Before there was vinyl: Jukebox from 1800s entertains guests at P.E.I. inn
A nickel plays one of the huge tin discs
It's not your father's jukebox — or even your grandfather's jukebox.
The Regina Corona Music Box was more likely playing tunes dating back to yourgreat-great-grandfather's day.
The Dundee Arms Inn and Restaurant in Charlottetown has had one of the music boxes in its lobby for the past two years.
"It was bought at an auction and taken here," said manager Pat Sands.
"The owner of the building thought it was a good place for it."
While Sands wouldn't say how much the owner paid for the music box, similar ones online sell for close to $25,000.
Tunes from the 90s — the 1890s
Most guests don't even notice the fine piece of antique furniture until Sands decides to pull out one of the giant tin discs.
"This one here is called The Blue Danube and apparently it was quite popular and it's dated 1893."
The machine is easy to operate. Simply twist the dial for your favourite musical selection, drop in a coin, and wind the two cranks.
Entertainment for the crowds
Whenever Sands plays the music machine, it draws a little crowd.
"A lot of the guests want to hear it," she said.
"They come in for lunch and dinner, and those who stay over, we always play it for them."
The music box only has one volume — and that's medium, but the sound fills the lobby, dining room and pub, and guests seem to like it.
"They're amazed actually, it sounds really good."
A nickel for a tune
The Dundee Arms music box only has six discs — which came with it when it was purchased. The original machines came with 12 discs, and Sands hopes to buy more.
They run about $40 each.
It only costs a nickel to play a tune on the music machine, so it could be another century before the owner recoups the price of the music machine.
"It's never going to be a money maker," said Sands. Especially since very few people carry nickels these days, and that means Sands ends up supplying the coins.
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