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Restorers and Manufacturers of Automatic Musical Instruments

Nelson-Wiggen Style 8

Oscar Nelson and Peter Wiggen were a force in the Chicago coin piano trade business. The two worked with J.P. Seeburg at Marquette Piano Company and followed him when he started his own company, J. P. Seeburg Piano Company, in 1907. By 1922, after designing much of the Seeburg product line, the two left that company to form the Nelson-Wiggen Piano Company just as the coin piano market was booming.  

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Nelson-Wiggen pianos were promoted for their high quality and refined aesthetics. Their walnut finished cabinets rarely featured art glass, and were more aligned with the modern styling of high end radios of the period. In ads, the company touted “Any automatic can play loud; Ours play soft. Real Music.” And “No bending or crouching beneath the keyboard is necessary to change the music on this piano. The roll is on top where it should be.”

The Style 8 was available with a few different configurations. Typically it was equipped with both 22 note reiterating bells and xylophone operating from an “A” roll. Some models featured a 24 note single stroke xylophone designed to play “4X” rolls, with a few models similarly equipped but played an “A”roll. This model left the factory playing a “4X” roll but was converted at some point to play the more plentiful “A” roll. The plate or harp of this model was designed to play the exact scale of the “A” roll, 54 notes (C to A), no coupling, but could be converted back to “4X” configuration at buyer’s discretion.  

The instrument was recently totally restored to factory-like new condition by D.C. Ramey Piano Company. It features a 24 note single stroke xylophone and is equipped with the patented Nelson-Wiggen Banjo Rail for that distinct Nelson-Wiggen sound. Purchase includes six recut music rolls. Please inquire for price and/or questions.

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