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THE

WEBSITE

On this site, you will find all there is to know about the makeup of the Stylophone - including details of the many versions available, accessories, and a whole lot more. With an unrivaled access to the many actual Stylophones that were made over the years (including the very first 'pocket electronic organ' that started it all!)  and historical archives, you will find HANDS-ON information not obtainable from any other site.

Sincere Thanks to Burt Coleman
Founder / Managing Director of Moviecol (the company behind the very first prototype)
and Founder / Managing Director of Dubreq.

STYLOMANIA!

The Stylophone is one of those items that, for some, seems to represent a 'pre-electronic' era from a far away time.

In recent years, the boom in electronic gadgetry has surpassed many a persons wildest dreams, and continues to do so at an alarming rate.
Why then, should a small box of pretty basic components re-emerge as a much loved relic of relatively recent years?. It probably isn't the sound created by one these little gems, as many owners will admit. The tone is pretty awful, even compared to the cheapest of modern circuitry used in today's 'kiddies' instruments. You can't play more than one note at a time - you have to use a 'pen' (or stylus to be exact) - not your fingers to get a note, and your only volume control (until later models) is to cover the speaker with your hand!.

The simple answer is the ease with which it can be played.

Even the most musically-retarded of us can get some sort of tune out of a Stylophone, simply by sliding the stylus up and down the keyboard from one note to another - allowing us to 'cheat' quite easily if we miss the note we wanted first time around!.

The look and feel of the unit is the single most appealing draw to the Stylophone. I personally couldn't care less what it sounds like, the look and design are the thing.

The 'silver' keyboard when polished, in contrast with the 'gold' nib of the stylus catches the eye immediately, together with the silver grill and raised Stylophone logo. All these elements make for one of the most aesthetically pleasing designs to emerge in a 'toy' from the late 60's.

Well done Dubreq, the Design Team, and of course Rolf Harris.

There is no doubt the amazing success of the Stylophone was because of Rolf's involvement in the marketing of this instrument.
He will always be associated with it (whether he likes it or not!), as much to this little music box as to his 'wobble board'.
Rolf's popularity during these early years was tops with young kids, and his connection was the perfect partnership. His face adorned the boxes, instruction leaflets, music books etc., and his voice taught you how to play on the accompanying record. Rolf's popularity is as strong as ever today, with a genuinely 'nice bloke' image, and seemingly approachable manner. He even gives recitals on the Stylophone, as recent tv programmes have proved!.

So what happened to the Stylophone - why did they stop - where did they all go??.

As with most things, something 'better' came along in the form of imported keyboards from the far east; outplaying the Stylophone in terms of tonal quality, range, effects, and cost.

The Stylophone was no longer there, and in all honesty, few people probably realised it had gone. A lot will have ended up in the dustbin; their leads broken and stylus lost; others will have been put away with other unwanted toys, until themselves being eventually thrown away in later years.
Why keep one anyway?; technology strides ahead. Do you still have your first computer from years ago; one that was the cutting edge of technology at the time, but by today's standards are no better than a child's 'My First Computer' toy.

That is probably why people of 30+ are so fond of the Stylophone today. Because of the rapid growth-curve in technology, things are outdated so much faster, and the Stylophone, though old in techno terms, isn't that old in basic years.

Many other toys from this era are very collectable, with some commanding extremely high prices. (Just look at 'Star Wars' memorabilia for instance). The Stylophone however, has one major advantage over any other collectable of this genre that I can think of:
It can be used, and it most certainly is by an increasing number of bands and musicians, who from a nostalgic point, simply want to include a sample of the Stylophone on a single, or album track.
Probably the most famous instance of this from the early years is David Bowie's 'Space Oddity', where if you listen carefully, the unmistakable sound of the Stylophone is clearly heard.
For bands to maintain the present 'in-thing' practice of sampling this little instrument is great for us older 'thirty' or 'forty-somethings', who can take great pleasure in explaining to the younger generation exactly what a Stylophone is when it is credited on the CD sleeve, as most will have never seen, or even heard of one before!.


I hope the following pages give you some idea of what to look for in your Stylophone.

Although there were only 2 basic models made, (the standard, and the upmarket 350S), there were many variants of the standard, including the finish, colour, keyboard, packaging, (plus accessories available in the form of books and records), and most of all the circuit board components. I have listed as many as I can find -without going overboard with the whole thing - and there are no doubt others to be discovered.

Whichever one you have, or wish to acquire, you can rest satisfied in the knowledge that you own a little piece of musical history, a collection of soldered bits in a plastic case not much bigger than your hand, that simply refuses to be forgotten.

All images / scans / text are copyright.

Please note:

Collector's Home Page

There were MANY cheap and cheerful copies or variations of the basic Stylophone design & keyboard manufactured around the world. Sold under various names and in different guises, they may appear very similar in certain areas, but are basically the usual 'copy' merchandise that an innovative design always attracts.

Simple Fact 2: all ORIGINAL Stylophones were made in the UK.

Simple Fact 1: There were only 2 basic designs; the 'pocket' version, and the larger 350S.
ALL the variations of the originals are shown within these pages.

The question of 'originality'; or even using the term 'original'; is unfortunately a little more complex than may be expected.
This is due to the fact that the Stylophone eventually created an actual dictionary definition for itself!.

O.E.D.: (noun) 'a miniature electronic musical instrument producing a distinctive buzzing sound when a stylus is drawn along its metal keyboard'.
The 'Stylophone' is now simply a type of musical instrument, in much the same way as a guitar, drum, piano, organ etc is another type of instrument.  If you make your own instrument in your workshop, and it follows the same basic design as outlined in the definition above, you have made 'a stylophone', and you are quite entitled to call it exactly that!.

The Stylophone was the 'original pocket organ',
so can all 'Stylophone pocket organs' be called original?!!.

Well of course not, but it's surprising how many people think this is the case!.

Put aside all the play on wording in descriptions you may see, and follow these guidelines to be absolutely sure: 

All ORIGINAL Stylophones were manufactured in the UK between 1968 and 1975, when production ceased.

Except for the distinctive brown 'wood effect' versions,
ALL ORIGINAL pocket Stylophones have a METAL GRILL.

ALL ORIGINAL Stylophones have a large, removable battery compartment allowing full access to the circuit board, and are serviceable.

If your Stylophone carries ALL the above features, you can safely conclude
that you have an ORIGINAL Stylophone!.

and perhaps MOST importantly for the musician!....
ALL ORIGINAL Stylophones have a TOTALLY UNIQUE SOUND from analog circuitry.

While this makes it interesting for the ardent collector of 'pocket organs' in general, it does cause confusion to the casual buyers and collector.
On this site we have shown several Stylophone copies and clones, but there are more to be added.
In the meantime, the guide below will help you pinpoint the model you have, or may wish to obtain.
Official Home of the Original

Stylophone

Mr.Coleman's continuous help and assistance in supplying historical documents and artifacts reflects his enthusiasm and pride in the original Dubreq company and its achievements in the 60's / 70's, before it closed for good in 1980.

Working together, we bring you the  No.1 Website on the Internet for all things Stylophone!.

If you are a new visitor to this site, we would recommend reading the first few pages in order (Moviecol, Dubreq, Rolf Harris), to get a good overall picture of the events leading up to the final product.
Please check back occasionally for updates to the site, there are many more things to add!.