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2003/8/10D Music roll in box, Violano Virtuoso, 'No. 2929 - Favorite College Football Marches', paper / cardboard / plastic / metal, music roll made by The Playrite Music Roll Company for Hack Music Rolls, Annapolis, Maryland, USA, box made by Longview Fi
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Object statement
Music roll in box, Violano Virtuoso, 'No. 2929 - Favorite College Football Marches', paper / cardboard / plastic / metal, music roll made by The Playrite Music Roll Company for Hack Music Rolls, Annapolis, Maryland, USA, box made by Longview Fibre Company, Milwaukee, Wisconsin, USA, 1996-1997
The Violano Virtuoso was developed and produced by the Mills Novelty Company of the USA in 1909. It was developed at the time when player pianos and mechanical coin-in-slot devices were extremely popular and embraced this new form of public entertainment. The Violano, as the name suggests, was a combination of a piano and violin that was operated by a paper roll. Although similar in this respect to most player pianos by holding musical information on its roll, it used an electro-mechanical system rather than a pneumatic system to operate the hammers. The Violano Virtuoso was designed for public places and was activated by putting a coin in a slot which started the mechanism. During this period several other mechanical instruments were developed by the Mills Company and others which played a variety of instruments apart from the piano. These included the Viol-Cello, the Viol-Xylophone, the Mills String Quartette and the Encore automatic banjo.

The Mills Novelty Company of Chicago was established in about 1900 and also manufactured gambling and arcade machines as well as a variety of automatic musical instruments. The Violano Virtuoso was the idea of Henry K Sandell an inventor and employee of the company. The forerunner, known as the Automatic Virtuosa, was an automatically played violin and was marketed in 1905. By 1909 the design had been improved to include a piano which became known as the Violano Virtuoso. The US Patent Office selected it later that year for its display at the Alaska Yukon Pacific Exposition in Seattle. The instrument however, was not released to the public until 1911. It featured a unique symmetrically strung piano frame where the bass strings were at the centre of the frame and the treble strings radiated out to the edges from the centre. This distributed the string pressure more evenly across the frame.

Production of the Violano Virtuoso seems to have finished in about 1930. Actual production numbers are not known but it has been estimated that approximately 4,500 were produced (see Q David Bowers, Encyclopedia of Automatic Musical Instruments, Vestal Press, USA, 1972).
The music roll and box were probably designed by the Mills Novelty Company, USA.

The music roll was made by the Playrite Piano Roll Company for Hack Music Rolls. Dick Hack initiated and organised the Violano Rolls Project in 1993 to give owners of Violano Virtuoso machines an opportunity to buy reproduction music rolls as originals were scarce or becoming unplayable. The project was made viable by offering batches of rolls for sale so the sufficient demand allowed production to happen.

The box was made by Longview Fibre Company, Milwaukee, Wisconsin, USA.

The music roll and box were made in 1996-1997.
The music roll is intended for use with the Violano Virtuoso H6733.

 This text content licensed under CC BY-NC.

Description
Music roll in box, Violano Virtuoso, 'No. 2929 - Favorite College Football Marches', paper / cardboard / plastic / metal, music roll made by The Playrite Music Roll Company for Hack Music Rolls, Annapolis, Maryland, USA, box made by Longview Fibre Company, Milwaukee, Wisconsin, USA, 1996-1997.

Music roll for Violano Virtuoso in box. Brown paper music roll wrapped around spool with black plastic ends. Label listing contents of the roll stuck to leading edge of roll. The label includes title of roll and number, title of each piece, composer and/or lyricist and copyright information as well as original Violano catalogue number. A loose label with these details is also in the box.

Rectangular box made of thick brown cardboard with lid and base. Lid has writing on various parts. The top has information about the music roll and the manufacturer's name and address. Storage instructions are on either side of this text. Handling instructions are on one side. The other side has the name of the box maker and capacity of box. One end has a label with the contents of the roll.

Designed: Mills Novelty Company; Chicago, Illinois, USA; 1909 - 1930

Made: Playrite Piano Roll Company; Maryland, USA; 1996 - 1997

Made: Hack Music Rolls; Maryland, USA; 1996 - 1997

Made: Longview Fibre Company; Maryland, USA; 1996 - 1997
Marks
See parts for marks information.
2003/8/10D
Production date
1909 - 1930

 This text content licensed under CC BY-SA.
Subjects
+ Public entertainment
+ Patents
+ Music reproduction
+ popular music
+ Performing arts
Short persistent URL
Concise link back to this object: http://from.ph/12187
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{{cite web |url=http://from.ph/12187 |title=2003/8/10D Music roll in box, Violano Virtuoso, 'No. 2929 - Favorite College Football Marches', paper / cardboard / plastic / metal, music roll made by The Playrite Music Roll Company for Hack Music Rolls, Annapolis, Maryland, USA, box made by Longview Fi |author=Powerhouse Museum |accessdate=2 October 2014 |publisher=Powerhouse Museum, Australia}}


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