We found Regina in a lovely older couple’s garage where she had lived in their lakeside Conyers, GA home for 30 years. Regina had belonged to the woman’s mother and the woman had gone through a lot of trouble to get it to her house. She told us about how, while driving a long distance with Regina in the back of a pick-up truck, it started to rain on an already harrowing trip. As they turned a corner, the piano toppled off onto the side of the road. Several men stopped to help haul Regina back up onto the truck and Regina “got a little warped”.
We almost gave up on Regina. She was in such bad condition that she was nearly left dangerously close to the burn pit a handful of times; however, Philip would insist on trying something different, something even further outside the grid. Meg loosened and removed her corset-like set of rusty old strings and, after a heaving sigh of relief, Regina started revealing her personality.
The Regina Company started off in 1889 being bad-asses in the music box- making business. We know that Regina was most likely made by another company and then “adopted” by The Regina Company, located in Rahway, New Jersey. Based on her serial number, it is estimated that she was created between 1906 and 1910. She also apparently has only 84 other siblings.
The following is an excerpt written by a gentleman on the website mypianofriends.com:
“Here's what I know about Regina pianos (paraphrased and excerpted from the "Encyclopedia of Automatic Musical Instruments" by Mr. Q. David Bowers, Vestal Press, 1972; pgs. 594 and 595).
Regina (the famous musical box manufacturer in Rahway, New Jersey, active from about 1893 through 1921 or in manufacturing and shipping disc music boxes) is not known to have made any pianos itself on the premises, but rather sold pianos made by others under their own name.
As for straight (non player) pianos, Regina sold a "Reginapiano, style B" from 1906 to 1910. This could be what you have. About 85 of them were sold, and they mostly had serial numbers in the 22,000 to 35,000 range (the original maker's numbers, whoever that was), although a few numbers were higher or lower. I don't know what these looked like but if your piano has this number that's likely what it is/was.
Another person with more experience with old upright pianos may be able to guess the original maker via the case design, plate design, etc. although of course "Regina" is cast in the plate (which the piano maker would have done for them on their special order).”
Regina ended up being a little saucy, and didn’t give up her veneer easily. She still has some veneer like scars and so, instead of fighting her, we let her keep them. Her keyboard deck was raised and a shelf added. The added shelf is actually the very bottom of an old Iver’s and Pond piano named Lexington. We never did found out where he had come from. It wasn’t until after she was cleaned and oiled and pampered that we were able to step back and see all of the red she was hiding.
On the side you can clearly see where the veneer, held down from where the industrial glue was more heavily applied, held onto the wood.
The wood placed into the original keyboard deck are the ends of the keys themselves that were carefully selected.
Care was taken to bring in as many of the piano numbers and characters as possible.
Introduced in 1930, The Regina Company vacuums would go on to become a leader in the vacuum industry. The Regina Company was eventually acquired by Philips Electronics in 1995. Oreck bought the company in 1997, and in 2000, it was sold to the Royal Corporation, which has sold the vacuums under the Home Depot brand ever since.
LED Lighting is installed to highlight the desk and underneath.
The little things we find in the guts of a piano usually lend to its (her) name, but in some cases like Regina, namesake notwithstanding, their presence tugs at a moment in time, a split second of “oh, well I suppose that’s gone forever…”. Here are Regina’s such moments.
We received a lovely email from Christy Hutcherson and Steve Colby, a couple in Atlanta who purchased Regina. They were kind enough to send a picture of Regina in her new habitat.
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