The Musical Museum of Deansboro,
Deansboro is a little hamlet located just minutes from Utica, New York.
An industrious city, Utica supported thousands of jobs and families and,
like many cities, it never fully bounced back from the effects of the depression
of the 1930s.
During the era when mechanical music machines were
popular, enterprises in Utica possessed some of the finest coin-operated
instruments, with large routes being maintained by J. H. Kelly, who ran
his operation from Syracuse and Albany.
Hardie Sanders ran an auto repair shop in Deansboro,
on the location of what was to become the Musical Museum. But during
this time of the mid 30's to early 40's, the Sanders were intrigued with
how many establishments in the nearby city, wanted to dispose of worn out
musical machines. A jukebox was now the machine that was in vogue.
Who really knows what drives anyone to collect,
and while the Sanders intention may have only been one of merely "saving"
that pretty piano from going to the dump, their name in a very short while,
became infamous throughout the city, of being the people to call in order
to get rid of that eyesore of a machine.
In no time the house was overrun with music boxes
under the beds, nickelodeons under the stairs, violin machines in the dining
room. The family garage was full, as was any available space in the
auto repair garage.
People hearing of this collection, wanted to see
it. One has to wonder, did they want to see the music machines, or
did they want to see just what kind of people would want such crazy things.
The Sanders eventually realized that if they were
to ever again eat an uninterrupted meal, something was going to have to
change! The auto repair garage ceased its business and was remodeled
for home to all the wonderful machines the Sanders had been collecting.
Established in 1948 as The Musical Museum of Deansboro,
the early years saw the sale of many machines to new collectors throughout
the country. Leads for machines of all types, poured in during the
early years and the Sanders were able to refine their collection to one
that included representation of almost all of the marvelous machines that
produced music automatically.
It wasn't long before they could see that selling
the instruments was becoming increasingly easier and finding replacement
machines was becoming more difficult. Restoring instruments for customers
and running a full time museum with a lamp shop and gift shop, was a full
time endeavor for Hardie, Esther and son Arthur.
The Musical Museum of Deansboro gained world recognition
with the Sanders' friendly atmosphere of 17 rooms containing, music boxes,
reed organs, nickelodeons, banjo player, jukeboxes, violin machines, band
organs with the walls decorated in period lighting and advertising paraphernalia.
Throughout the "life" of the museum, a hands on policy was always in practice,
giving visitors a unique experience.
Because of the Sanders efforts, countless numbers
of people were enlightened by these wonderful music machines. It
is many of those same people that have kept the hobby of automatic music
alive today with their own efforts of collecting and restoring.
5 Feb 1999