The Roth Music Collection |
Nickelodeons & Orchestrions
This Nelson Wiggens Style 6 is one of our favorite pieces and has been in our
collection for many years. It played using a 10 tune rewindable roll and has
many added instruments accompanying the piano such as zylophones,
drum, triangle, wood block, snare drum and cymbals.
The Encore Automatic Banjo is the only reproduction in the collection
because of it being almost extinct. It usually receives the most requests
to be played because of the unique playing mechanism. It operates
using a continuous 5 tune roll.
Fred & Deanna with their 1880's 10 tune Regina 27" selectable player
and 1916 Wurlitzer model A nickelodeon with percussion and pipes.
This is a 1928 Seeburg Audiophone vacuum powered 12 play juke box. Each record
is on a separate turn
table and rotates in a ferris wheel fashion to make the selection.
Seeburg used their compact nickelodeon case to house the mechanism. A rather
crude machine by today's standards. Twenty years later, Seeburg would become
the industry leader with their 100 play mechanism. The beautiful machine in the rear
is the Wurlitzer model 1080-A. This case was built from 1946 to 1948. This was
Wurlitzer's more formal case, which was used in upscale establishments, such as
restaurants. The competing juke by Wurlitzer was the famous model 1015 in 1946-7
and the highly colorful model 1100 in 1948. The one you are looking at was the
1948 model. It carried the much higher technology 1100 mechanism which could be
easily converted to play the new 45 rpm records that were introduced in 1949. All
three cases were designed by the infamous Paul Fuller and are very collectable today.
Engineered in 1906, this third model of the Gabels Automatic Entertainer led
the juke box industry with its 24 play accoustical machine. The real genius
was a patented mechanism used to change Victrola needles before every record
John Gabel had virtually no competition except in court where
all the giants of the industry were trying to steal his patent. Until standardizing
the width of a Victrola record groove in 1928, along with electric amplification, did
John's sales begin to fall. In an attempt to keep the company solvent, he allowed
his customers to send the machines back, where he cut the cabinet down, and installed
a speaker and amplifier. He succeeded in producing machines until the war.
This is the Wurlitzer "Victory" model produced during the war years of 1942-1945.
Because almost all metal and other materials needed for the war effort were
restricted from civilian use, this box was made using no metal and no plastic.
The Victory was manufactured to allow an operator to upgrade the looks of one
of his aging jukes.The case came empty with two front doors made to accept either
the earlier Wurlitzer rotary mechanism or the newer keyboard models. Instead of
plastic, painted glass panels were used. The bezels needed for the machine were
a hardened linoleum. Every screw or metal part had to be salvaged from the donor
box. It was fun to find patriotic songs from WWII. Many could not pass today's ridiculous
PC code. Again the case was designed by Paul Fuller and is highly collectable today.
This is a Mills model 802 juke box. As you can see the records on this machine are
arranged in a ferris wheel configuration. One of 12 records,each affixed to its own
turntable, can be selected by turning the brass knob in the center. This is the third
model Mills put out. The first looked and worked identical to this one but was non
selectable, which means you got to listen to whatever was next in the same manner
as a nickelodeon. The next two models were also identical selectable machines with
one big exception. The model 802 would not only let you listen to 1 of 12 songs if you
placed a nickel into the left coin slot, but if you put a nickel into the slot on the right you
were entertained by the new medium called radio. The unit in the center allowed you to
choose the station you desired. After a given amount of time, the unit shut off until you fed
it again. The model 802 is extremely rare. We were lucky to find it in original condition.
This is a night shot of the Wurlitzer model 1100 built in 1948.
This was the first model to use the technology learned from WWII.
Unfortunately Wurlitzer was so far ahead of the pack that they
failed to notice that the J. P. Seeburg Company had designed a 100 play
mechanism. In spite of the beautiful Fuller cases, Wurlitzer went into
a spiral from which they were never able to recover. It took them over five
years to design a reliable 100 play mech, and by that time Seeburg
had a 200 play mech. The golden age of juke boxes was over.
Coin Operated Arcade Games
A view inside the arcade room shows a tall game named "Zingo" on the rear wall.
After inserting your nickel you were given 5 rubber balls. When the padded arm was
hit the ball would fly to the top of the board and filter down between various pegs to
land in one of the chutes below. If you earned enough points you won a free game.
When you did a little bell would ring and you were able to push the coin slide in
without a coin to get your free game. This was one of the first games produced by
the pin ball giant of the 60's and 70's, Williams Mfg. This game was built in 1944.
These are four of the electro mechanical arcade machines in our collection. From left
to right we have a Triumph puck bowler. This game allows up to six players to play
and has multiple choices of ways the game can be played. In order to accomplish this
pre 1975, miles and miles of wire carried signals, usually by means of contact points.
To keep these running tip top takes a skilled mechanic and requires the machine to
be played often to keep the self cleaning points functioning. The two pin ball machines
in the center are great examples of Balley's last multiple ball electro-mechanical four
player games. The first is Nip It which was featured on the TV show "Happy Days."
The second one was the most popular pinball of the era, Fireball. This game allowed
the player to have three balls flying on the field at one time with the further aid of a
spinning wheel right in the middle of the field, which would change the direction of
the ball without notice. The game on the right is an earlier arcade game produced
right after the war by Dale Engineering Co. The backglass showed a shabby apartment
building with 5 windows and some racy (for the time) silhouettes of ladies of the evening.
When the machine was started, a crook would pop up in one of the windows, and it was
your job to shoot it with your recoiling "tommy" gun. Once you plugged him, a crook
popped up in another window, and you were given a point. The game gave you a fixed
amount of time to kill as many gangsters as you could to obtain the highest score.
All electro-machanical devices were cumbersome because of the limited amount of
electrics you had to work with, but you have to hand it to these guys who designed
them, they were close to genious to accomplish what they did.
This is one of the older games in the collection. Originally built around 1936, it quickly
became very popular in most arcades. For a nickel you could play a friend or play
against the game itself. These had to be very sturdy because kids would slam the
handles in an effort to win.
The Puck slot machine was developed in the last several decades of the 19th century.
These machines were an attempt to get around the gambling laws in most of the United
States. When you inserted a nickel and pulled the handle, not only did the wheel spin, but
you also were treated to a tune on the cylinder music box in the bottom of the machine.
You weren't really gambling, you were merely enjoying the music. The law wasn't
fooled by this deception and most of these ended up smashed to pieces in a dump
or better yet, at the bottom of the ocean.
Three more examples of early coin operated devices are shown here. From left to
right, the first is an early digger which is totally mechanical other than the lights
inside, which were probably added at a later date. After inserting a nickel, the player
turns the crank to swing the steam shovel around to the prize he or she wants. If they
go too far, they can pull a lever to rotate the device backwards. Once they are satisfied
with the positioning, they again begin turning the crank dropping the shovel, which then
(maybe) picks up the item. As you continue cranking, the loot is brought back to a chute
where it is dropped to be retrieved by the player. Technically, it was harder to make
them not pick up prizes, so the prizes were smaller, but a big prize was always set in a
corner that was impossible to be reached. This game was developed near the turn of
the century. The second device, sitting on the bar, is a peanut or candy machine. This
early all aluminum model was fairly simple. You put in a penny, you get a small handful
of goodies. The last device also on the bartop is called a trade stimulater. This particular
one is a gumball slot manufactured by Groetchen Tool & Mfg. Co. and was called the Penny
Smoke. The trade stimulator was mainly used in bars and restaurants in nongambling
states. You inserted a penny, pulled the handle, and the three wheels spun. If all three
landed on the same brand of cigarettes, you called the waitress over and collected your
free 18 cent pack of cigarettes of your choice. Oh yes, and if you desired, you pulled
the handle at the bottom left and received your free gumball. Of course, again, as with
the musical slot, most of these ended up at the bottom of the bay with their owners in jail.
Carousel Organs, Horses & Figures
Our 1917 Berni band organ resides in our car museum because it is too big to put
any place else. The organ is operated by a ten tune roll but works off of pressure, rather
than vacuum like the rest of the automated musical instruments. When it plays, it most
certainly gets the attention of anybody in the room. (make that the entire house)
This is one of four carousel figures that we own and this is our favorite because it has
an American theme. This all wood horse adorning the American stars and stripes was
carved by the Herschell Spillman Company of North Tonawanda New York.
Here is one of a pair of center rounding board lights we own.
They were originally on an Illions carousel, but now flank our band organ.
The entire carousel had 27 of these beautiful works of art.
1920's Home Movie Theater
We were lucky enough to find these magnificant theater seats that had origionally come
from an old theater in Santa Paula, California. We carefully restored them back to pristine
condition and built a theater around them. Our theater is equipped with THX surround
sound and tactile speakers in the floor to add the needed vibration for realism.
The projector is in the ceiling, which gives the same effect as in a real theater.
The screen is perforated to allow sound from the front speakers to be as clear
as all the others. Because we watch mostly older films the 6 foot wide screen is in a
standard aspect ratio of 4:3 but we have built-in automatic masks that can make it
16:9 or even 2.35 to 1. The carving on the wall is a side panel from an Illions carousel.
The ceiling has both direct and indirect lighting for that final theater touch.
What theater would be complete without a snack bar. The lighted sign with the
carousel was our own design. It is flanked by Illions lighted angels.
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