Rolmonica "pocket player piano" from 1930s Johnson Smith Catalog (Video)

Berjont says: "This 1928 Rolmonica is a Harmonica in a bakelite (plastic wasn't invented yet) case that works on the same principle as the old player pianos. It has a paper scroll inside the case that you manually crank as you blow (or suck air) through the mouthpiece."

Johnson Smith Catalog Item #27: Rolmonica (Thanks, Paul Di Filippo!)


  1. At the risk of being pedantic, I’ll point out that bakelite is plastic – it was one of the first synthetic plastics invented

  2. I SO want one.  This is the kind of thing that could be 3D printed – and think of the market for music scrolls – and scroll mashups – and Rolmonica music videos to match anything with a ukulele playing gal (although I love all of those too).

    I want one!!!!!

    1. I assume reeds would be too difficult to 3d print at this point, so it might be cheaper & easier to design a 3d printed rolmonica case to fit over a traditionally constructed harmonica.

  3. I wrote up the Rolmonica (and Chromatic Rolmonica) for the Dead Media list!

    The 1929 catalog reprint has a photograph of the Our Gang (“Little Rascals”) crowd posing with Rolmonicas!

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