967; his son, in 1997.
Paris, France. Maker of fairground organs, 1865-early 1900s.
Paris, France. Took over the fairground organ business of Charles Marenghi & Cie. in 1919, continued building and selling organs into the 1920s.
Gavioli et Cie
Paris, France, 1845-1912. One of Europe’s most important fairground organ builders. Patented the use of the brass frein for realistic-sounding wooden violin pipes; developed the use of the key frame and folding cardboard music, and the automatic register mechanism.
Grob, J.M., & Co.
Leipzig-Eutritzsch, Germany. Art shop which began selling automatic instruments in 1882 and manufacturing them in 1883. Developed an autoharp, the reiterating mandolin mechanism for street pianos, and self-playing mechanisms for pianos and organs. Sales agent for Ariston organettes. Taken over by Ludwig Hupfeld in 1892, to become the world’s largest manufacturer of automatic pianos and orchestrions.
Vienna. Clockmaker, musical movements differ from the typical Austrian format, ca. 1820.
Brand name used on coin pianos and manually-played pianos by Jenkins Music Co., a full-line music house in Kansas City, MO.
Vöhrenbach, Germany. Made barrel organs and orchestrions during the late 19th century.
Herschell Company, Allan
See Herschell-Spillman Company.
North Tonawanda, NY. Made carousels and other amusement rides and equipment. Major seller of fairground organs, including Frati and other European brands before the early ‘teens, and then North Tonawanda Musical Instrument Works and Wurlitzer. Also, Armitage-Herschell, Spillman Engineering, and the Allan Herschell Company.
Grammont, Belgium. Beginning in 1880, made fairground organs, and later, dance organs. The factory closed in 1924 when Louis died, ending production of new organs. Louis had two sons, Edmond and Charles. Edmond restored and tuned organs until his death in 1963. Charles assembled and remodeled organs that had been left unfinished when Louis died, ending this work in the late 1930s. Charles’ son Romain restored organs and arranged music on a part-time basis until his death in 1985. Romain’s son Marc in Lissewege, Belgium, owns a Hooghuys organ, which he is restoring at the time this is being written.
Hupfeld, Ludwig, A.G.
Leipzig, Germany. The world’s largest manufacturer of automatic pianos and orchestrions, 1892-1930; made rolls for a few more years. Founded in 1892 when Ludwig Hupfeld took over J.M. Grob & Co. Eventually employed over 2,500 people in several factories, the largest including about one million square feet of floor space. Made Phonola push-up piano players and player pianos, Phonoliszt expression pianos, DEA and Triphonola reproducing pianos; Universal, Clavitist, Helios, Pan, Animatic, and Symphony Jazz orchestrions; Phonoliszt-Violina and Violina Orchestra violin players, among other instruments. Also made rolls for all of these instruments. Discontinued making automatic instruments circa 1930 and music rolls circa 1934. The company has continued to make hand-played pianos to the present.
Imhof & Mukle
Vöhrenbach, Germany; branch in London. Made barrel organs and orchestrions 1874-c.1930. Early organ-only instruments played from pinned cylinders. After 1900, instruments used a novel “music leaf” system, with a key frame reading holes punched in heavy manila rolls. A few later instruments played paper rolls on an ordinary tracker bar.
Disc music boxes made by B.H. Abrahams, St. Croix, Switzerland.
Disc music boxes made by the Symphonion Manufacturing Co. of New Jersey.
Jacot Music Box Co.
New York City. Imported, distributed, and repaired cylinder and disc music boxes, circa 1898-1911. U.S. distributor of Mermod, Stella, Mira, and other brands. C.H. Jacot invented the Jacot Safety Check, a mechanism that prevented cylinder and comb damage by stopping the cylinder if a stripped gear would otherwise allow it to spin suddenly. Jacot also patented a coin mechanism for cylinder music boxes.
Jenkins’ Sons, J.W., Music House
Kansas City, MO. Full-line music retailer. Distributed automatic instruments by Regina, Aeolian, American Photo Player, Operators Piano Co., J.P. Seeburg Piano Co., and others during its heyday.
Kalliope Musikwerke A.G.
Leipzig, Germany. Made disc music boxes 1895-1919. Predecessor firm 1895-1898 was called Kalliope Fabrik Mechanischer Musikwerke Espenhain, Wacker & Bock.
Vienna. Maker of cylinder musical movements, 1873-1887.
Chicago, IL, 1854-1959; Jasper, IN, 1959-1996. One of America’s largest manufacturers of pianos, including player pianos during the golden age. A major manufacturer of theatre pipe organs. Acquired by the Jasper Corporation 1959, which also acquired the Bösendorfer Klavierfabrik in Vienna, Austria, in 1966. Kimball International discontinued making pianos in 1996 but remains in business building a wide variety of furniture and cabinets.
Vienna. Maker of cylinder musical movements, 1896-? He died 1952.
Knabe, Wm., & Co.
Baltimore, MD. Made fine quality pianos, established in 1837. Incorporated into the American Piano Co. in 1908. One of the fine pianos in which the Ampico reproducing mechanism was installed.
Kohler & Campbell
(Kohler Industries; Kohler & Campbell Industries) New York City, 1896-c. 1930. An industrial giant, which controlled Autopiano and other piano companies, the Auto Pneumatic Action Co. (founded circa 1900; incorporated 1909), the Standard Pneumatic Action Co. (c. 1910), and the Republic Player Roll Corporation and DeLuxe Reproducing Roll Corporation (1918). The Auto Pneumatic Action Co. supplied Ampico reproducing piano mechanisms to the American Piano Company, 1912-1917, and to M. Welte & Sons for “Red Welte” (12 7/8″ T-100) reproducing pianos made in the United States, circa 1910-1918. Auto Pneumatic also made mechanisms for the Auto Deluxe Welte-Mignon (using 11¼” 9 per inch rolls) sold in over 100 piano brands. In 1917 the Standard Pneumatic Action Co. employed 600 people and manufactured about 800 player actions per week. Production ceased about 1930. After World War II, Kohler Industries made hand-played pianos, eventually moving to Granite Falls, NC. Piano production ceased circa 1980s.
Kohler & Chase
San Francisco, CA. Musical instrument dealer; sold music boxes, player pianos, electric pianos, and orchestrions, including Aeolian and Wurlitzer products during the golden age.
Leipzig, Germany. Make of disc music boxes (with and without projections) marketed mostly in England and Germany from 1894 to around 1904. Four disc sizes ranging from 13 to 33-1/2 inches are known.
Kuhl & Klatt
Berlin, Germany. Made electric pianos and orchestrions, circa 1900-1920s.
St. Suzanne, France. Made fine quality cylinder music boxes, 1833-1914. One of the few large producers of cylinder boxes outside of Switzerland.
Lador SA was founded by Adrian Lador in the late 19th century. They produced exclusively small movements of the 12, 18, 22 ,28 ,36 and 50 note types. They were taken over by Reuge in 1985 after going out of business.
Geneva, Switzerland, 1804-1873. Musical box maker who began production in 1838, was a partner with Isaac-Henry Metert from 1844 to 1852, and after the partnership ended carried on the business until his death when his son took over under the name Langdorff et Cie. The firm was eventually consolidated with Rivenc and Billon in 1902. From 1840 to 1870 Langdorff boxes had the year of manufacture and gamme number scored on the bass cylinder cap.
Leathurby, G. H.
San Francisco, CA. Distributed coin pianos and orchestrions including Wurlitzer (1910s) and Seeburg (1920s).
Geneva, Switzerland. Made fine-quality cylinder music boxes, circa 1812-1885. Various family members and associates produced cylinder boxes under their own names in several locations in Switzerland during this period.
Cardboard book-operated music boxes made by Leipziger Musikwerke Libellion, Schützold & Werner, Leipzig; later by F.A. Richter, Rudolstadt, Germany, 1890s-early 1900s.
Paris, France, 1840-1930s. One of Europe’s most important builders of fairground organs (called “Orchestrophones”), and later, dance organs (called “Jazzbandophones”).
Link Piano Company
Binghamton, NY. Made coin pianos and orchestrions, 1916-late 1920s. Also known as the Link Piano & Organ Co.
Disc music boxes and mechanical pianos made by the Original Musikwerke Paul Lochmann, Leipzig, Germany.
Looff, Charles I.D.
Brooklyn, NY; then Riverside, RI; then Long Beach, CA. Made carousels 1876-1919. Imported fairground organs for his carousels, including many by A. Ruth & Sohn.
Lyon & Healy
Chicago, IL, 1864-1980s. Music retailer which claimed to be the “World’s Largest Music House.” Sold Regina music boxes, Otto disc-operated Pianette mechanical pianos, Majestic 44-note coin pianos, all types of pianos, organs and other instruments, rolls, sheet music, and accessories. Its trade names included Empress, Washburn, and others.
Leipzig, Germany. Made electric pianos and orchestrions, 1902-c. 1930.
Prague. Maker of cylinder musical movements in typical Austrian format mostly installed in clock bases, 1854 (and possibly later) until 1909?
Mangels Carousell Works, W.F.
Coney Island, NY. Founded 1886. Repaired and manufactured carousels and other amusement rides. Sold Frati, Bruder, and Wurlitzer (deKleist) band organs. William Mangels operated the American Museum of Public Recreation, 1927-1955, America’s oldest documented museum that included barrel pianos and organs, electric pianos, orchestrions, and band organs. Many of these instruments later went to Horn’s Cars of Yesterday, Sarasota, FL, and Lewis Graham, Scarsdale, NY.
Marenghi, Charles, & Cie
Paris, France. Prominent European maker of fairground organs, circa 1900-1919.
Marquette Piano Company
Chicago, IL. Made Cremona coin pianos and orchestrions 1905-late ‘teens. The officers officially dissolved the company when they formed the Western Electric Piano Co. (as a secret subsidiary of the J.P. Seeburg Piano Co.) in 1924. However, it is doubtful if any Cremona pianos were actually manufactured after the late ‘teens.
Marshall & Wendell Piano Co.
Albany, NY. Made pianos, established in 1836. Acquired by the Foster-Armstrong Co. in 1899. Later, a popular Ampico reproducing piano brand.
Marshall Piano Co.
Chicago, IL. Piano manufacturing company set up within the factory of the J.P. Seeburg Piano Co. in 1919 and merged with that company in 1920. Previously, Seeburg had bought pianos from other manufacturers. Named for N. Marshall Seeburg, J.P. Seeburg’s son.
Mason & Hamlin Co.
Boston, MA. Made one of America’s premium piano brands, established in 1854. Acquired by the American Piano Co. in 1922. The finest brand in which the Ampico reproducing mechanism was installed on a regular production basis. Its acquisition by the American Piano Co. enabled that firm to compete effectively with the top-of-the-line Steinway Duo-Art marketed by the Aeolian Co.
Ste-Croix, Switzerland, 1816-early 1900s. Made fine quality cylinder music boxes, 1816-c. 1890s; Stella, Mira (Empress) disc boxes, 1890s-early 1900s. Widely distributed in America as well as Europe.
Switzerland, Geneva, 1801-1855. Isaac Henri Metert was possibly in business as early as 1836 making musical boxes and produced boxes during the period 1844 to 1852 with David Langdorff as Metert and Langdorff. The partnership won an award at the 1851 Great Exhibition held in London, England. Considered a high quality maker. Year of manufacture usually scratched into left cylinder cap along with the serial number (e.g. 2/48 – February, 1848).
Mills Novelty Co.
Chicago, IL. 1895-1950s. Made arcade machines, slot machines, and from about 1906-1930, music machines including the Violano-Virtuoso. Later made jukeboxes, ice cream machines, and other products.
Disc music boxes made by Mermod Frères, St. Croix, Switzerland, circa 1890s-early 1900s.
Molinari, G., & Sons
Brooklyn, NY. Imported barrel pianos and organs from Europe, circa 1862-early 1890s. Manufactured portable hand-cranked models, circa 1890s-1939. Absorbed into the B.A.B. Organ Co. in 1939.
Monarch Tool & Manufacturing Co.
Cincinnati, OH, 1903-1928; Covington, KY, 1928-present. Made coin slides, accumulators, chutes, wallboxes, tracker bars, music roll mechanisms, and other parts for many American manufacturers of coin pianos and orchestrions, including “kits” that were used by many small piano companies to build coin pianos.
Music boxes made by Leipziger Musikwerke (later Paul Ehrlich & Co.) of Leipzig, Germany, circa 1890s-early 1900s.
Antwerp, Belgium. One of Belgium’s largest makers of café organs and dance hall organs, 1898-1952. See van den Bosch, René.
National Automatic Music Co.
(National Piano Mfg. Co.) Grand Rapids, MI. Made coin pianos, circa 1909-mid 1920s, featuring an automatic roll changing mechanism that enabled patrons to select the next tune. Continued in business making jukeboxes under the name Automatic Musical Instrument Co. (AMI), predecessor to today’s Rowe-AMI.
National Calliope Corporation
Kansas City, MO. Made roll- and manually-played air calliopes, circa 1910s-1920s.
National Electric Player Piano Co.
St. Johnsville, NY. See Peerless Piano Player Co.
National Music Roll Co.
St. Johnsville, NY. See Peerless Piano Player Co.
Nelson-Wiggen Piano Company
Chicago, IL, 1922-1929. Made high quality coin pianos and orchestrions during the Prohibition era.
Disc music boxes which appear to have been made in Switzerland. Introduced in 1902, but had a very limited distributorship. Distributed in the United States by Imperial Symphonion. One model shifts the disc laterally at the end of each revolution, playing two tunes per disc.
New England Automatic Banjo Company
Boston, MA. One of two makers of the Encore Automatic Banjo. Established in 1896; reorganized as the Auto-Manufacturing Co. in 1899. Continued in business until the early 1900s. Owned territorial rights to Massachusetts, Maine, New Hampshire, and Vermont.
Geneva, Switzerland. Made fine quality cylinder music boxes, 1815-1881. Moved to London in 1881, distributed cylinder boxes made by others, and Polyphon and Regina disc boxes until the early 1900s.
North Tonawanda Barrel Organ Factory
North Tonawanda, NY. Founded by Eugene deKleist in 1893. Made barrel organs, mainly for the amusement industry. Eugene deKleist’s use of brass trumpets, clarinets, and piccolos established the “American style” of band organ through the late 1910s. Name changed to the deKleist Musical Instrument Manufacturing Co. in 1897 when its product line was expanded to supply the Rudolph Wurlitzer Co. of Cincinnati with its first coin pianos.
North Tonawanda Musical Instrument Works
North Tonawanda, NY. Made band organs 1906-c. 1918, coin pianos and orchestrions until the mid 1920s; also made photoplayers.
Prague, Josefov. Maker or distributor of musical movements of typical Austrian format mostly installed in clock bases, together with Johann Salisch ca. 1860.
Olbrich Jr., Anton
Vienna. Maker of musical movements in typical Austrian format mostly found in Austrian musical clocks, 1868-1892.
Olbrich Sr., Anton
Vienna. 1821-1865. Maker of cylinder movements in typical Austrian format. In cooperation with Joseph Olbrich before 1860.
Vienna. 1850-1875. Brother of Anton Olbrich Sr., maker of cylinder movements in typical Austrian format. In cooperation with Anton Olbrich Sr. before 1860.
Disc music boxes made by F.G. Otto & Sons, Jersey City, NJ, 1898-early 1900s.
Operators Piano Company
Chicago, IL. Made many different models of coin pianos and orchestrions, circa 1909-late 1920s. Brand names included Victor (early) and Coinola; also Reproduco theatre and mortuary roll-operated piano/organs.
Player reed organs made by the Aeolian Co., New York City, 1883-early 1900s.
Original Musikwerke Paul Lochmann G.m.b.H.
Leipzig and Zeulenrode, Germany. Made Lochmann “Original” disc music boxes and mechanical pianos, 1901-c. 1914.
Disc music boxes made by Bruno Rückert, Leipzig, Germany, late 1890s.
Oak disc cabinet with eleven and a half inch discs. Has manufacturer name etched in glass inside cabinet also name
in metal within cabinet.
Also made mechanical zither and player organ and piano orchestrion
Otto, F.G., and Sons
Jersey City, NJ. Made Criterion and Olympia disc music boxes, Capital cuff music boxes, and the Pianette disc piano 1875-c. 1908.
Ste-Croix, Switzerland. Several generations of family members made fine quality cylinder music boxes, 1813-early 1900s. The Paillard family made several important developments in cylinder box design and manufacturing, including improvements in tune changing, interchangeable cylinders, and the revolver box.
Leavenworth, KS. Made carousels and other amusement rides; major distributor of fairground and band organs circa early 1900s-1930. Imported Frati and Gebr. Bruder organs in the early years, and later sold Wurlitzer band organs and Tangley calliopes.
Peerless Piano Player Company
(Roth & Engelhardt; Engelhardt Piano Co.; National Music Roll Co.; National Piano Player Co.; National Electric Piano Co.) St. Johnsville, NY. One of America’s pioneer makers of coin pianos, orchestrions, and rolls circa 1890-1915. Acquired the Seybold Piano Co. of Elgin, IL circa 1914, declared bankruptcy in 1915. Frederick Kornburst, a former employee, continued making music rolls in the Peerless factory building under the name National Music Roll Co., and in the 1920s organized the National Electric Player Piano Co., manufacturing coin pianos and orchestrions.
Philadelphia Toboggan Co.
Philadelphia, PA. Produced carousels, 1903-1933, and other amusement rides and equipment to the present. Distributed many European and American fairground and band organs.
Philipps, J.D., & Söhne
Frankfurt, Germany. Made barrel pianos and orchestrions circa 1880s-1890s. Major manufacturer of Pianella electric pianos and orchestrions, Paganini solo violin pipe orchestrions, and Duca reproducing pianos, circa 1900s-1930.
Brand name for push-up piano players and player pianos made by Ludwig Hupfeld, A.G., Leipzig, Germany, circa late 1890s-1930.
Expression pianos made by Ludwig Hupfeld, A.G., Leipzig, Germany, circa 1904-1930.
Automatic piano with real violins, made by Ludwig Hupfeld, A.G., Leipzig, Germany, circa 1908-1930.
Brand name for electric pianos and orchestrions made by J.D. Philipps & Söhne, Frankfurt, Germany.
Cardboard book-operated mechanical pianos made by G. Racca of Bologna, Italy, circa 1886-1910.
Brand name for push-up piano players and player pianos made by the Aeolian Co., New York City.
New York City. Made 44-note coin pianos, circa 1900-1910.
New York City. Sales agent and importer for many types of musical instruments, including Frati barrel organs, circa late 1800s-early 1900s.
Leipzig, Germany, 1887-1930s. The world’s largest manufacturer of disc music boxes; the period of greatest popularity was from 1895-1905. At one time the firm employed over 1,000 people. In later years, sold mechanical pianos, pneumatically-played pianos, phonographs, and other items. Helped found the Regina Music Box Company in the U.S.
Pomero, P. & Co.
809-811 Federal St., Philadelphia, PA. Manufacturer of hand-cranked and coin-operated mechanical pianos, orchestrions and other instruments, 1894 through early 1900s.
Popper & Co.
Leipzig, Germany, 1890s-c. 1930. One of Germany’s leading makers of barrel pianos and orchestrions (1890s-mid ‘teens), roll-operated electric pianos and orchestrions (early 1900s-1930).
Prague. Around 1859. See Slawik & Preissler.
QRS Music Co.
DeKalb, IL, and other locations, 1919-present. Founded as a subsidiary of the Melville Clark Piano Co. in 1900, QRS eventually became America’s largest maker of player piano rolls. Its coin-operated division made coin piano and orchestrion rolls for Operators Piano Co., Marquette Piano Co., J.P. Seeburg Piano Co., and others. Melville Clark’s brother, Ernest G. Clark, was instrumental in developing the roll-making equipment for QRS. QRS was acquired by Tom Pletcher in 1918, moved to Chicago circa 1919, with branches in New York City and San Francisco during the 1920s. Acquired by Max Kortlander and moved to New York City in 1931. Acquired by Ramsi Tick and moved to Buffalo, NY, in 1966. (For related companies, see Melville Clark Piano Co. and Clark Orchestra Roll Co.)
Bologna, Italy. Maker of the Piano Melodica, a popular cardboard book-operated mechanical piano for home use, circa 1886-1910.
See Rzebitschek, Franz.
See Rzebitschek, Gustave.
Regina Music Box Company
Rahway, NJ, 1892-1921. America’s largest maker of disc music boxes, selling about 100,000 mainly from 1892 through the mid ‘teens. Sponsored by the Polyphon Musikwerke in Leipzig, Germany. Also made cylinder phonographs, combination disc music box/ disc phonographs, and musical clocks. Sold mechanical pianos and a few pneumatically-played coin pianos. Made floor polishers and vacuum cleaners starting in 1924. The brand name is still used today.
Combination disc music box/ disc phonographs made by the Regina Music Box Co.
Small photoplayers and mortuary organs made by the Operators Piano Company, Chicago, IL, circa mid ‘teens-late 1920s.
Resotone Grand Company
New York City. Made the Resotone Grand, an automatic celesta, in the early years of the 20th century.
Düsseldorf, Germany, 1868-1945. Made hand-cranked barrel organs until circa 1900, and book-operated fairground organs thereafter.
Rivenc, Ami François
Geneva, Switzerland. Made fine quality cylinder music boxes, 1869-1890.
Roepke & Co., Ltd.
Manchester, England. Made cardboard strip-operated music boxes, circa late 1890s.
Roth & Engelhardt
St. Johnsville, NY. See Peerless Piano Player Co.
Roullet & Decamps
Paris, France. Major manufacturer of automata, many with musical movements, circa late 1860s-present. After the 1920s, the spring-operated mechanisms were replaced with electric motors. Founder Jean Roullet’s great-granddaughter Cosette and her husband Georges Bellancourt operate the firm today.
Ruth, A., & Sohn
Waldkirch, Germany, circa 1840s-1940. One of Germany’s premier builders of hand-cranked barrel organs from 1870 to 1900, and fairground organs, with most being built circa 1900-1914. The firm was taken over by Heinrich Voigt (Frankfurt, Germany) whose grandson continues to repair organs and manufacture cardboard book music today.
(from around 1870 on spelled řebiček), Gustav. Son of Franz Rzebitschek. Successor to Franz Rzebitschek making musical movements of typical Austrian format primarily for musical clock bases, 1870-1897.
(from around 1870 on was spelled řebiček), Franz. Maker of musical movements who won several prizes for his boxes and musical movements in world exhibitions. Movements were made in typical Austrian format with bass notes on the right side and next to the governor. These musical movements were made mostly for clocks and can be found in the Austrian style of clocks, 1828-1870. In cooperation with Alois Willenbacher until 1842.
Vienna, see Einsidl.
Prague, Josefov. Maker or distributor of musical movements of typical Austrian format mostly installed in clock bases, together with Anton Nowak ca. 1860.
Vienna. Maker of cylinder movements of typical Austrian format, 1854-?.
Vienna. Maker of cylinder movements of typical Austrian format. 1856-?.
Villingen, Germany. Supplied pipework to German orchestrion builders, circa 1900-1920s.
Seeburg, J.P., Piano Company
Chicago, IL. Made coin pianos and orchestrions, 1907-1928. America’s largest manufacturer during the 1920s. Renamed the J.P. Seeburg Company in 1928 and then J.P. Seeburg Corporation in 1929; made jukeboxes, vending machines and other products until March 1980. Modern companies using the Seeburg trademark have made jukeboxes and computers.
Strasbourg, France. Made accordion-playing machines, some with piano and/or drums, which realistically duplicated the playing of a live accordionist, circa 1920s and 30s.
Disc music boxes made in Dresden, Germany, 1890s-early 1900s. One model shifts the disc laterally at the end of each revolution, playing two tunes per disc.
Slawik & Preissler
Prague. Makers of musical movements of typical Austrian format, similar to those of Rzebitschek, ca. 1859.
Spillman Engineering Corporation
See Herschell-Spillman Company.
Steck, George, & Company
New York City. Made pianos. Established in 1857. Acquired by the Aeolian Co. in 1903. A popular Duo-Art reproducing piano brand.
Steinway & Sons
New York City, 1853-present; Hamburg, Germany, 1880-present. Widely considered to be one of the world’s foremost pianos; the finest brand in which the Aeolian Co. installed its Duo-Art reproducing mechanism.
Disc music boxes made by Mermod Frères, St. Croix, Switzerland, 1890s-early 1900s.
Vienna. Makers of musical movements of typical Austrian format, ca. 1870.
Brand name for many different types of orchestrion rolls made by Eugene DeRoy, Antwerp, Belgium, circa 1920s-1960s.
Symphonion Manufacturing Co.
Bradley Beach, NJ. American branch of the Symphonion Musikwerke; made Imperial Symphonion disc music boxes circa 1895-1900.
Leipzig, Germany, 1885-late 1920s. One of Germany’s largest manufacturers of disc music boxes; also sold automatic pianos and phonographs after the early 1900s.
Muscatine, IA. Made “Calliaphone” air calliopes, 1914-c. late 1920s. Brand name currently used on new calliopes made by the Miner Manufacturing Co., Donnellson, IA.
Reproducing pianos made by Ludwig Hupfeld, A.G., Leipzig, Germany, circa late ‘teens-1930.
Geneva, Switzerland. Made fine quality cylinder music boxes, 1868-1889
Germany. Produced from the 1890’s to the early 1900’s by B. Grosz & Co., Leipzig. Several models were available playing disc sizes of 18, 22.5, 30, and 52 cm. They were sold in relatively small quantities compared with major disc box manufacturers and very few Troubadours survive today.
Cardboard strip-operated music boxes made circa late 19th century.
Four generations of family members have built and repaired portable hand-cranked organs, street organs (including the world-famous Dutch street organ “The Arab”), fairground organs, and dance organs since 1884. Business names have included Jan Verbeeck (1884-1914, Antwerp, Belgium); J. Verbeeck & Sons (Birmingham, then London, England, 1914-1949); Pierre Verbeeck (Antwerp, Belgium, 1918-1938); Verbekson (Deurne, Belgium, 1944-1947); and Verbeeck Zoon (St. Job-in-‘t-Goor, Belgium, 1965-1979). Johnny Verbeeck and his wife Marijke have operated the business in St. Job-in-‘t-Goor under the name J. Verbeeck since 1979.
Coin pianos made by the Operators Piano Co., Chicago, IL, circa 1909-1912.
Automatic pianos with violin pipes, made by Gebrüder Weber Orchestrionfabrik, Waldkirch, Germany
Automatic pianos with real violin(s), made by the Mills Novelty Company, Chicago, IL, circa 1909-1930. (Mills marketed the violin-only Automatic Virtuosa by 1906).
Höchst (Frankfurt), Germany. Successor to A. Ruth & Sohn, Waldkirch, in 1938. Remodeled and repaired fairground organs and made cardboard music books and paper rolls. His grandson continues the business today.
Wagner & Levine
Mexico City and Puebla, Mexico. Major musical instrument retailer, circa late 19th century-present. Sold music boxes, organettes, barrel organs, player and reproducing pianos, orchestrions, and a complete line of musical instruments.
See Weber, Gebrüder, Waldkircher Orchestrionfabrik.
Brand name used by Lyon & Healy, musical instrument retailer of Chicago, IL, on coin pianos made by Nelson-Wiggen, circa 1920s, and regular pianos as late as the 1960s.
Weber Piano Company
New York City. Made fine quality pianos, established in 1851. Acquired by the Aeolian Co. in 1903. Next to the Steinway, the Weber was the finest piano in which the Aeolian Co. installed its Duo-Art reproducing mechanism.
Weber, Gebrüder, Waldkircher Orchestrionfabrik
Waldkirch, Germany, 1883-early 1930s. Made barrel and then cardboard-operated organs (early years); then roll-operated electric pianos and orchestrions (from 1904 on) that are highly regarded for their exceptional musicality, due to their excellent design and music roll arrangements.
Vöhrenbach, Germany. Made barrel organs, late 19th century. August Weber (who later founded Gebr. Weber, Waldkircher Orchestrionfabrik) apprenticed there.
Saarn a/d Ruhr, Germany. Made portable hand-cranked and fairground organs, late 19th century-1944.
Welte, M., & Söhne
Vöhrenbach, Germany (1832-1872); Freiburg, Germany (1872-1950); sales office in New York City (opened 1906); factory in Poughkeepsie, NY (1913-1917). Manufactured flute clocks and barrel orchestrions (early years), roll-operated orchestrions (c.1887-1920s), pipe organs (1900-WWII; mostly between 1913-1929), reproducing pianos (1904-1929). Also marketed a few fairground organs and coin pianos. One of the world’s most important automatic musical manufacturing companies.
Western Electric Piano Company
Chicago, IL. Made coin pianos and a few small keyboardless orchestrions, 1924-1928; a few early jukeboxes, 1928-early 1930s. A secretly-owned subsidiary of the J.P. Seeburg Piano Company with no connection to the Western Electric telephone equipment firm.
Whitlock, J.W. & Co.
Rising Sun, IN. Developer and subcontract manufacturer of the Wurlitzer Automatic Harp, 1905-1911, and paper rolls for it.
Prague, 1828-1842. See Rzebitschek..
Hanover-Kleefeld, Germany. Made fairground organs (1890-early 1930s) and portable hand-cranked organs (1890-1944).
Wurlitzer, Rudolph, Co.
Rudolph Wurlitzer founded the company in 1856 in Cincinnati, OH, as a musical instrument retailer, selling all types of instruments. The Wurlitzer Co. was the country’s leading distributor of Regina music boxes (1890s), exclusive distributor of J.D. Philipps orchestrions (1903-1914), the country’s largest distributor and then a major manufacturer of coin pianos, orchestrions, and photoplayers (late 1890s-late 1920s), band organs (late 1890s-1930s), and theatre organs (late ‘teens-1929). The manufacturing division in North Tonawanda, NY, was called the Rudolph Wurlitzer Manufacturing Co. In the 1920s, Wurlitzer’s coin piano and orchestrion sales were overtaken by the J.P. Seeburg Piano Co. In the 1940s, Wurlitzer took the lead with its colorful new jukeboxes, to be overtaken by Seeburg again in the 1950s. After WWII, Wurlitzer was also a leading producer of hand-played pianos (mainly for the home market), electronic pianos, modern spinet player pianos and organs. Piano and electronic keyboard production was sold to the Baldwin Piano and Organ Co. in 1988. At the time of this printing, a Wurlitzer factory in Germany continues to build adaptations of the famous 1946 jukebox, the Model 1015. The current version plays audio CDs.
Vienna. Maker of musical movements of typical Austrian format, successor to Josef Olbrich, 1882-1905.
Leipzig, Germany; branch factories in Moscow and St. Petersburg (Leningrad), Russia. Maker of Adler and Fortuna disc music boxes, circa late 1800s-early 1900s.
de Kezel, Julius
Brussels, Belgium. Hupfeld distributor, orchestrion repairer circa early 20th century.
deKleist Musical Instrument Manufacturing Company
North Tonawanda, NY, 1897-1909. New name in 1897 for the North Tonawanda Barrel Organ Factory, established by Eugene deKleist in 1893. The name was changed after deKleist agreed to sell its products exclusively to the Rudolph Wurlitzer Co., including a new line of coin pianos in addition to its established line of band organs. Purchased by Wurlitzer in 1909, the deKleist factory became the nucleus of Wurlitzer’s automatic musical instrument division in North Tonawanda.
van Steenput Frères
Puurs, Belgium. Built and converted fairground and street organs circa 1890-1930.
van den Bosch, René
Antwerp, Belgium. Acquired Mortier’s remaining parts when that firm went out of business in 1952; continued building dance organs and electronic dance organs for several years.
von Kleist, Eugen
Original name of Eugene deKleist, founder of the North Tonawanda Barrel Organ Factory, later called the deKleist Musical Instrument Manufacturing Co., acquired by the Rudolph Wurlitzer Co. in 1909.