Western Trails Museum
Western Trails Museum
Knott's Berry Farm

Mills Violano Virtuoso

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Knotts Berry Farm
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Posted March 2022

Violano Virtuosa
Mills Violano Virtuosa
  • Manufactures By: The Mills Novelty Company
  • Location: Chicago, Illinois
  • Made Approximately From: 1909-1930

The Mills Novelty Company was primarily a manufacturer of gambling machines but mainly remembered for the Violano Virtuoso. The Virtuoso was invented and patented by Henry K Sandell at age twenty-seven. He joined Mills Novelty Co. in 1904 after inventing and patenting a number of electrical and mechanical field devices in the past.

In 1912 Henry K Sandell patented and invented a new piano design with the bass strings in the center and the treble on each side. In 1909 the US Patented Office named the VIOLANO VIRTUOSO "The greatest scientific invention of the decade". Production ended about 1930 but rolls for the Violano Virtuoso were cut as late as 1935. In 1925 the Violano Virtuoso listed for 2000 dollars or terms of 300 dollars cash and 25 payments of 68 dollars each month.

Information from: Encyclopedia of Automatic Musical Instruments by: Q David Bowers

Mills Violano Virtuosa