A Mills Music Violano Virtuoso, pending inspection
Lot 531W
A good coin operated Mills Violano-Virtuoso, single violin model
circa 1915
US$ 18,000 - 25,000
£11,000 - 15,000
Lot Details
A good coin operated Mills Violano-Virtuoso, single violin model
circa 1915
With G D E A violin tuning and start/stop buttons, piano accompaniment with the Mills Violano decal to piano action rail, roll drive mechanism with period on/rewind switches and motor, cash box with ring pull, rosin block and wheel-bows, counter-weight shot-filled chambers on extended rods through to the drive mechanism chamber, in mahogany case with twin column front detail, the double adverse-hinged doors to the front, above motor doors, typical hinged plain top as the swell flap, serial number 3177.
height 64 1/2in (164cm); width 43 1/4in (110cm); depth 30 3/4in (77cm)


  • Magnificent Mechanical Musical Instruments and Automata, October 7th, 2012, New York, Bonhams, lot 22.
    Encyclopedia of Automatic Musical Instruments, Q. David Bowers, 1972, pp.506-525
    The Golden Age of Automatic Musical Instruments, Arthur A. Reblitz, 2001, p.195, pp. 198-200
    Automatic Pianos, Arthur W. J. G. Ord-Hume, 2004, p.52, 246

    A special type of piano frame was designed by Henry K. Sandell and filed as a patent on June 4 1912. It consisted of the longer bass strings arranged in the centre, whilst flanked in alternating order by the upwards scale, in a symmetrical fashion. This exerted less stress to the frame and it even stayed in tune for longer.
    Mills made several models of the Violano-Virtuoso machines, with ones even containing both cello and violins. However these were short-lived in the marketplace, while the Violano-Virtuoso was sold to the extent of around 4,000 instruments. Few survive in working condition today.

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