BY SY SCHRECKINGER
OUR SUBJECT this article, “Piano Bank” (Figure 1), incorporates two of the most significant developments in the history of the automated musical appliance, the Music Box and the Player Piano.
Over the centuries, self operating melodic apparatus such as the music box has entertained and beguiled both young and old. Early examples, however, were created by watch maker artisans and required a great deal of time, effort and expertise. Such representatives were extremely costly to produce, making them affordable to only the very wealthy.
It was not until the early twentieth century, and thanks to Charles and Alice Reuge of Sainte-Croix, Switzerland, that a moderately priced pin-drum, steel comb musical movement was utilized within a music box. This ingenious development resulted in the creation of an automated musical commodity affordable by the masses. The easily produced Reuge musical movement eventually led to the manufacture of a plethora of novelty items, toys and mechanical banks.
It was also during this period, i.e. 1905, that Mr. Edwin Voltey of Detroit, Michigan, invented and manufactured the first automated piano.