Several manufacturers tried their hand at making and marketing coin
operated player pianos with a race horse or race dog mechanism. The
Mills was a 65-note piano operated all by electricity with the use of
electro-magnets. Other manufacturers used their typical pneumatic
The Mills should be an easy straight forward restoration job somewhat
easier than the Mills Violin. Some of the other manufacturers that made
pianos with race horse or dog mechanisms where Seeburg, Western Electric
(owned by Seeburg), Wurlitzer (very rare), and National.
All of these pianos sell for more than their counterparts without the
racing mechanism. Some manufacturers had the figures spin in a circle
and others had them go straight across the front of the piano. The
Wurlitzer machine was a Pianino with the horses in the top where you
normally saw the piano roll mechanism.
All of the pianos with the racing mechanism came out late in the
production of coin pianos, around 1927. To my knowledge there are no
service manuals or restoration books around. I think I have the scale
for the Mills machine, and Dick Hack plans to recut rolls for the Mills
Don Teach, Shreveport Music Co
1610 E. Bert Kouns, Shreveport, LA 71105
P.S. Sorry, not double-spaced, go easy on me.
[ Nice letter, Don, and it _is_ already double-spaced. Maybe your
[ mailer does it automatically? :) -- Robbie