CANVASES, CARATS AND CURIOSITIES

The Violano Virtuoso by Mills Novelty Company

2 minute read

 

Singled out by the U.S. government in 1909 as one of the eight greatest inventions of the decade when it was introduced at the Alaska Yukon Pacific Exposition, the Mills Violano-Virtuoso stands as one of the most important and incredible musical devices ever made. With its finely tuned 64-note violin and an accompanying 44-note piano, the "Single Mills" as it became known to collectors, was a revolutionary machine, offering businesses and homeowners an affordable alternative to hiring live orchestras. Some even contended that the Violano-Virtuoso could play to perfection many complex and up-tempo arrangements that most orchestras would not even attempt!

Perfected and patented in 1912 by Henry K. Sandell, the Violano-Virtuoso was produced in limited quantities until 1929 and could be found in the very finest restaurants, hotels and oceanliners. In fact, the Violano-Virtuoso was one of the few American-made mechanical musical devices to be distributed world-wide to the most exclusive international clientele. This example is housed in its mahogany case and is a true rarity in that it remains in exceptionally fine, working condition.

 

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