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Regina Music Boxes: The Sound Of Old America


In the wacky world of collectable music boxes, you don’t see a lot of American music boxes.  Collectors usually drool over Japanese or European models.  The only other American maker was Schmid music boxes, which went out of business in 1995.  But there is a rare bunch from America’s only music box factory, which sadly stopped about 1919, partially due to the effects of the First World War  The factory went on to make vacuum cleaner parts, but new Regina music boxes were no more.

Old World Meets New

Regina music boxes began in the late 1800’s, when a European founder of Polyphon company, Gustav Brachhausen, opened up a factory in America.  Polyphon was it’s own kind of music box, so at first Regina music boxes were Polyphons sold under a different name.  Then, tastes in music boxes changed and Regina music boxes began to take on a more unique style.

Who knows where this would have lead if Alexander Graham Bell hadn’t come along with a little device called the phonograph.  This basically killed off most of the music box industry by 1905. Somehow, Regina was the only factory that managed to survive.  However, it was entering the twilight of its life as a maker of Regina music boxes.  When the radio came around, that was the final nail in the coffin.

Sounds Distinctive

The main reason why Regina music boxes are so sought after is that they are considered the best sounding music boxes ever made.  Regina music boxes after 1909 were particularly the best sounding, using a double comb device that made a far more intricate tune possible to be played on a little music box.  The notes for most music boxes, including Regina music boxes, consist of bumps on a slowly turning metal cylinder.  The music is placed when a bump strikes a metal comb, making a soft chime.

In consequence, Regina music boxes that still work are far more valuable and far more expensive than just any old Regina.  If you do happen to invest in a silent Regina music box, keep in mind that you would have to find a repair shop to hand make replacement parts. This does not come cheap.  The motors looked much like the motor for a wind-up watch.

Working Regina music boxes are priceless, bringing you back to a time when things were ea little less complicated and a little more devoted to the pleasures of the moment.


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    Filed Under: Japanese Music Boxes Tagged with regina music boxes, schmid music boxes