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Player violin mechanism (foreground) and player piano mechanism (background)

Both the player piano and violin are controlled by the perforated roll located in the lower cabinet.


Self-playing combination violin-piano
First manufactured in 1909, the Violano-Virtuoso is a self-playing combination violin-piano that was popular in homes, restaurants, clubs, and resorts until the late 1920s. Powered by electricity, it plays paper music rolls. Holes on the right of the paper roll activate the mechanism for the mechanical violin; those on the left, the piano. Selections ranged from popular tunes to such classics as Beethoven's "Violin Concerto," a tour de force for the mechanical violin.

The instrument shown here was made especially for the Smithsonian in 1914 by Mills Novelty Co., Chicago.
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Learn more!
· American Violins
· Advertisement from the Violano-Virtuoso Handbook, about 1910

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