This instrument was built in Chicago by the Mills Novelty Co. This particular instrument was known as the “shipboard model” as it uses springs in locations where standard units use weights. This instrument uses spinning discs of rosin to play the violin strings, each driven separately. The piano is mounted behind the violins, and because there is no direct mechanical linkage to the strings, as with traditional pianos Mills arranged the strings in a symmetrical pattern to distribute the tension load of the strings evenly.
This particular example also is equipped with manual-play features:
Soft, Sostuneto and Sustain pedals located at the bottom of the cabinet and two keyboards that slide out from the lower cabinet compartment to allow manual playing of the violins.