The Full Story
Hitoric Documents and Our Instrument Collection
It is absolutely fascinating to have these instrument in our hands and then read the historic documents on how they were made, designed, sold and much more. Please enjoy our collection of documents. All pictures in this page were taken from The Toy Piano Sanctuary Instrument Collection.
Play AWay Toy Piano
This 12 keys tin instrument has the range a G5-D6, all keys fully functional and numbered, it has the unique characteristic of forming a G minor scale. It has a very unique design that opens in the back, showcasing the metal rods, and also allowing the music book attached to it to be comfortably read while the instrument is played.
The book has 16 songs, all music notes are numbered matching the numbered keys; and the content is very focused on early 20th Century white American popular culture. There is only one mention to a black person; song 15 is the story of "Old Black Joe", a man that, in the song, hears the voices of his long gone friends from the cotton plantation fields calling his name.
A through picture of America's white privilege, this instrument truly function as a window to the history of toy pianos in the United States. Check out below the document referent to the design of this instrument.
Invented and patented by Raymond J. Lohr in 1942 , the Design of this toy piano was an Art of its own. This instrument was built to allow children to have a fully immersive music experience; the visual of an actual piano keyboard with the black keys painted, to show precisely where are the half steps and whole steps of the unusual G minor scare that it forms. The music score provides for an easy to follow numbered-notes system that allows any beginner to figure out how to play the 16 songs contained in it. Each song has beautiful hand made illustrations. Raymond J. Lohr was a mechanical designer that worked at the Louis Marx Company from 1935 until 1972; he helped develop very well loved and successful toys such as the Spiralball, holding hundreds of mechanical patents in his name for toys made by Marx.