Band Organs, Band Organs, Band Organs!
There has been a lot of excitement recently over band organs! They have been a hot seller! Why? BECAUSE THEY ARE FUN! And there are alot of events called Band Organ Rallies that you can take them to! On top of that you can rent them out and make money while you are having fun! Check out the fine restored Wurlitzer 146A that was just listed on the Items For Sale page!
How many of you have heard a Kalliope disc music box? The Kalliope firm built fine disc music boxes in Leipzig, Germany. In their later years, around the turn of the century, they redesigned their music boxes to feature short bedplate mechanisms which allowed the case of the music box to act like a soundboard. The Kalliope discs featured great musical arrangements! One of these recently was found in Germany. It is a Style 107D playing 45 cm (17 3/4″) discs which is the largest and most deluxe table top Kalliope disc music box. I have heard it an it simply sounds GREAT! Other Kalliope disc music boxes will soon be available. If you are interested in learning more about these, contact me by e-mail.
I have recently rediscovered the famous Empress Electric Model Y which was once in the Q. David Bowers Collection. It was found by restorer Jim Carroll of Chicago in the early 1960′s. It has the instrumentation of a Coinola X but is displayed in a unique Arts and Crafts style case. Jim Carroll found it in a red brick saloon on Cermak Road in the Pilsen neighborhood of Chicago. This neighborhood was the settlement point of Chicago’s large Czech community. It was untouched by the Chicago Fire. At one time it was full of drinking establishments. The Czechs were known to consume more beer than the Germans! Later on the Czech community moved to Berwyn. Is it any wonder then why Al Capone set up shop during Prohibition to service the large number of Czech beer flats and speakeasies! You see… Cicero was right next to Berwyn and the heart of the Czech community.
Mills Violano Virtuosos remain perennial favorites with collectors. If you have one for sale do not hesitate to call me! I have eager buyers waiting for these interesting instruments.
Summer is band organ season. Make sure you take part in on of the Summers rallies such as the one in Wabash, Indiana or the ones offered by COAA. Check out the MBSI and COAA links for more information!
Again due to popular demand a new section has been added on Reproducing Pianos! You will see views from vintage advertising, trade journals, and sales literature. No collection of mechanical music is complete without a reproducing piano! You can have the most expensive orchestrions and yet find hours of pleasure listening to a fine reproducing piano! And YES reproducing pianos ARE affordable! You can purchase restored instruments or buy an unrestored one and have the pleasure and satisfaction of restoring it yourself. There are books available on the topic! And then there is the music…… No matter what your taste, you will find superbly arranged rolls for the reproducing piano!
More Original Catalog Views have been added! Some are very rare such as the early Wurlitzer Pianino pictures. There are historic views of Eugene DeKleist’s North Tonawanda Barrel Organ Factory taken inside and out! There are other views of the North Tonawanda Musical Instrument Works and its employees. There is an interesting catalog view of a Nelson-Wiggen orchestrion with pipes. Oscar Nelson and Peter Wiggen were designers of the famous Seeburg G Orchestrion. They went on to found their own company which built high quality instruments. There are several rare band organ views. One is of a large Bacigalupo fair organ once offered by their New York office. Another is a look at the back side of a pressured operated Artizan band organ. There are pictures of Seeburg’s first art glass orchestrion and even a picture of J. P. Seeburg!
The famous Great Dorset Steam Fair was another success this year! If you like Fairground organs you will love the Great Dorset Steam Fair! At this fair you will see many many large fair organs like the White’s Gavioli, the Anderton & Roland Marenghi, the Oktoberfest Gavioli, and many more! You can ride vintage steam powered rides like Saunders’ Steam Yachts, and several Steam Powered Carousels! To learn more click on: The Great Dorset Steam Fair!
That Link Orchestrion did it again! As some of you know, I had a Style E Link Orchestrion on demonstraton display in historic Riverside, Illinois at a machine shop/mechanical art museum. Joe, the owner asked me to personally demonstrate it for a community festival featuring vintage cars. The Link really stole the show, ONE MORE TIME! Who says the kids don’t relate to these things? Everyone loved it! The instrument was an absolute hit with the kids! And Microsoft, Disney, and Apple had NOTHING to do with it! It was just that nifty Link playing up a storm with those snappy timeless Ray Deyo arrangements! Cudos to the LINK!
The Chicago area remains the center of mechanical music in the United States. I take great pride in my major role in putting the focus on Chicago! Is it any wonder that the upcoming AMICA Convention in the Chicago area has sold out? Right now the top experts such as Art Reblitz, Tony Decap, Jens Wendel, and others are in the Chicago area working on outstanding instruments most of which were found by me for their owners.
Another super orchestrion made a debut this week in the Chicago area. It was discovered in the storage room of a museum in former East Germany. It is a one-of-a-kind Hupfeld Helios Style 32 with a Kaleidoscope. And you thought moving scenes were awesome! Wait till you see the Hupfeld Kaleidoscope!
Speaking of rarity, a fantastic Philipps PE Orchestrion, the only one in world recently turned up. This orchestrion features solo violin pipes with tremolo and a special mandolin section.
The fantastic Ruth 38 Concert Fair Organ has now been restored for Jim Krughoff. It has one of the most spectacular facades. For those of you attending the upcoming AMICA convention, you will be able to see its debut.
Mills Violano Virtuosos continue to be a popular instrument with collectors, especially coin-op collectors. I always have these instruments available for sale. They are an exciting addition to any collection! Check out the Items For Sale section.
Visit the new section that takes you on a tour of the Violano Virtuoso division of the Mills Novelty Company. All pictures are from a rare original booklet in my archive that takes you from department to department. Mills Violanos are electrically operated via solenoids and are fascinating instruments indeed! They were the only American made mechanical instrument that was cited by the United States Government as an outstanding invention. One Violano is on display in the Smithsonian Institution. If you have a question about one of these instruments, e-mail me!
There are additional pictures added to the Original Catalog View section. Be sure to look at them!
American coin pianos are being discovered as fine works of furniture art. Many of the coin pianos have Arts and Crafts inspired cabinets. The Gustav Stickley design influence is clearly evident. Most cabinets feature elegant art glass fronts. Just look at the Rotogravure and the Original Catalog Views for examples. If you are thinking of a piano for your home, why not consider a work of art, an American coin piano or orchestrion!
Due to many requests a new exciting feature has been added that shows scans from original mechanical music company catalogs, brochures, postcards, and literature from my archives. I am sure that you will enjoy them! Note the rare views of the inside of the Seeburg Orchestrion Factory! Just click on “Original Catalog Views”.
I was recently interviewed by New York Public Radio about my research into Rattlesnake Pete who was a Saloon/Museum owner in Rochester, New York. Rattlesnake Pete was an original purchaser of a Wurlitzer C Orchestrion. He also claims to have invented the first coin piano in 1894. Go to the Favorite Links for a link to the Rattlesnake Pete story.
The largest free standing Welte Concert Orchestrion in the world residing in the science theater in the David Solomon Mansion in Tunbridge Wells, England is about ready to play for the first time in decades! It is 18 feet tall, 28 feet wide, by 12 feet deep! It plays 150 roll Philharmonic rolls as well as 120 note style 10 Welte orchestrion rolls. I have been informed that this instrument will make its musical debut in the Spring.
The B and B Bruder in Coney Island has been SAVED! New York City Mayor Bloomberg announced that the City of New York will purchase the famous B and B Carousel with its rare 69 key Bruder! Purchase price of the carousel: $1.8 MILLION.
The restoration of the Wurlitzer 32 Concert Pian-Orchestra is now finished! This grand instrument played for years in the Disneyland and Disney World Penny Arcades. It is a huge instrument with hundreds of pipes!
There are many new items on the Items For Sale page! Click on the side link!