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MMD > Archives > November 2005 > 2005.11.07 > 03Prev  Next

New Jersey Musical Box Comes Home
By Emily Evans

Morristown, New Jersey, Monday, November 7, 2005

The Morris Museum announces the gift and exhibition of a rare Regina
Sublima Corona mechanical musical instrument given by the Dowager
Marchioness of Normanby, of England, sister of the late Murtogh D.
Guinness.  Made by the Regina Music Box Company of Rahway, New Jersey,
the instrument dates from the late 19th century.  Originally given
to Lady Normanby by Mr. Guinness many years ago, the musical box now
re-joins the extraordinary 700-piece collection of his mechanical
musical instruments and automata given to the Morris Museum by the
Murtogh D. Guinness estate last year.

Following conservation treatment, the Regina Sublima Corona is now on
view in the museum's first exhibition of selections from the Murtogh D.
Guinness Collection.  Shown in the Hedley Gallery, 60 pieces provide an
introduction to the subject of mechanical music and entertainment while
highlighting Mr. Guinness as one of the world's foremost collectors.

Speaking of the acquisition of the Regina Sublima Corona, Steven H.
Miller, executive director, noted: "Lady Normanby's gift to the museum
is quite generous and exciting.  We are delighted to receive and
display this important object that has now traveled back across the
Atlantic to come home to New Jersey.  Clearly it reflects our state's
creative heritage as a birthplace for the on-demand entertainment
industry we are so familiar with today."

The Sublima Corona model given to the museum stands 68 inches high by
33 inches wide by 23 inches deep and is a historical precursor of the
jukebox.  With the drop of a nickel, this instrument would allow you
to select any one of the 12 large music discs (stored within the lower
portion of the cabinet) to play and perform a waltz, polka, rag or even
operatic selection.  It could also repeat a favorite melody or play
through the entire selection of 12.  It is cased in fine mahogany, and
the rack storing all the music discs is viewable through the clear
glass bottom.

The Regina Music Box Company was one of the most productive manufacturers
of metal disc playing musical instruments, ranging in size from smaller
table-top models to quite large, free-standing models.  Over the course
of 20 years beginning in the late 19th century, the company moved from
Jersey City to Cherry Street in Rahway and produced and sold nearly
100,000 instruments.  When mechanical musical instruments began to lose
their popularity in the early 20th century, Regina moved on to manufacture
vacuum cleaners.

The Guinness Collection of mechanical musical instruments and automata
is the single most important collection ever given to the Morris Museum.
Comprised of cylinder and disc musical boxes, orchestrions, player pianos,
street organs and mechanical figures, this prestigious collection is
one of the most significant of its kind in the world.  Live demonstrations
from a 60-piece sampling of the collection are performed Tuesday and
Friday at 3 p.m., and Saturday and Sunday at 2 p.m.

Founded in 1913, the Morris Museum explores and celebrates the arts,
sciences, and history through exhibitions, educational programs,
performing arts and special events.  The museum serves over 211,000 adults
and children each year.

The Morris Museum, located at 6 Normandy Heights Road (at the corner of
Columbia Turnpike) in Morristown, NJ, is open Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday
and Saturday, 10 a.m.-5 p.m.; Thursday, 10 a.m.-8 p.m.; and Sunday, 1-5
p.m.  Admission to the museum is $7 for adults and $5 for children,
students and senior citizens.  Admission is always free for museum
members and is free to the public every Thursday between 1 and 8 p.m.
For more information, call 973.971.3700 or visit

Emily Evans
Public Relations Manager, Morris Museum 

(Message sent Mon 7 Nov 2005, 16:02:54 GMT, from time zone GMT-0500.)

Key Words in Subject:  Box, Comes, Home, Jersey, Musical, New

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