Monday, July 2, 2012

Did I hear Music at the Main Street Train Station?


Did I Hear Music at the Main Street Train Station?

 Nelson-Wiggen Piano Company Logo.

The answer is YES! During our last trip to the Disneyland Resort my husband wanted to do a second Tinder Ride. This time he wanted the C. K. Holiday (his favorite Disneyland Train) instead of the E. P. Ripley. As I stated before in my post about that Tinder Ride there are interesting things to see in the Main Street Station. We never mind taking the time to look around.

I know I mentioned the Nelson-Wiggen Mechanical Music Box. It is behind a red velvet rope but not to keep you from playing it. It sits next to the door the DLRR Train Conductors use to get on and off the loading platform.

This fantastic machine still works! For the cost of .10¢ you can listen to a song played on this multi instrument machine! It is amazing because this machine is an original and not a reproduction. It is between 80 to 90 years old! It was manufactured sometime between 1922 and 1929.

The Nelson-Wiggen Piano Company, of Chicago, Illinois, incorporated and operated by two very talented former Seeburg employees, was a relative latecomer to the mechanical music era, being incorporated in 1922. Consequently, the company's total production was mainly confined to only about seven years, a short period of time compared to other contemporary manufacturers of coin-operated pianos and orchestrions. Nonetheless, Nelson-Wiggen managed to produce a high-quality line of small keyboard and cabinet style coin-operated pianos and orchestrions. Unfortunately, because of its late start into the field of automatic music, a relatively small number of Nelson-Wiggen instruments survive today.

I do not know the history of this actual machine and hope to find out more about it on future trips to Disneyland. I am going to attempt to find a serial number on the machine as I did not see it noted on the website that maintains a registry of these grand old players. I hope to be able to get it added to the registry so people will know it is there and still working well.

Here is video I shot of the Nelson-Wiggen playing.



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