Turn-A-Tune from Kenner | Lunch Box | Toy Tales – Todd Coopee

Turn-A-Tune from Kenner (1958)

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United States Patent #2,769,362, filed March 29, 1954 by Albert Weinstein provides insight into the unique design of the Turn-A-Tune.

Released in 1958, Kenner Products’ Turn-A-Tune is a mashup of a vintage phonograph and a modern turntable. The toy is operated by turning a handle – a “no batteries required” approach to entertainment that is far less common today than it was in the 1950-60s.

The Turn-A-Tune’s music catalog consists entirely of single songs, each programmed on specially designed Player-Disks. Every Turn-A-Tune shipped with 8 Player-Disks that included these standards:

  • Happy Birthday
  • London Bridge
  • Three Blind Mice
  • Pop! Goes The Weasel
  • Row Your Boat
  • Oh! Susanna
  • Twinkle, Twinkle
  • Jingle Bells

Each cardboard Player-Disk is 7 ¼” in diameter and functions much like a piano roll in a player piano. As a Player-Disk revolves on the Turn-A-Tune table, perforations cut into it cause keys to be released and strike one of the 8 tuned steel bars below. Turning the handle at a consistent speed results in a recognizable melody being played.

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