The Sunday Magazine

A remarkable old music box delivers joy and delight in Newfoundland

It's what's called a Regina Music Box. Four feet tall and made of beautiful oak. And it plays music that is richer and more complex than you can imagine.
It's called a Regina Music Box, four feet tall, made of beautiful oak, and it plays music that is richer and more complex than you can imagine. (Heather Barrett/CBC)

The Mother House of the Presentation Sisters of St. John's Newfoundland is home to many things celestial. But none quite so utterly charming as a very special antique music box and its champion and attendant, Sister Patricia Whittle, herself of a certain age.

It's what's called a Regina Music Box, beautiful oak, standing about four feet tall. It plays flat metal discs with double sets of tuned teeth on an unusual comb-and-wheel mechanism. And the music is richer and more complex than you can imagine.

Between 1892 and 1921, 100,000 of these music boxes were produced and sold in North America. But now they're a rare sight.

Which makes the sisters of the Presentation Convent all the more pleased to have such a lovely specimen.

A few weeks ago, Heather Barrett paid a visit.

The Mother House of the Presentation Sisters of St. John's Newfoundland is home to a very special antique music box. (Heather Barrett/CBC)

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