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The Mascotte organette was made by Gately Mfg. It plays a 2.5″ roll, making it one of the smallest organettes ever produced. It has 14 notes.


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The Symphonia organette was produce by the Wilcox & White Organ Co. of Meriden, CT circa 1894. It is a 20 note reed organ.

Polly Portable

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The Polly Portable Phonograph was manufactured by the Polly Portable Phonograph Company of New York around 1925.

The unusual aspect of the Polly is that it does not have reproducer nor a horn. They are replaced by 16” diameter piece of stiff paper with an approximately 45-degree wedge cut out of it. It becomes a horn by bringing the edges of the wedge together and fitting a rivet on one edge into a notch on the other. The result looks something like a small satellite dish. When not in use, the horn folds into thirds and conveniently  stores inside the lid.

The paper cone produces a nice tone and has adequate volume.


Single Violano

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This is a Mills Single Violano-Virtuoso. The Mills Novelty Company produced from 4,000 to 5,000 Violanos between 1914 and 1930.

Unlike most automatic instruments, Violanos operate on electricity rather than air. Holes in a scrolling paper roll cause electrical contacts, which energize solenoids to trigger piano hammers, press metal fingers on the violin neck, and lower bow wheels onto the violin strings. The violin can play 64 notes, up to four at a time; the piano has 44 notes.

Columbia Majestic

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The Columbia Majestic, also known as the “BD”, came out in 1905. It featured an elegant rounded-corner case and a nickel-plated paneled horn. The model sold for $100.

Le Charmeur

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This pretty French phonograph from the early 1900s plays two-minute cylinder recordings. It came in a velvet lined, faux leather case.

Ad from the Petit Parisien newspaper of October 1902.


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The Mikiphone was manufactured by the Swiss company Maison Paillard. They produced between 150,000 and 200,000 of them in the mid 1920’s. At 4″ in diameter and under two pounds it is the smallest portable phonograph. Though it is pictured with a small record it is capable of playing full-size ones. In place of a horn, it uses a Bakelite resonator box which breaks into two parts for packing. A diagram in the lid shows how to just barely fit all the parts inside.

Phonograph Lamp

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This is a combination phonograph and lamp manufactured by Burns & Pollock in the 1920s. The turntable is driven by an electric motor, but there is no electrical amplification. The base of the lamp doubles as the horn, directing the sound down and out. There are two lightbulbs below the phonograph and a small bulb next to the turntable.

HMV Lumiere

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This is a model 460 HMV Lumiere in an oak case. HMV (His Master’s Voice) was a brand of the Gramophone Company Ltd. of London. The Lumiere gramophone replaced the usual reproducer, tone arm and horn with a pleated paper diaphragm. The center of the diaphragm is directly connected to the needle via a thin metal lever. The Lumiere was not a commercial success and was only manufactured for two years (1924-1925).

Pedestal Style Gem

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Gem roller organs were made by the Autophone Co. of Ithaca, NY from the mid-1800s to the 1900s. This is a very early model; later ones have an enclosed bellows. It is also known as a cob organ because the music is provided on a  cob-sized wooden cylinder with inserted steel pins. As the cylinder rotates, the pins press the valve covers to open them.

One of the least expensive organettes, it was advertised in the Sears catalog for $3.25. It has 20 notes.

(photo provided by Harold Draper of Roller Organ Restorations)