Automatic String Instruments

Coin operated barrel piano

    Coin operated barrel piano

    Belgium, Brussels

    Circa 1910

    Fabrique de pianos automatiques et d’orchestrions E. Mazzoletti, Fabrique de pianos automatiques Ch. Romano

    Wood, brass, steel, glass, mirror, fabric; wood carving, carpentry and mechanical work, engraving

    195 x 120 x 85 cm, 250 kg

    On the casing: “E. MAZZOLETTI”, “BRUXELLES”. On melodies indicator: “CH. ROMANO”, “UCCLE BRUXELLES”; numbers from 0 through 9.On the sticker: “FABRIQUE DE PIANOS AUTOMATIQUES”, “D. ROMANO”, “PAU 231, Rue Lespy PAU”, handwritten inscription: “19”


    Coin operated barrel piano in wooden walnut veneered case on the socle, with two folding carrying handles on lateral sides, with carved elements, on the platform with support rollers. A keel-shaped pediment with arch and carved bust of a knight is on the case top. Carved volutes, half columns, ornament and frieze is decorated with the mask of a fancy animal. The front panel, with half columns on both sides, is divided into three sections. There is a niche in the central removable section with lock. The niche is covered with green fabric. A figure of a casually dressed street boy is fixed on the protruding platform. A mirror with engraved ornament is beneath it. The lateral sections are the stained-glass doors made from mirrors with facets and engraving, and blue glass with golden inserts. The mirrors with engraving are beneath, carved garlands are above. The removable lid of pinned barrel is on the right side of the casing with the carved ornament. Onlay with coin slot is on the left side, a crank changing melodies and indicator with the melodies numbers from 0 through 9 and inscriptions. Removable front panel with ornately shaped plate and lock is fixed on the socle, exchangeable pinned barrel in inside. Coin operated musical movement consists of a mandolin-effect piano with inscription on the casing and a pinned barrel with ten tunes. Ring gear connected with the drive mechanism is fixed on the barrel left end Electric drive (electric motor, gear, engine speed controller, transformer and on/off switch) is mounted in extra space covered with glass on the rear side. Paper sticker with typographic inscription is on the top part “FABRIQUE DE PIANOS AUTOMATIQUES”, “D. ROMANO”, “PAU 231, Rue Lespy PAU”, “19”. Judging by the apertures in the left side, the drive was initially manual, and later the instrument was equipped with electric motor. Three barrels and key are in the set. Music media: pinned barrel.