Regina Music Box

Polyphon
Date of appearance: 1905
Trademark: Regina Music Box Company
Dimensions: 55 × 34 × 130 cm
Tags: music


A LARGE UPRIGHT WALNUT POLYCHROME PAINTED ROOKWOOD FINISH DISK MUSIC PLAYING CABINET WITH DOUBLE COMB AND SHORT BED PLATE STYLE 6715 1/2'' DISKS CIRCA 1905 • the hinged doors painted with a scene of two gentlemen in 18th century dress courting a lady, the sides with painted country scenes, the top half of cabinet containing the musical movement, the bottom half with hinged slotted compartment for disk storage • the movement with brass plate and steel teeth on double combs, speed control lever to the right • accompanied by 13 disks, each with one tune Until the 1880s, music boxes and players used interchangeable cylinders rotating against a toothed comb. In the late 1880s, the interchangeable music disk box was invented and started to phase out the much more large and cumbersome cylinders. The Regina Music Box Company was established in 1892 in Rahway, New Jersey, as an offshoot of the established Polyphon Musikwerke company in Leipzig, Germany. Around the turn of the century, music disk players were becoming less desirable as other methods of music listening were becoming available. The Regina Music Box Company eventually turned to making vacuum cleaners. The present lot distinguishes itself from other music boxes made by Regina in the detail of the paintings to the case, and the large, upright cabinet. The cabinet is hand painted by a single artist, and this type of work was referred to by Regina as 'Rookwood finish.' Presented as an option in the Regina catalogue, the Rookwood finish is extremely rare, likely due to the extra labor and cost needed to produce it. Less costly examples included cases where decorations were applied by decal or inlaid wood. The music player itself is an extremely fine and desirable short bedplate piece, with a sprocket to the outside facilitating the rotation of the 15 1/2 inch disks. Most music players of the era used a single comb for playing the disks. However the present lot has a double comb which, if maintained properly such as this one, produces a much deeper, richer, and ethereal sound. The very last of the Regina music boxes used the particular arrangement of this lot. The short bedplate extends only halfway across the width of the case and is bridged to an additional sounding board underneath it. With the additional sounding board, the sound of the upright cabinet is increased and enhanced dramatically, and the short bed plate machines are extremely sought after by collectors. Within the cabinet there is a drawer to hold the player’s selection of musical disks.

Regina Music Box
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