Maker Spotlight: Regina

Disc music boxes date from a time before recorded sound and are one of the scarcest types of music boxes as they were only made between 1885 and 1905. Music boxes made by Regina took over the American market in the turn of the 20th century. Read on to learn more about Regina music boxes!

Regina Corona Disc Changer Music Box, circa 1900

Music boxes grew in popularity during the second half of the 19th century. The first maker of the disc music box to go into mass production was Symphonion of Leipzig, Germany. The new industry quickly grew to include Polyphon and many others. In 1892 Polyphon recognized the huge market potential in America and sent a team of employees to establish the Regina Music Box Company in New Jersey. Initially, Regina imported their boxes from Polyphon. After a few years, Regina was manufacturing their products entirely in America. The company saw immense success, making over $2 million a year.

Interior of the Regina Corona coin-operated disc changer music box, circa 1900

The success of Regina as a music box manufacturer encouraged other makers, such as Symphonion, to open branches in America. Regina's music boxes were known for their rich quality of sound and their use of advanced technology for the time. In their heyday, Regina music boxes were sold for $500 and were the most common home music player before the phonograph.

Regina Honduran Mahogany Corona Disc Changer Music Box, circa 1890

This boom in the disc music box industry lasted only until the turn of the 20th century. Most of the disc music box makers went out of business by 1910 due to the introduction of the phonograph by Edison. To keep up with the phonograph's quickly growing success, the Regina Company introduced the Reginaphone, a hybrid music box that played both metal music box discs and phonograph records. But as the phonograph market grew exponentially during the 1900s and 1910s, the Regina Music Box Company struggled to stay afloat, and later went bankrupt in 1922.

Interior of Regina Honduran mahogany Corona disc changer music box, circa 1890

Discs to fit the 15-1/2" Regina music boxes are still being produced today. There are over 1,000 titles available, everything from Evita to the Beetles, along with a huge assortment of classic Christmas tunes.


Antique Music Boxes 

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Posted in Antique Features.