Volume 67, No. 6 November/December 2021

Devoted to All Automatic Musical Instruments

Editor/Publisher
Russell Kasselman (253) 228-1634 editor@mbsi.org
MBSI Editorial Office:
Iron Dog Media 130 Coral Court Pismo Beach, CA 93449 editor@mbsi.org
Publications Chair
Bob Caletti

MECHANICAL MUSIC
Journal of the Musical Box Society International
Devoted to All Automatic Musical Instruments
Volume 67, No. 6 November/December 2021

MBSI NEWS
5 President’s Message 7 Editor’s Notes 8 MBSI Financial Reports
21 News from Overseas 51 In Memoriam

All manuscripts will be subject to editorial review. Articles submitted for publication may be edited or rejected at the discretion of the Publications Committee and the Editorial Staff. The article will not be published with significant changes without the author’s approval. All articles are considered to be the author’s personal opinion. The author may be asked to substantiate his/her statements.
Mechanical Music (ISSN 1045-795X) is published by the Musical Box Society International, 130 Coral Court, Pismo Beach, CA 93449 six times per year. A Direc.tory of Members, Museums and Dealers is published biennially. Domestic subscription rate, $60. Periodicals postage paid at San Luis Obispo, CA and additional mailing offices.
Copyright 2021. The Musical Box Society Inter.national, all rights reserved. Mechanical Music cannot be copied, reproduced or transmitted in whole or in part in any form whatsoever without written consent of the Editor and the Executive Committee.
MEMBERS: SEND ADDRESS CORRECTIONS TO: MBSI, PO Box 10196, Springfield, MO 65808-0196 Or, make corrections on the website at www.mbsi.org.
POSTMASTER: SEND ADDRESS CHANGES TO
MBSI, PO Box 10196, Springfield, MO 65808-0196
Features
11 Nickel Notes by Matt Jaro 23 Deconstructing a collection 25 The Silver Swan 30 Digitizing Discs

Chapter Reports
39 Southern California 42 National Capital 45 Southern California 50 Northwest International

MBSI has replanted 146 trees so far as

part of the Print ReLeaf program.

On the Cover
William Edgerton’s 1876 Dufner barrel orchestrion, for which he has nine barrels. It is one of only three known Dufner instruments remaining in the world. Photo by Lowell Boehland.

November/December 2021 MECHANICAL MUSIC 3

M
echanical music is a fascinating hobby! It appeals to the artist, historian, craftsman, and
musician all at the same time. Play an automatic
musical instrument in a room full of people and all else
will stop as the machine enraptures the audience with the
sparkling melodies of yesteryear!

Mechanical music instruments are any sort of auto.
matically-played machine that produces melodic sound
including discs and cylinder music boxes that pluck a steel
comb; orchestrions and organs that engage many instru.
ments at once using vacuum and air pressure; player and
reproducing pianos that use variable vacuum to strike piano
wires; phonographs; and self-playing stringed, wind, and
percussion instruments of any kind.

The Musical Box Society International, chartered by the
New York State Board of Regents, is a nonprofit society
dedicated to the enjoyment, study, and preservation of
automatic musical instruments. Founded in 1949, it now
has members around the world, and supports various educational projects.
Regional chapters and an Annual Meeting held each year in different cities within the United States enable members to visit collections, exchange ideas, and attend educational workshops. Members receive six issues of the journal, Mechanical Music, which also contains advertising space for members who wish to buy, sell, and restore mechanical musical instruments and related items. Members also receive the biennial MBSI Directory of Members, Muse.ums, and Dealers.
The only requirements for membership are an interest in automatic music machines and the desire to share infor.mation about them. And you’ll take pride in knowing you are contributing to the preservation of these marvelous examples of bygone craftsmanship.
More Information online at www.MBSI.org, or
Call: (417) 886-8839, or
Email: jbeeman.mbsi@att.net

Copy this page, and give it to a potential new member. Spread the word about MBSI.
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4 MECHANICAL MUSIC November/December 2021
By David Corkrum
MBSI President
Greetings from your new president! By the time you read this, the 2021 MBSI Annual Meeting will have already taken place. I would like to extend my gratitude to Mark Yaffe for allowing me to use his orchestrion as a backdrop for my photograph.
As many of you know, I am not new to the Board of Trustees, having served as MBSI’s recording secretary for 14 years and your vice president for the last two years. That experience means I’ve had a view into the inner workings of our society’s governing body for quite some time. As one member said to me when I accepted the position of vice president, “You know where all of the bodies are buried!”
Our society has been through some tough times these past few years, what with the pandemic and the extreme temperatures that we and our nation have experienced, but we are still here and ready to share our collections with our members and the public.
During my time as a member, I have always felt that it was necessary for me to share my collection with those who I felt had no knowledge of it. I always felt satisfied that I was able to share the music and the information. In the past, I have organized many displays of mechanical music and really enjoyed explaining to the visi.tor about how these machines were constructed and how they produce such wonderful music. These expla.nations were mostly for music boxes or other small instruments.

Recently, I had occasion to visit with a former boss who is now living in Santa Maria, CA. We worked together at the FAA Flight Service Station in Oakland, CA, but she had never seen my collection. On this trip, as it so happened, I had picked up two music boxes from Robin Biggins who had restored them. I played both instru.ments for her and was then inundated with questions. She had never seen anything like these machines.
This is the type of response you get when operating a display for the general public and I encourage you to do the same. It can be as simple as inviting friends or neighbors into your home or organizing a larger display at a public park or museum. Many of our members do this and some even display instruments in their offices. Think about it and give it a try. You never know when you will hit a chord in some person’s brain.

In order for anything

A Lasting Legacy
once alive to have meaning, its effect must remain alive in eternity in some way
– Ernest Becker, Philosopher

The Musical Box Society International Throughout its history, MBSI has fostered an interest in and preservation of is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization. automatic musical instruments. Your gift to the Endowment Fund will All donations to the Endowment support programs that will help future generations appreciate these Fund are tax deductible. achievements of man’s creative genius. Visit www.mbsi.org to learn more. A gift of any size is welcome.
MBSI MEMBERSHIP DRIVE EACH ONE/REACH ONE NEW MEMBER
MBSI is always interested in increasing its membership and is pleased to offer new members a $15 discount off their ÿrst year’s membership. You are considered a new member if you have not been a member in the past three years. This discount is also available on our website, www.mbsi.org.
Current MBSI members who sponsor a new member will receive a $5 discount off their next year’s MBSI membership renewal for each sponsorship. Attach a copy of the discount voucher below to a copy of the membership application form on Page 4 of this issue of Mechanical Music. Place your name as “sponsor” on the application form.
Please make copies of these forms as needed and send the completed forms with checks to the MBSI administrator at the address listed below.

been members of MBSI or those who have not been members for three years prior to submission of this certiÿcate.
Gift Membership Name

Address, City, State, ZIP Phone Email Sponsor
SPECIAL OFFER: Purchase one or more ÿrst-year MBSI gift memberships at $45 each U.S., $55 Canadian, or $60 other Interna.tional and you will receive $5 off your next year’s MBSI membership renewal for each “New Member” gift.

Please mail this form together with your check made payable to “MBSI” to the MBSI Administrator at the address listed above. Memberships are $45 for U.S. residents, $55 for Canadian residents, and $60 for other International residents.
Editor’s Notes
By Russell Kasselman
MBSI Editor/Publisher
It seems each time I begin putting together an issue of this journal I find myself wondering what I’m
going to fill it with. By the end of the process, I’m consistently amazed at the fantastic content that has made itself available from our members who have such great stories to share. If you haven’t yet shared the story of one of the pieces in your collection, or an experience you had as a member of this society, please consider doing so. Imagine yourself at “Show and Tell” in grammar school and let the rest of us see the joy you have in being part of this hobby.
I owe thanks to Matt Jaro (now MBSI vice president if you hadn’t heard) for his regular Nickel Notes column with great coverage of the Reidy collection and their mechanical music story.
Thanks also go to regular contrib.utor Dr. Robert Penna for his article on the Silver Swan, a masterpiece created more than 200 years ago from 30 pounds of silver and currently on display in England.
Dr. Albert Lötz has contributed another detailed piece of writing, this time covering a method he has used to create digital MP3 audio files from photographs of a disc. You can even listen to the results of his work on the MBSI website.
Mark Singleton, recently retired and finding himself with more time to write, sent in a report on a music box recital held at a church in Germany. It’s another good example of mechan.ical music lovers exposing more of the public to the machines and music we already know and appreciate. I applaud both the efforts of the recital presenter and the author for bringing this event to our attention.
I am also quite excited to note that this issue contains something that’s been missing from this magazine for far too long, chapter reports! We have two reports from the Southern Cali.fornia Chapter, one from the National Capital Chapter and an update from the Northwest International Chapter. Everyone is taking precautions to stay safe while the pandemic continues, but it is absolutely wonderful (in my humble opinion) to see people getting together again to listen and look at music boxes.
Traditionally, the November/Decem.ber issue of this magazine is filled with images from, and an article about, the MBSI Annual Meeting that has just taken place. The timing of the meeting this year, and some circumstances beyond our control, have resulted in a slight delay to that schedule.
Don’t despair, though, as we have received a deluge of wonderful photos from those who were able to attend the convention. We’ll have a great write-up to go along with it as well as the minutes from the annual Board
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of Trustees meeting and the minutes from the annual general membership meeting.
Financial reports for the most recent year are available in this issue for your review, starting on Page 8.
The cover for this issue comes from Lowell Boehland’s set of photos taken during the tour of William Edgerton’s collection. The photo features an 1876 Dufner barrel organ, one of only three known Dufner machines left in the world and a fabulous example. Look for more photos of this machine and others from Lowell in the next issue.
I would like to welcome new photo.graphic contributor Robert Thomas in this issue as well. Two double-page spread photos from Robert’s annual meeting experience can be found on pages 34 and 36 in this issue. Addi.tional shots from Robert and also from Trustee Edward Cooley will be making great impressions on you in the coming year.
In closing, I wish you all the merri.est of holidays and a wonderful start to your new year. I hope to see you all in sunny California next fall for the joint MBSI/AMICA annual meeting in San Mateo, CA.

Welcome new members!
Rich LeVangie & Kathy Dunn August 2021 Nashua, NH Amanda Ho Kim Westphalen North Brunswick, NJ Lakewood Ranch, FL Kathleen & Terry Hillis Dean Bullock & Bryan MaloneNevada City, CA Folsom, CA Robert Howard Kevin Kline Newport News, VA Miami, FL Elizabeth & Thomas Fisher-York Ithaca, NY September 2021Allen Salyer Ryan JonasTroy, MI Elkhorn, WI Mark Mills & Scott Haynes Memphis, TN John & Jan Osborne Stanton, CA Sponsor: Ardis Prescott Brian & Deborah Schmidt Watauga, TX Holly Thiercof Pasadena, CA John Tresch Sacramento, CA Sponsor: Don Caine

November/December 2021 MECHANICAL MUSIC 7 8 MECHANICAL MUSIC November/December 2021 November/December 2021 MECHANICAL MUSIC 9 10 MECHANICAL MUSIC November/December 2021

Nickel Notes
By Matthew Jaro

The Reidy Collection

This edition of Nickel Notes is proud to present the wonderful and unique home of Dianne and David Reidy in Santa Ana, CA.
The Reidys have been longtime members of MBSI, dating back to 1974. They not only have musical instru.ments, but they have a 1900s soda fountain surrounded by ice cream parlor furniture and memorabilia, Hollywood memorabilia (including photos, costumes and many fine wax figures of the stars), post cards from mechanical music museums and soda fountains, stained glass, automata, and so many other things that your eyes can’t take it all in at once. Each succeeding glance around a room yields more objects that you hadn’t seen before. All the objects are of the finest quality. Dianne is very charm.ing and always has a ready smile. David tells stories and histories so interesting that listeners quickly find themselves entirely spellbound.
As always, I ask people how they got started in mechanical music and how they acquired their collections. Here is the interesting response:
Introduction to Mechanical Music
David met Dianne at the hospital where they both worked. They went to an antique show together and found themselves intrigued by the old things, while all around them the people they knew at the time were busy acquiring new things. They felt they needed a theme, and were introduced to the theme of the piano world, then to automated music, then to Hollywood memorabilia. They also collected old post cards related to their other collections.

In 1976, David and Dianne were looking for a piano, not any particular kind, just a piano to play. They saw an ad where somebody had an early square grand piano in Los Angeles, CA, and they made an appointment to see it. They went to the house and saw a square grand piano. The seller took the Reidys into a room where everything was covered with sheets. The seller said he was building a piano room and that’s why everything was covered over. David was asked if he played piano, and David said, “No, I don’t play piano.”

The seller said “Then why would you buy a square grand piano when you could have one of these pianos?” So, he took the sheet off of one of the pianos, put a roll on it, and the piano played itself! David asked, “What is that?” and the seller responded, “That’s a Reproducing Grand Piano.” The highlight of this story is that the seller was Ben and Mary Lilien, long.time MBSI members.
David asked where he could get one, and Ben said there are two people that could help him. One was Q. David Bowers and the other was a fellow
November/December 2021 MECHANICAL MUSIC 11
named Richard Rigg. David turned out not to be available to help at the time, but he did call up Richard who intro.duced the Reidys to George and Susie Coade. David also called the Coades (all this happened within a week) and Susie said they were hosting a get-to.gether at their house the following week. She invited the Reidys to visit, and also mentioned that they had a piano available for possible purchase, a Queen Anne Ampico B.
The music room
The Reidys and Richard Rigg arrived at George and Susie’s house and Susie said, “Go out back, there’s a music room there with our guests.” It turned out the guests were Q. David Bowers, Terry Hathaway, Mike and Marilyn Ames, Dick Carty, Ivor Becklund, the Maxwells and Jerry and Sylvia Cohen. The get-together was to demonstrate to everyone George’s newly acquired Weber Maesto. In fact, you can see George Coade sitting in front of this instrument on Page 242 of “Player Piano Treasury,” a book written by Harvey Roehl and published by Vestal Press.
Almost everything discussed during this get together was new to the Reidys, and they certainly didn’t realize until later that they were meeting with such a group of renowned collectors on that particular day. They quickly agreed to join the next meeting at the Cohens’ home where George and Susie Coade introduced the Reidys to what would eventually become their very own Ampico B piano.
The Knabe Louis XV Ampico A
In the time between the first meet.ing and the second, the Reidys were reading the want ads in the Orange County Register and saw that there was a Louis XV reproducing piano for sale. Richard Rigg accompanied them to Lake Forest, CA, (a near-by community) to look at the piano. The sellers were the original owners and the piano looked new. It was a 1922 Louis XV Knabe Ampico A. It turned out the sellers took a liking to the Reidys and wanted to visit their house twice a year to listen to the piano. The sellers actually made it a stipulation of the purchase. The Reidys borrowed the money for the purchase from the Orange County Credit Union. Diane and David remembered the folks at the credit union couldn’t imagine why someone would be borrowing money to buy a piano instead of a house or a car.

Richard Rigg, who was president of the Southern California chapter of the Automatic Musical Instrument Collectors’ Association (AMICA) at the time, and Dorothy Bromage, a very active AMICA member, recognized the

12 MECHANICAL MUSIC November/December 2021
Reidys as like-minded souls and asked them to join the organization.
Additional Items
During a trip to a local flea mart, David noticed a tag swinging from an umbrella which stated “Ampico Record Cabinet for sale.” David asked the dealer, “How do you know it’s an Ampico Record Cabinet?” The dealer replied, “It says it right on the door.” So after the flea market was over he went to the seller’s house and sure enough, he had a Louis XVI Ampico roll cabinet. The gentleman had no idea what he had and wanted $200. The Reidys bought it and took it home.
The Reidys visited a collector in Los Angeles named Bill Schutz to buy their first music box. As they walked into his living room, they saw a very large instrument. He asked what the instrument was and Bill replied, “Oh, you like that? It’s a Seeburg H and it’s only $10,000.” The Reidys then went into the garage to see approximately 50 clocks and 25 music boxes. David said he was new to the hobby, but he would like to buy something really nice, so he asked Bill to show him one of his favorites. Bill had a 15.-inch Reginaphone music box with a nick.el-plated horn and the Reidys took it home.
Their collection grew with a Swiss Chalet music box, a few nice phono.graphs, a 78-rpm record cabinet, and a Mills Violano acquired from Dr. Rudy Edwards, who became a very good friend over the years.
In 1976, two years after the Reidys joined MBSI, they attended their first convention hosted by their local chap.ter at the Grand Hotel in Anaheim, CA, next to Disneyland. The convention committee asked the Reidys to do several miscellaneous assignments. One of the tasks was to help attendees find local attractions. David remem.bers that while he was standing in the lobby of the hotel, a well-dressed gentleman limped over and asked him for a ride to the McKinnon auction in Santa Fe Springs, CA. David, who was driving a 1971 El Camino at the time, told the man there would be just enough room for the two of them. David learned from his passenger that McKinnon had just purchased Hathaway and Bowers, Inc., and was holding its first auction. On the way to Santa Fe Springs, the pair exchanged casual conversation. Arriving at the auction, the man asked David to be sure not to leave him behind. David said he would be sure not do that. When the man entered the auction he was met with much enthusiasm and escorted right to the front. After the auction, David had more time to talk with his passenger while sitting in heavy Los Angeles traffic.

He explained that he and his wife were new collectors who owned only one music box and one reproducing piano. David politely asked the man if he had any music boxes. The man said he had several. Later in the conver.sation David asked what happened to cause the man to limp. The man replied that he had dropped a music box on his foot! After returning to the hotel the man invited David and his wife to visit him in New York City if they were ever in town.
When David returned to the conven.tion table people asked him if he knew who he had just driven around town. David shrugged and said no. Then they told him, “You just spent the afternoon with Murtogh Guinness!”
Years later, while attending a reception in New York for the Smith mechanical music/coin-op auction at Sotheby’s, the Reidys were reintro.duced to Murtogh Guinness. He asked Dianne and David if they would be his guests the next afternoon. They accepted and the next afternoon was spent walking around a local street fair with their host. That evening he gave the Reidys a tour of his home, which housed his three-block-long collection. Around 9:30 p.m. he told the couple it was his bedtime but asked them to stay to play and enjoy all his instruments. David remembers it was quite an evening.
Building a Music Room
When David and Dianne were relatively new to the hobby, Southern California was a major destination for the collecting world that was interested in Automatic Musical Instruments. The Reidys admired the music rooms of long-time AMICA members, Bill Allen, Rudy Edwards, Jerry Cohen, and George Coade. Then they decided to build a music room in their own home. Many music rooms they had observed were themed as saloons, or carousels, but the Reidys decided to do something different. They went with a soda fountain theme. Traveling around the country in the early 1980s, they bought architectural objects related to soda fountains. They were fortunate enough to obtain a 1900s-era soda fountain manufactured
November/December 2021 MECHANICAL MUSIC 13

The circa 1900 soda fountain that sets the tone for the Reidys’ themed music room.

The room features hundreds of pieces of Hollywood memorabilia in display cases and on every wall.
14 MECHANICAL MUSIC November/December 2021
in Chicago. Today, their soda fountain music room is truly wonderful and unique.
The Wurlitzer PianOrchestra
In December 1990, the Reidys received a call from a friend in the antique business, who said there was someone who would like to see their collection. So, this friend came to the Reidys’ house accompanied by a group of Japanese collectors. The group informed the Reidys they were representing a buyer in Japan who wanted to acquire instruments. David showed them his collection and told them none of the items were currently available. The Japanese group admired the machines, then headed east to continue their search. David took note of their names and contact information in case he heard of something that became available.
As it happened, a few days later David attended a car swap meet and ran into a friend of his, John Ekman, who happened to own a PianOrchestra Style 12. David learned that Rudy Edwards and George Baker also owned PianOrchestras and that George’s instrument was on display at the Evans Car Museum in San Diego, CA, for a wedding. After the wedding George had planned to sell the PianOrchestra.
David went to the museum thinking that the Japanese buyers might be interested. Well, as it turned out David and Dianne sold their entire collection to the Japanese buyers and bought the PianOrchestra to replace it. They learned later that the Japanese collec.tor built a museum to house the Reidy collection.
David and Dianne, who were now the proud owners of a PianOrchestra Style 12, learned that the machine had originally been delivered to Lewiston, ME, in 1915 and then went to New Brunswick, Canada, sometime in the 1920s. There it was used in a skating rink for many years. In 1985 it was discovered by a steam engine collec.tor and then sold to Q. David Bowers. In 1988 George Baker bought it from
Q. David Bowers and restored it.
I find it amazing that out of only 99 PianOrchestras made, three would end up in Southern California within 20 miles of each other.

Instrument Acquisition
Collector and AMICA member Kenneth Vaughn, who had a large house in the Bel Air neighborhood of Los Angeles, maintained a garage for classic cars on the left and a big music room on the right of his house. Kenneth was co-owner of Hill and Vaughn, a world-class antique car restoration business. He employed an old-time instrument restorer, Warren Dale. Warren was one of the first restorers in Southern California and worked out of his shop in Azusa, CA.
Kenneth’s collection of automated musical instruments featured many items formerly owned by Robert Caudill, who was known as Dolby Doc in the 1960s.
November/December 2021 MECHANICAL MUSIC 15

A wider view of the music room showing many of the collected wax figures, glass lampshades and other Hollywood history.
Caudill operated the Last Frontier Village, the first themed attraction on the Las Vegas, NV, strip. He had thousands of pieces of historical significance taken from Elko County, NV, including many automatic musical instruments. After the Last Frontier Village closed, Caudill moved all of his collection to a cluster of warehouses that he owned near the Las Vegas airport.
Most of these instruments were later purchased by Kenneth and sent to Warren to be restored. After retir.ing, Kenneth moved to Coeur d’Alene, ID, and took his collection with him.
In 1999 David Reidy received a call from Warren to let him know that Kenneth’s collection was available for purchase. David and Dianne flew to Coeur d’Alene and purchased a Coinola CO, a Seeburg K with Xylo.phone, and a Knabe Louis XV Ampico A piano.
Thinking back to the 1970s, David remembers visiting the collection

16 MECHANICAL MUSIC November/December 2021
of one of the founding members of MBSI, Gene Ballard, in Los Angeles. He saw a late model Mills Violano with an original band box attached to it. When Gene passed away, David bought the Mills without the orchestra box through Rudy Edwards. Bob Gilson made six reproduction band boxes and David purchased one from Ken Rubin in New York. To this day, the Mills is completely unrestored and still plays wonderfully.
David said he was visiting Mike Argain in Fresno, CA, when he saw a beautiful 1940 Louis XV Ampico B piano that looked new. It had been housed in a museum in Fresno, but it wasn’t playing so the museum sold it to Mike. David and Dianne bought it from him. It’s all original and David was fortunate enough to find a match.ing roll cabinet from Roger Morrison, who worked at the Nethercutt Collec.tion in Sylmar, CA.
The Seeburg Liquor Cabinet
When people visited the Seeburg factory in its heyday no booze was allowed, this being the era of prohi.bition. J.P. Seeburg made a miniature Seeburg L liquor cabinet looking just like a piano. On the back there was a bracket so it could be chained to the wall. When the Seeburg factory closed, there were two items left, the liquor cabinet and a piano. They both went to the caretaker. A collector and restorer, Roger Kisslingbury, sold the cabinet to Don Rand and Ed Open.shaw, who later sold it to David and Dianne.
Sam the Mechanical Man
The first figure David ever bought was Sam the Mechanical Man who sits in front of the Coinola. David first saw Sam in an antique store in Los Angeles called Off the Wall.
He did not buy it at the time. Years later on a convention trip, David was looking at some photos that Mike Gorski had, and lo and behold, there was Sam. He was originally located at Moody’s Musical Museum in McGre.gor, IA. Later, he was moved to the The Toy Box in Burlington, IA. David purchased Sam through Mike and had it shipped out to California. Sam now

sits on a piano bench and plays the automaton made in 1915 for the San Coinola. Francisco Exposition World’s Fair. After the fair she was sent to the Sutro The Lady in the Moon Baths, a large, privately-owned public The Lady in the Moon was an saltwater swimming pool complex in
November/December 2021 MECHANICAL MUSIC 17
San Francisco, CA. In the late 1960s, the piece was bought by Jim Deroin at the auction featuring the Sutro collec.tion. It was later sold to an antique dealer, Neil Rasmussen, who discov.ered the piece in Jim’s chicken-coop in Northern California. Later, it was bought by a collector/dealer in Los Angeles, who had it for years and then sold it to the Reidys. It is the earliest dated wax figure in their collection.
Hollywood Wax Figures
Dianne worked with a nurse, Marga.ret O’Brien, who said to Dianne, “We really need to meet the legendary Margaret O’Brien.”
The legendary Margaret O’Brien was a Hollywood star (after whom Dianne’s co-worker was named). So Margaret O’Brien the nurse contacted the manager of Margaret O’Brien the Hollywood star and arranged to meet her at the Los Angeles Biltmore Hotel. Legendary Margaret O’Brien and her manager, Randal Malone, took a liking to the Reidys and invited them to join The Southern California Motion Picture Council. This organization has many events and gives lifetime achievement awards to legendary Hollywood stars and other motion picture related celebrities. In the last 15 years, as part of the organization, the Reidys met many stars, attended many events, and became increasingly interested in old Hollywood. They collected autographed photographs of the stars, but their next step was really amazing — collecting Hollywood wax figures.
Powell and Loy barroom
I asked David how he got started with this “wax” phase of a remarkable collecting history. David said he saw an article in a newspaper called The Collector in Orange County, CA. It said the Movieland Wax Museum, the third largest attraction in Orange County, was going to close and everything in the building was up for sale.
David said he thought it would be fun to pick up a few of the characters and place them in the house around the instruments. At the 2006 Movieland Wax Museum auction, the Reidys won the bid on 15 figures from the museum. David’s interest was piqued and he began to research other wax figures for sale and met many curators and owners of wax museums around the country. After visiting several wax museums, the Reidys began collecting retired figures from many of the world famous wax museums. Recently the Reidys have opened their own private wax museum, housing many of the old Hollywood legends.

The Western Electric Style X
A very famous collector in Southern California, Bill Allen, began collecting pianos about as early as anyone in

18 MECHANICAL MUSIC November/December 2021

Dianne and David with George Burns in the wax museum they have opened.

Paul Newman guards the rolls in the ice cream parlor music room. Wax figures in vintage Hollywood costumes look like they just stepped off a film set.
November/December 2021 MECHANICAL MUSIC 19

California. He was an early member of MBSI. When you visited his house he had a piano room in the back, but he would pull down a ladder and take you up to where there was a small piano. Allen said that this was the first piano he ever owned and he bought it with Walter Knott (of Knott’s Berry Farm fame). The Western Electric Style X with mandolin and piano was sold to Rudy Edwards, who, in turn, sold it to David, who really wanted to have a piece of history.
Nipper

David and Dianne even have a “Nipper” dog (the RCA Victor mascot). It was in Ken Vaughn’s collection. The dog was originally seated in the Pasadena Music Store in Pasadena, CA. David passed on purchasing the dog at the time, but one day got a call from Wolfgang Schweppe who wanted to swap the dog for an Ampichron Clock mecha.nism. The papier-mâché dog was picked up in Chicago by a mover/collector and delivered to David. The dog was lodged between two pianos on the way from Chicago to California and was squashed in the move. The dog went to the papier-mâché doctor and he is as good as new.
The Reidys really enjoy their collections, but the real

The Western Electric Style X, once owned by Bill Allen and Walter Knott of Knott’s Berry Farm fame.

lifetime achievement award for them has been meeting all the wonderful MBSI members and sharing each other’s treasures.
I hope you enjoyed our little trip to the Reidy household.
Email Matt Jaro at mjaro@verizon.net if you would like any information about style “A”, “G”, “4X”, “H” or “O” rolls. Also, comments and suggestions for this column will be appreciated.
Reprinted with permission of the author and The Automatic Musical Instrument Collectors’ Association (AMICA). Orig.inally printed in the March/April 2016 issue of The AMICA Bulletin.

20 MECHANICAL MUSIC November/December 2021
News from overseas
A Musical Box Recital at the church of St. Georg, Kandel, Germany.
By Mark Singleton, European correspondent.
On the afternoon of Sunday, Sept. 26, a small ensemble of musical boxes from the Nicole Family performed a recital in the church of St Georg in the town of Kandel, Southern Germany. The event was organised by the inim.itable Walter Behrent, inspirational collector and friend to many within our community.
The recital was part of an informal musical afternoon at St. Georg, start.ing with an appreciable performance on the church organ by Wolfgang Heilmann, before attentions turned to the musical boxes.
An excited hush pervaded amongst the gathering, where Walter conducted proceedings by giving a brief but inter.esting introduction to the musical box.
The reader may appreciate that the majority of those in attendance would be unaware of the existence of such instruments and did not know quite what to expect.
First on the agenda was a fine Nicole Frères Oratorio box. It delivered a splendid and, given the occasion, a most fitting virtuoso performance of Handel’s “Hallelujah Chorus.” The arrangement on this box is partic.ularly noteworthy, making sublime use of the forte-piano expression. The somewhat ethereal atmosphere within the church was intense, with many eyes wide in amazement. This is a wonderful box to listen to at any time, with the forte-piano overture format, sporting a 13-inch by 3.-inch cylinder. The acoustics in the ecclesi.astical environment, however, caused a visible shiver to run through all in attendance.
The piece, composed in 1741, is a true testament to Christianity, as earnings from the early performances of this oratorio were used to help the poor, needy, orphaned, widowed, and sick.

The second box was another Nicole, of a similar format, but this time we heard a more relaxing performance. It featured variations on “The Last Rose of Summer,” arranged by Thalberg. This is a box that allows the listener to relax and immerse oneself in.
Third, and last, but by no means least, was a quite passionate perfor.mance of the overture to Mozart’s “Don Giovanni,” delivered on a snuff box by the absolute grand master of them all, François Nicole. What a breath-taking finale!
The rapturous applause of appreci.ation from attendees lifted the roof. It must have been a very satisfying moment for Walter, ever the ambassa.dor of our interest, knowing his efforts were appreciated.
November/December 2021 MECHANICAL MUSIC 21
His own words in this quest were, “I’m hoping to spread the enthusiasm to a wider audience.”
The sea of smiling eyes indicated a job well done. For sure a memorable event for all who attended, and no doubt much of the enthusiasm will certainly have rubbed off.
Hopefully some of us can take a leaf from Herr Behrendt’s book and help spread the word.

Editor’s Note: If anyone outside of the U.S. is hosting a mechanical music themed event, please feel free to contact Mark directly at: Mikado54mark@gmail.com so it may be reported within these pages.

The publicity flyer for the event.

WE WANT YOUR STORY!
Every mechanical musical instrument has a tale to tell. Share the history of people who owned your instrument before you, or the story of its restoration, or just what makes it an interesting piece. Send stories via email to editor@mbsi.org or mail your story to Iron Dog Media, 130 Coral Court, Pismo Beach, CA 93449
22 MECHANICAL MUSIC November/December 2021
Deconstructing A Collection
Preparing Your Family To Handle Your Investment Down The Road
Thomas H. Ruggie, ChFC®, CFP®, Founder & CEO, Destiny Family Office.
The fire in me to build a sports memorabilia collection was quite liter.ally “in the cards.” Like many children, I loved playing baseball and watching it on television. My buddy’s dad was a newspaper photographer who took us to some Yankees’ spring training games.
I’d wait by the dugout to get players to autograph my baseball and began bringing baseball cards. The collecting bug bit me hard.
I made up my mind to build a complete set of 792 autographed 1989 Topps baseball cards. By the time I finished college, I had completed the set and realized I was investing in something I greatly enjoyed. Over time, I became more discerning as a collector and sold all my cards that didn’t have a prized autograph.
While the 1989 set of cards wasn’t particularly noteworthy, in the decades since, I’ve built a significant sports memorabilia collection. Based on that experience, as well as that of serving as a financial advisor for other collectors, here are some basic consid.erations for making the most of your investment and ensuring your family is prepared to handle your collection when you no longer can yourself.
Investing In Your Passion
With more than 200 million collec.tors worldwide, it’s not surprising that many of my high net worth and ultra high net worth clients are acquiring all kinds of collectibles, such as artwork, fine wine and spirits, jewelry, coins, vintage and classic cars, and arms and armaments as investments.
Right now, if I were to sell some of my memorabilia collection, I would do well financially. But there’s a liquidity risk on that type of investment and a risk I might have to sell in a down

1952 Topps Mickey Mantle autographed card
market. Think 2008, when artwork was devalued significantly on its auction value.
The long-term intent, by and large, is not to buy a collectible as an investment and sell it two or three years later. From a true collector’s vantage point, you want to buy an asset you’ll enjoy that will appreciate in value while you own it. Enjoyment is an important factor in determining what type of collection or collections you’ll build. Diversification can also be important if you are buying collect.ibles as investments. Trends can change, making prices volatile.
Objective Investment View
How do you manage the emotional quotient involved in deciding whether to buy collectibles?
Most people look at them as long.term investments — just like a client who is considering buying a beach house for $10 million knowing they will want to sell it down the road. The beach house market is pretty high right now. If this client wanted to flip
A note about this article
This article was first published on Forbes.com. While it does not specifically address musical box collections, it is included here as a feature of general interest to collectors, some of whom may be able to relate to the situations described and find the advice contained within useful for future planning.
If you have made a plan for the future of your collection and you feel it might benefit others in the Musical Box Society International, please feel free to share it by emailing your story to editor@mbsi.org.
it in a year or two, I’d say, “Don’t do it.” But if instead, they wanted to consider selling it 10 years down the road, that’s a different conversation.
Taking a long-term view alleviates a lot of the pressure, but you still want to have the mindset of “Even if I will enjoy this, I still want to look at it through the lens of its appreciation potential, as well.”
When Collecting Intersects With Your Worst Day
Even with all its complexities and nuances, collecting can be a passion project for the collector who understands and appreciates the intrinsic and extrinsic value of that collection. But what are the ramifica.tions for family members who don’t understand, appreciate or have an interest in a collection, if something were to happen to you? How do you prepare your family and advisors and institutionalize or socialize this for the greatest benefit to those you care about?
I will admit what I should do to protect myself and my family and
November/December 2021 MECHANICAL MUSIC 23
what I’ve done have not always been as closely aligned as they should have been. For example:

My collections are categorized and valuated.


If there is a fire or other disaster, my collections are insured.

However, there are additional steps I’ve talked about but haven’t fully executed. These are steps I encourage fellow collectors to take, as well. For example, it’s one thing to make comments to your spouse like, “Hey, if I get hit by a bus tomorrow, don’t start selling off my stuff without under.standing what you’re selling.” What you need to have in place is something that says, “I have a list of assets, and this is where it is, who you should discuss this with and what should happen to these assets to ensure you get the greatest benefit from them.”
Also make sure to:

Talk with dealers, auctioneers and others you trust ahead of time. If your family wants to sell the assets, document who your trusted resources are for them.


Create a detailed plan on how to liquidate a significant number of assets. Even family members who are engaged with your collection could benefit from such a plan.


If you’re married, consider what happens if you and your spouse get in a car wreck together; who steps in at that point to ensure the greatest benefit to your remaining family?

The Moral Of The Story
Make sure your heirs understand the value of things they might not have taken an interest in before — you don’t want them giving away a piece of a collection, such as a baseball card, without knowing what that card may be worth.
A few other considerations:


It’s important to have a trusted advisor in place to mitigate potential taxable events, includ.ing estate taxes.


You should have a well-thought.out plan of what to do with your assets.


There should be people, systems and processes in place to ensure your plan will be successfully executed.

Being a collector has informed how I interact with — and coach
— like-minded collectors as a finan.cial advisor. Every collector needs financial planning that reflects their passions and the individuality of their collections and also takes a multi-generational perspective of their collection.
The information provided here is not investment, tax or financial advice. You should consult with a licensed professional for advice concerning your specific situation.

24 MECHANICAL MUSIC November/December 2021
Curiouser
and
Curiouser

The amazing Silver Swan automaton
By Dr. Robert Penna

What if Alice had stumbled upon a cache of mechanical characters in her journey through Wonderland. Just what would she say if she saw a life-sized swan made of precious silver swimming along, preening its feathers and swallowing silver fish? She likely would have been amazed and uttered the famous words, “curiouser and curiouser” at
these automatons.
The term automaton conjures a range of images from futuristic robots to musical and mechanical creations of the
18th and 19th centuries. Basically, autom atons are mechanical objects that follow a prescribed set of movements once they are
manually put into operation. Supposedly these kinetic or moving sculp tures have entertained and
inspired awe in their audiences for thou
sands of years.
November/December 2021 MECHANICAL MUSIC 25

Swiss watchmaker John Joseph Merlin, creator of the Silver Swan automaton.
There are early accounts of autom.atons during the Han Dynasty in China dating to the 3rd century BC. It is recorded that an elaborate auto.mated orchestra was constructed and entertained the emperor. Automatons were also popular in China during the Sui Dynasty (581-615) and during the Tang Dynasty (618-907) where autom.atons served as entertainment at the imperial court. Records describe both animal and human automatons includ.ing flying birds, an otter, a monk and singing women.1
Although Greek and Roman records mention several automated devices activated by steam, water and moving weights, few details remain. Similarly, automatons were not unknown in the royal courts of the Islamic world. The famous water-powered floating orchestra of Al-Jazari entertained the sultan with an orchestra playing tunes while rowers propelled a boat around a lake in the 13th century.2
During the Renaissance, the manu.facture of automatons in Europe rose to new heights. Likely because of increased trade with Asia and the translation of early Greek texts, inter.est in designing and manufacturing these novelties increased. Gold and
Catalogue in which the sale of Silver Swan is included, July 1834

26 MECHANICAL MUSIC November/December 2021

A closeup shot of the detailed and layered feathers along the swan’s body.
silversmiths, as well as clockmakers, became essential in the construction of automatons as they had the skills necessary to construct and install the intricate mechanical parts needed.
Around 1784, Swiss watchmaker Pierre Jaquet-Droz invented the singing bird box which entertained audiences with its ability to mimic bird songs, flap their wings and move their heads, beaks, wings, and tails. Real hummingbird feathers helped the illusion of a real bird. The box upon which the bird sat hid bellows and whistles.3
More amazing is the life-size autom.aton swan made almost entirely of silver which mimics the actions of a live creature. Presently housed in County Durham at the Bowes Museum, Barnard Castle, Teesdale, this clockwork-driven device holds a music box to accompany its realistic actions. The swan sits in a stream made of glass rods which is surrounded by silver leaves. Small fish are visible swimming in the waters. the glass rods rotate giving an illusion After winding three separate clock-of rippling water. After preening itself, work motors, the music box plays, and the mechanical swan looks from side

November/December 2021 MECHANICAL MUSIC 27

The Silver Swan on display during its automated sequence bending its neck to “catch” a fish in its beak.
to side, gracefully bends it long neck, catches and appears to eat one of the fish. After swallowing a fish, the swan returns to its original position and the music stops. The whole episode lasts only 32 seconds, yet it captivates all who witness the action.
In 1773, inventor, watchmaker, and instrument maker John Joseph Merlin built this life-size automaton swan employing 30 pounds of silver. Although there are some references to James Cox as the inventor, research demonstrates that Merlin was the creator and Cox was the entrepre.neur who displayed and marketed it. According to authorities, in the early 1770s Cox “claimed to employ between 800 and 1,000 workmen. Most of them were part of a unique network of independent suppliers and craftsmen that existed in London in the second half of the eighteenth century. These craftsmen rarely signed their work.” Unfortunately, some historians have mistakenly given Cox full credit for the Silver Swan. Yet it would be fair to assume that both men collaborated on its construction.4
Just imagine the sensation the Silver Swan created when it was first exhibited at the Mechanical Museum in London. Reports indicate that it “was first recorded in 1774 as a crowd puller in the Mechanical Museum of James Cox, a London showman and dealer.”5 The privately owned museum, located at Spring Garden, London, was open until 1775 where it received rave reviews. Some authori.ties believe many of the reviews were actually planted by Cox who was discovered to be quite a showman and self-promoter.6
The novelty and beauty of the Silver Swan and the other automata exhib.ited at the Mechanical Museum drew large crowds. Cox’s Museum was among the most expensive exhibitions in London. The price of admission (5 shillings) was high not only to limit audience sizes, but also to draw the literati and upper classes.
The Mechanical Museum closed in May 1775 and its stock was sold by lottery. It is known that the swan was additionally sold several times.7
It next appears in the July 1834 auction catalogue of the firm Messrs
E. Foster & Son who were selling off the “valuable property forming the late Mr. Weeks’ Museum.” The auction was held on the premises of the museum over the course of three days. Dozens of automata are listed. The catalogue reads, “The late Mr. Weeks, after an unusually long and laborious life, devoted to the perfection of the most complicated and difficult principles of Mechanism, formed…the perfect Collection of Mechanical Curiosities extant.”8
On the third day, the Silver Swan was auctioned to the highest bidder. As Lot 273, the Silver Swan creation is described in the catalogue as:
The Silver Swan described above with its “Magnificent Temple’” would be much larger than the model on display at the Bowes Museum today. The original display combined both parts. In 1773, the Silver Swan had become so renowned, it was described in an Act of Parliament as being 3 feet (0.91 m) in diameter and 18 feet
(5.49 m) high. What remains today is no longer that tall. It is said that there was originally a waterfall behind the swan, which was stolen while it was on tour. This possibly could explain the reduced height.9
The Silver Swan appeared at the Exposition Universelle held in Paris in 1867. At that event, the automaton was observed by Mark Twain who recorded his reaction in a chapter of his book “Innocents Abroad,” writing “I watched the Silver Swan, which had a living grace about his movement and a living intelligence in his eyes,

28 MECHANICAL MUSIC November/December 2021

The Bowes Museum where the Silver Swan automaton is currently on display.
watched him swimming about as comfortably and unconcernedly as if he had been born in a morass instead of a jeweller’s shop.”10
It was at this same exhibition that John and Josephine Bowes saw the Silver Swan. Bowes, a wealthy land and mine owner was a serious collector of art. His wife, daughter of a clockmaker, was fascinated by this automaton and five years later in 1872, John Bowes purchased the swan for his wife for $318 (equivalent of $32,000 today) from a Parisian jeweler named Monsieur Briquet. Housed in the Bowes Museum at Barnard Castle, the Silver Swan is now on display.11
Understanding complex 18th century technology is needed to maintain this treasure which has undergone exten.sive restoration at various times in its history. In fact, because of the recent shutdown of the museum due to the COVID emergency, gears have frozen, and another restoration project must be undertaken.
There are many intricate parts in the Silver Swan automaton. The eight-tune musical repertoire is created by steel hammers striking bells under the swan. Utilizing a series of camshafts, rollers and levers to activate twisted glass rods, the appearance of moving water is created in which the swan seems to swim. The most complex machinery is found in the neck which utilizes four springs, five levers and 113 rings. In all there are 50 parts (plus screws), including five chains of vary.ing thicknesses that run over a series of rollers within the neck to link the parts. These chains are the originals made by children and young mothers whose hands were small enough for such fine work.12
There are many videos available that demonstrate the unique beauty of the Silver Swan. Some of the best are to found at: https://www.youtube. com/watch?v=cOGBP-5SxiI or scan the QR code below with your smart phone to watch now.

Sources

1. M.S. Rau Staff. “Automatons and Their Rich History,” M.S. Rau 7. “James Cox – Inventor” Wikipedia. https://en.wikipedia.org/ Ltd. wiki/James_Cox_(inventor)
2. https://rauantiques.com/blogs/canvases-carats-and-curiosi-8. Ibid. ties/automatons-and-their-rich-history
9. Bulletin of the Musical Box Society International, MBSI, Re.

3. Penna, Robert. “The Genius of Al-Jazari: An Automatic Musical minder 1968, Volume 14, Number 6 Instrument from the 13th Century,” Mechanical Music, MBSI,
10. “Silver Swan – Automaton” Wikipedia. https://en.wikipedia.org/
July/August 2020.
wiki/Silver_Swan_(automaton)

4. “Singing Bird Boxes – Valuations, History & Guide,” Mark Littler 11. Kennedy, Maev. “Mechanical Silver Swan That Entranced Mark Ltd., https://www.marklittler.com/singing-bird-box/
Twain Lands at Science Museum,” The Guardian. February

5.
Vincent, Clare & Leopold, J. H. “James Cox (ca. 1723-1800 : 2, 2017. https://www.theguardian.com/artanddesign/2017/ Goldsmith and Entrepreneur,” The Met. https://www.metmuse-feb/02/mechanical-silver-swan-flies-nest-robots-exhibition-sci.um.org/toah/hd/jcox/hd_jcox.htm ence-museum

6.
“The Silver Swan,” The Bowes Museum. https://www.thebow-12. Holledge, Richard. “Magic Wrought by a Merlin,” World Street esmuseum.org.uk/Collection/Explore-The-Collection/The-Sil-Journal, December 21, 2012. ver-Swan

November/December 2021 MECHANICAL MUSIC 29

The Digitization of Music Box Discs from Photographs
By Albert Lötz
the often rich and
these discs. It also
as MIDI files that played with programs and
undistorted image the disc perforations. This can, in principle, be obtained by scan-
that measure up
area are not readily
can analyze the a photograph taken

slightly distorted, which happens almost every time since most photographs are taken without special equipment ensuring the camera’s line of sight is exactly perpendicular to the plane of the disc. Fig. 1 shows a photograph of a Poly.phon 15.-inch disc with typical image distortions, and yet its music can still be obtained accurately by the program. The outer yellow circle is set at an identical distance from the center of the disc everywhere on its circumference. The blue traces indicating the perforations of the disc do not maintain the same identical distance from the center. The disc rim is also not the same distance from the center all the way around. It is obvious that the perforations cannot be assigned to the notes on the comb if these distortions are not taken into account adequately.
Fig. 1: The analysis of a 15.-inch Polyphon disc with the title “An der Weser” (On the Weser, a German river flowing into the North Sea at Bremen). The deviation of the perfect great yellow circle around the disc center from the blue non-circular traces for the notes demonstrates the perspective distortion. In each of the eight sectors (see Fig. 1a), the traces vary lin.early with the angle in their distance from the disc center, and can be calculated simply from the corresponding values on the adjacent sector borders. The values on the sector borders are provisionally extrapolated from traces of smaller diameter with a formula for the perspective distortion, and finally from the actual position of the disc perforations on the trace. The perforations appear as blue rectangles with a bright center. The red dots are the prediction from the extrapolation.

30 MECHANICAL MUSIC November/December 2021
Figure 1a: A single disc sector.
The Method
The disc is divided into any number of equal-sized angled sectors. The program used for this article was tested with between four and 36 sectors. The intersections of the blue traces for notes with the borderlines of each sector have a certain distance from the center of the disc whose best measurement is aimed at in this program, because this is more or less the solution to the problem. The traces between two intersections are an approximation to the true traces by a linear variation of the distance to the disc center with the angle. This is not supported by the theory of the main causes of distortion, but it works well in practice. In any case, should this not work satisfactorily, the number of sectors can be increased with correspondent reduction in the curvature of the arcs replacing the actual traces. As can be seen from Fig. 1, the arcs generally represent the actual perforations (blue rectangles) quite well.
How do we get the trace distances from the center at the
sector boundaries? This
is a two-step procedure.
First, we assume that
the series of intersec.
tions on a boundary
can be represented by
the simple function
R=(a+b*i)/(1+c*i)
(*=multiplication).
Here, R is the distance
from the disc center of
trace number i, with
i=1 for the trace with
smallest distance.
The letters a, b, and

c are numbers that
must take such
values that the series
of intersections on
a sector boundary
is represented as
best as possible.1
This function
for R derives
in a somewhat
simplified manner
from central
projection, very
well known as
the reduction in size of objects with distance, a main cause of distortion. It could be demonstrated to fit the distances on the sector borders very well by manually changing the parameters a, b, and c. However, this function is not used for the final determination of the distances to the center. It just serves for an extrapolation from all intersections with lower trace number to that following next. From its value, the arcs can be calculated, and the perforations lying on these arcs can be assigned to the note represented by the trace.
Only after this assignment for a complete trace, the intersections of that trace are calculated from the actual positions of the assigned perfo.rations by fitting the intersections and thus also the arcs to the positions of
1. On account of the non-linear dependence of R from c, the parameters a, b, and c must be calculated iteratively by the Newton-Raphson method, i.e. by a series of systematic approximations down to the required accuracy.
the perforations.2 This means that the determination of a trace on the disc is based on the actual positions of the perforations on this trace and thus includes any distortion, which is the essential point.
The extrapolation of the function R from already completely determined trace intersections with the sector boundaries requires an answer to how this process is started. It was found that the first three traces could still be approximated by perfect circles, so that the assignment of the projections in that region is simple. Nevertheless, the intersections were calculated afterwards on the basis of the actual positions of the projections as in the case of traces with higher trace number. In order to stabilize the extrapolation step, especially in the case of a succession of empty traces, the disc rim distances to the center are used. The disc rim is well defined by a systematic search procedure of the pixels of the disc image. In the case of the disc in Fig. 1, the rim was originally given by 6000 points from which approximately 70 were chosen (the red points in Fig. 1). Then the distances at the intersections of the sector boundaries with the disc rim and the arcs following from them were fitted (red line). The rim can be assigned a formal trace number from measurements on the real disc. That number, usually non-integer, and the rim distances from the center at the sector boundaries are included in every extrapolation with the function R.
The Transformation to the Music Score
It is best if the disc is photographed by being hung up on a cord in front of a white wall dimly illuminated by lamps in a darkened room. The digital color photograph should then be reduced to black-and-white (no shades of grey) with an appropriately chosen transi.tion limit in an image editing program (Photoshop, or GIMP). This is done in parts, because the illumination is
2. Using the method of Lagrange multipliers. The resulting system of linear equations is solved by Gaussian elimination with pivoting.
November/December 2021 MECHANICAL MUSIC 31

Fig. 2: A part of the score on a disc of a Symphonion 21.-inch with 10 bells showing the first measure of the main theme of the Intermezzo from the opera “Cavalleria Rusticana,” by Pietro Mascagni. The music for the bells appears in the uppermost staff.
usually not uniform. The detection of the perforations by the program proceeds as described in an earlier article of the author on organ rolls.3 The whole assignment process of the perforations to the traces is performed in polar coordinates (distance from the disc center and angle from the beginning of the disc). The process ends with the storage of a text file which has the number of traces in its first line, and in every following line first the number of perforations on the corresponding trace, and then the polar angle (in degrees) of each perforation.
The final part of the program prepares the input file for the music engraving program Lilypond4 that also outputs a MIDI file. This part needs a specification of the music box for which the disc was made. At the moment, three music boxes are incorporated, a Polyphon 15.-inch, a
3. Albert Lz, Zwei Computerprogramme zur Konvertierung von Notenrollen in Musiknoten und MIDI (Two Computer Programs for the Conversion of Music Rolls to Scores and MIDI), Das Mechanische Musikinstrument, No.141 (Resheim, 2021), p. 34.
4. lilypond.org
Symphonion 21.-inch (with 10 bells), and a Polyphon 24.-inch. The scale of each instrument5 is divided into voices (four to six) taking into account the partially diatonic tuning that requires certain keys. A note of a music box (formally a percussion instrument) cannot have a duration in the proper sense. Yet, in order to avoid too many rests in the score, each note is ascribed a duration that results from the difference in angle to the next note within the same voice. Before doing so, all angles of the whole file are multiplied by a factor of order of magnitude 10, so that a measure as required by the melody consists of 128 units (=1) for 4/4 or 96 for 3/4 time, i.e. the smallest unit used is a 128th note.
5. The scales for the two bigger instruments published in Kevin McElhone, The Disc Musical Box (Musical Box Society of Great Britain, 2012) each contain a printing error. The first (=lowest) note on the upper comb of the Symphonion 21.-inch must be F. instead of F (p. 255), and the ninth note on the upper comb of the Polyphon 24.-inch must be F instead of F. (p. 243), because else these notes do not fit harmonically to other ones sounded simultaneously in both cases, a result of this digitization, and corroborated by direct inspection of the real disc. The scales used in this program are lower by a semitone (two semitones) in the case of the Symphonion 21.-inch (Polyphon 24.-inch).
Notes of shorter duration are assigned to chords. On account of small irregu.larities on the disc and other reasons, there may be a very short note at the beginning or end of a measure belong.ing musically to the adjacent measure. This is not music written on a table, but actually played! The discretization of the angle differences to note duration leaves a remainder after the rounding to an integer. This remainder is added to (or subtracted from) the next note before its discretization. Notes whose duration does not have a note symbol,
e.g. five 16ths, are written as two or more notes with ties.
The Polyphon 24.-inch discs require a further treatment, because it was found that the projections in the bass section advance the treble projections on the real disc in order to compensate the much larger trace length in the treble for the same swept angle. Only by this expedient, a treble and a bass note can be plucked simultaneously. Some experimenting on four different discs resulted in the application of a delay to the bass section of 0.038*(94.
i) degrees (i=trace number) up to trace 93.

32 MECHANICAL MUSIC November/December 2021

Fig. 3: The same music as arranged for a Polyphon 24.-inch disc.
The Intermezzo from “Cavalleria Rusticana”
As an example of the application of the program, the Intermezzo from the opera “Cavalleria Rusticana,” by Pietro Mascagni, was chosen. As to the arrangement on the Polyphon 15.-inch, it suffices to say that the arrangement is not of high quality, but that is not the result of the smaller size of the disc. There are many quite excellent arrangements for this instru.ment, some of which have already been digitized with this method.
Fig. 2 shows the arrangement of the first measure of the main theme in the case of the Symphonion 21.-inch. The notes for the 10 bells are on the uppermost staff. They play the melody that begins with a D followed by an F, and then a B
(only the beginning of this note can be seen as the last note on the staff). The melody is also played in a mandolin-like fashion by the voice on the third staff from above that plays the notes B
and D in rapid succession, the first two notes of the triad of B
major. When the bells play F, the third voice changes to the two upper notes A and C of the F major triad which is completed by the F in the second voice from above that plays this note likewise in mandolin fashion. The two voices of the bass accompany the three treble voices by notes from the triad of B
major and later F major, with small parts of their voices in rapid notes for a rhythmic accent. Note the sub-contra B
, the lowest note of the comb, played together with the great F, in the beginning of the fifth voice from above. The result of this arrangement of the Intermezzo is a very clear and pleasant sound in mandolin fashion which can be heard throughout the whole piece.
The corresponding arrangement for the Polyphon 24.-inch can be seen in Fig. 3, likewise in B
major. The theme appears most clearly in the second voice from above that plays a D and later F in mandolin fashion, however with much less rapid repetition than in the Symphonion instrument (16th instead of 32nd or 64th notes). The first voice also plays these notes in mando.lin fashion, alternating between two Ds separated by one octave. The third voice plays the notes of the theme more slowly, but in a rhythmic accen.tuated fashion. The fourth and fifth voices accompany the treble voices with notes of the B
major and F major triad, in the fourth voice rhythmically, while the sixth voice plays the basic notes of the harmonic succession. The sound resulting and continuing in this manner is very beautiful and rich. Also, the introduction to the Inter.mezzo in the style of an arioso is so finely executed that the disc can only be qualified as most excellent.

Scan the QR codes below to listen to MP3s on the MBSI website. The sound files were prepared from the MIDI files of the dig.itization using the Winamp program that contains the Microsoft GS Wavetable with the music box and bell sounds. Conversion to MP3 was performed with Audacity.

“An der Weser’’

Intermezzo from

Intermezzo from
“Cavalleria Rusticana’’
“Cavalleria Rusticana’’
on Symphonion 211/4.
on Polyphon 241/2-inch
inch disc
disc
November/December 2021 MECHANICAL MUSIC 33

Sneak Peak
Missed the 2021 MBSI Annual Meeting in Ft. Myers, FL, this year? We’ll have all the details for you in an upcoming issue of this publication. For now, however, enjoy this image taken by Robert Thomas on a tour of Mark and Christel Yaffe’s collection in Tampa, FL.
November/December 2021 MECHANICAL MUSIC 35

This image of a photoplayer complete with cameras, screen and movie theater seats that was taken by Robert Thomas on a tour of Joel and Pam Jancko’s wonderful collection in Plantation, FL.
Sneak Peak
Interesting Tidbits

By Charles Wilson
In 1987, we attended the meeting in St. Paul, MN. We were relatively new to music boxes at that time, so we really enjoyed all of the activities. I attended several of the informal activities about restoration. I was really impressed with the techniques demonstrated by the premier restorer, Elton Norwood.
We were strolling around the park, taking in the marvelous machines on display. To my surprise, the same Elton Norwood appeared with one of his puppets. I was extremely lucky to be able to take this photo. I just happened to be at the right place at the exact right time. Of all of my hundreds of 35 mm slides I have accumulated over the years, I consider it one of my best. The surprise and delight of the little girl, the love visually expressed by the father, say more than inade.quate words.

Southern California Chapter
Chapter Chair: Robin Biggins Reporter: Robin Biggins Photographer: Lowell Boehland
Aug. 14, 2021 — Dana Point, CA
It has been a long time since we have had a meeting because of the virus pandemic, so on Saturday, Aug. 14, we kicked off with one of the great collections in our area!
We have missed the hospitality of our hosts and the companionship of our chapter friends, all because of COVID-19. Now we had the oppor.tunity to enjoy the wonderful array of mechanical music in the Choate collection. Automatic pianos, Nickel.odeons, band organs, musical boxes, orchestrions and many more instru.ments were played and discussed by our hosts.

Mike Choate demonstrates the Lösche orchestrion for a visitor. An overview of the music room featuring jukeboxes, orchestrions, nickelodeons and more.

Members enjoying the sound of a DeCap dance organ.

Music is everywhere in the Choate home. A Cremona J Orchestrion plays a tune for the crowd.
40 MECHANICAL MUSIC November/December 2021

All members were fully vaccinated and mostly wore masks except when outside enjoying a beautiful day around the swimming pool.
Mike and Kathy Choate provided snacks and beverages while we listened to the musical instruments, many of which were operated by the MIDI system, which added interest and contributed to much discussion. We particularly enjoyed the Wurlitzer harp, DeCap dance organ, DeCap street organ and the Cremona J. There were 35 members in attendance, including two guests and one new member.
We held a brief business meeting and reminded everyone that we will be sending out a dues notice before the year end, since we have had a dues hiatus for two years.
Some members had a three-hour drive each way to attend this meeting but they agreed it was well worth it.

November/December 2021 MECHANICAL MUSIC 41

National Capital Chapter
Chapter Chair: Matthew Jaro Reporter: Paul Senger Photographers: Jan Bender, Knowles & Ginny Little and Paul Senger
Sept. 18, 2021 — Bowie, MD
The National Capital Chapter (NCC) held its first Organ Grind and Music Box Demonstration at the Old Bowie Celebrates Festival. The festival included musicians, arts and crafts vendors, art exhibits, magicians, stilt walkers, food vendors, lots of hands-on activities for kids, a train ride and more. This is a startup event to revive a previous yearly large celebration.
Our group set up by the railroad museum, which includes an interlock tower, railroad library, and passenger shelter. The event organizers provided us with canopies and tables, so it was a great place to be located and play our instruments. The town was origi.nally called Huntington City after the man who financed the railroad. John King who is a National Capital Chap.ter member and also the economic development director of the City of Bowie invited us more than a year ago to participate in this event. It was delayed from May 2021 to September because of the COVID pandemic.
Many visitors stopped by our tables showing lots of enthusiasm after a long year and a half of quarantine. There were lots of smiles. It turned out to be a great event. The chief organizer, Verna Teasdale, stopped by and thanked us for our demonstration as did John King.
Terry and Jan Bender demonstrated their R20/78 custom “Original Raffin,” with six melody stops with tenor and base accompaniment. Lots of kids of all ages tried their hand at cranking Paul Senger’s John Smith 20-note organ, and all left with smiles and Organ Grinder Certificates of Achieve.ment. It’s always fun to watch the

Paul Senger plays a tune for a visiting family.

A young visitor enjoys playing Paul Senger’s John Smith organ. She was rewarded with an Organ Grinder certificate.
Theresa Kraus and John King try their hand organ at grinding.

Jan Bender and Engineer Ernie discuss their unique talents.

Knowles Little at the kids’ table. An attendee tries out the Gem roller organ.
November/December 2021 MECHANICAL MUSIC 43
music go through the organ. Knowles Little manned the music box and organ table. We had a 15.-inch Regina music box from 1906, a Gem roller organ, a circa 1790 Serinette, Mechanical Organette, and Wurlitzer Juke Box music box that played punched paper strips. People were amazed at the instruments from 100 years ago and older that still played. We had some musically inclined people that were fascinated by the music and instru.ments. Young people were wowed at history of mechanical music before electronics.
Ginny Little worked with the younger crowd at the Touch Table as they played a jack-in-the box, mechanical ostrich, paper strip music box, Knowles Little’s first music box, a circa 1945 juke box, big and small music boxes of all kinds and a loud train whistle that was perfect at the train station.
Thanks to everybody who came Saturday to display our hobby.
Last minute update
We were recently notified that “The Old Bowie Steering Committee wants to give the MBSI an honorarium for providing your time, talent, and music boxes” at the festival. “You were all much appreciated and enjoyed. One person stopped me to say you were the best event at the festival!”

44 MECHANICAL MUSIC November/December 2021
Southern California Chapter
Chapter Chair: Robin Biggins Reporter: Robin Biggins Photographer: Lowell Boehland
Oct. 2, 2021 —Fullerton, CA
This is our second chapter meeting since the COVID-19 pandemic started, and while we are still recovering what a recovery this was! It is the first time our members have visited Bob and Judy Burtscher’s fabulous collection of mechanical music in their beautiful home. The Burtschers obtained their first musical box about 30 years ago, but because of other interests did not really get involved with the hobby until they joined MBSI in November 2019. Then, they really got involved! In the last two years they have collected over 200 machines ranging from deli.cate Sur Plateau miniatures to a Mills Violano, a Symphonion Eroica and all sizes of Regina and other disc boxes. Their cylinder box collection is really outstanding, including Nicoles, Pail-lards, Mermods (one with 18 20-inch cylinders!) and many others with different formats. There are singing bird boxes and cages, a Station box, boxes with bells and organs, a box with seven dancing dolls and every piece is in perfect restored condition.
Twenty-eight members attended, and Bob gave an interesting talk and played many of the cylinder and disc machines before the chapter business meeting. Bob and Judy were applauded for their hospitality and the delicious array of food and beverages. It was noted that there were two recipients of the MBSI Trustees Award for 2021 from our chapter. Jody Krav.itz and Robbie Rhodes were honored for contributing greatly to the interest in mechanical music through the website Mechanical Music Digest. It was noted that chapter dues have not been collected for the last two years because of the pandemic although some who did pay dues will be cred.ited for 2022.

The Geo. Baker with seven dancing dolls enhanced by the rear mirror. Bob shows more of his musical boxes.

Bob shows the 20-inch Mermod with some of the 18 cylinders. Bob describes a box in his collection to a guest.

Bob discusses the 20-inch Mermod with a group of onlookers.
46 MECHANICAL MUSIC November/December 2021

An overview of the music room.

The dining room set up with a display.
November/December 2021 MECHANICAL MUSIC 47
Following the business meeting, Bob continued to talk about his collection and, in particular, the smaller snuff boxes. He was assisted by Christian Eric. Members visited around the pool and koi pond, and walked through the fantastic garden described below by Bob.
The Garden of Judy and Bob Burtscher
My wife, Judy, and l have been avid gardeners for most of our 48 years of marriage. In 1972, while I was away, Judy dug out a tree stump and planted a Sago Palm. That act sparked my interest, and the result is what you see today.
This is our second garden on the property. Beginning in 2014 we started specializing in rare palms, especially those from Madagascar and New Caledonia. These palms are mostly tropical so in our area they are difficult to grow and they grow very slowly. We have more than 150 species of palms from dwarf to very large.
After planting the palms, we then added unusual companion plants and rock features. We chose plants with unique shapes and leaf sizes. For contrast, we incorporated different colored plants ranging from silver to burgundy. As you walk through our garden, you will see palms, cycads, succulents, tillandsias, orchids, ferns, bromeliads, pachypodiums, aloes, and agaves just to mention a few. We have also invested a lot of time into having points of interest throughout the garden. We first added a koi pond, a couple waterfalls, a dry riverbed and an underwater garden. In those we used many types of rocks which include Jade, Mexican Onyx, pink quartz, white quartz, various colors of Mexican pebbles, lava rock, turquoise and tumbled rock. Other points of interest like fossils, shells, coral, minerals, crystals, ironwood, petrified wood, burled wood, stalactites and stalagmites have been added during the years.
Our garden has been enjoyed by avid gardeners from all over the world. If you visit, we hope you will take time to notice all the details as that is the true beauty of our garden.

48 MECHANICAL MUSIC November/December 2021

Just a small part of the stunning garden showing flowering stem-succulents and Pachypodium Lameri among other varieties.

The group gathers for a photo on the shaded patio among the wonderful plants and musical boxes.
November/December 2021 MECHANICAL MUSIC 49

Northwest International Chapter
Chapter Chair: Rick Swaney
The Northwest International Chap.ter covers the states of Washington, Oregon, and Idaho, plus British Columbia, Canada. We normally meet four times a year, most frequently near Seattle, but with at least one meeting in Canada each year. Because of the driving distances involved for some members, our meetings are usually two-day events. Three of the meetings include an open house hosted by a member, a dinner in a restaurant, and some interesting place or event to visit. The December meeting is a one-day luncheon and holiday cookie exchange.
We are a relatively small chapter. There are currently 10 family member.ships, corresponding to 17 members. One of the advantages of being small is that all the members are able to host meetings in their homes.
Due to the social gathering restric.tions and the closed Canadian border, we have not held a chapter meeting since 2019. The last meeting we had was a holiday luncheon in December 2019 hosted by Annie Tyvand. This was a joint event between our chapter and the Pacific Can-Am AMICA chapter.
The AMICA chapter experimented with Zoom meetings in 2021. They invited our chapter to join them for their June meeting. Several of our members did join in. The meeting included a couple virtual collection tours.
We are hopeful that our chapter can resume in-person meetings before the end of this year.

A reminder on viewing etiquette when visiting collections
Most of us know what to do, and what not to do when visiting a collection. Although we may own similar pieces, some instruments can be unique in the way they operate. Of course there can be various stages of restoration or operating order so remember these common-sense rules when visiting collections:

Always ask the host if photo.graphs or video may be taken. If you intend to publish these photographs/videos, please get the host’s permission to do so and ask whether the host wants the collection identified.


Do not smoke inside the home and ask permission to smoke outside the home on the owner’s property.


Never bring food or drink near

any of the instruments.

Hands Off is the best policy and beware of belt buckles and other objects that could cause damage.


Do not play any instrument unless given permission by the host to do so. It is always best if the host turns on the instrument – some of them can be pretty finicky.


Never try to adjust or repair an instrument unless asked to do so by the host.


Do not ask the host or instrument owner the value of an instrument or how much it would cost to purchase one. Several mechanical music dealers are listed on the MBSI web site and they could be contacted for guidance about a particular instrument.


Unless an instrument is marked “For Sale” don’t ask the host if

a particular instrument can be purchased. After attending a meeting, please send a note of appreciation. In the note you could express admiration for a particular instrument and advise the host of your potential interest should it ever become available.

Meeting hosts generously open their homes and collections to members. Be sure to introduce yourself to them and sign any guest book. Thank the hosts when you leave and a thank you note would be most welcome.


When instruments are being played, please refrain from talking. This is especially true when softly voiced instruments (such as musical boxes, bird boxes, etc.) are being played.

WE WANT YOUR STORY!
Every mechanical musical instrument has a tale to tell. Share the history of people who owned your instrument before you, or the story of its restoration, or just what makes it an interesting piece. Send stories via email to editor@mbsi.org or mail your story to Iron Dog Media, 130 Coral Court, Pismo Beach, CA 93449

Marilyn Ames — 1932-2021
By Anne Ames
Mike and Marilyn Ames joined the Musical Box Society in 1969. They enjoyed hosting MBSI functions, attending functions and the camara.derie of the fellow members over the past 50-plus years.
The collection at Solana Instru.ments is not only unique but beautiful and Marilyn played a significant role in ensuring that the building was well laid out, beautiful, and was welcoming for guests. Her personal interest was in glassware and lamps, furniture, and the provenance of the various instruments that they collected over the years.
Marilyn was born in Los Angeles, CA, daughter to Margaret and Carl Weber and older sister to Arthur. She attended La Jolla High School, was valedictorian, and went on to obtain her bachelor’s degree from UC Berk.ley where she graduated summa cum laude. She was truly a brilliant woman whose intellect was equally matched with kindness, compassion, and care for others. In 1958 Marilyn married Michael Ames while working as secre.tary to the director of Oceanographic Instrumentation at Scripps Institute of Oceanography. Later Marilyn was the executive secretary to the head of fusion research at General Atomic.

Her first of two daughters, Anne, was born in 1960 and Alison arrived in 1966. Marilyn was a truly dedicated mother, working as a teaching assis.tant grading AP literature papers at Torrey Pines High School where both of her daughters graduated.
She is survived by her husband of 63 years, Mike and daughters Anne and Alison. Mom was beautiful, had a good sense of humor, loved sports and animals, and was our number one supporter. We miss you so much Mom. Rest in peace.

Herb Mercer — 1932-2021
The Southern California Chapter enthusiastic collectors of mechanical reports that member Herb Mercer music machines. He will be sorely passed away Aug. 15 after a years missed. long battle with cancer. Herb was always so upbeat and positive in every Condolences can be directed to: way. He and Rochelle hosted several Rochelle Mercer Southern California Chapter meet-31940 Foxfield Dr. ings at their home and were always West Lake Village CA 91361

November/December 2021 MECHANICAL MUSIC 51
Advertise in The Mart

Have some spare parts or extra rolls taking up the space where you should be installing your next acquisition? Ready to trade up, but need to sell one of your current pieces first? Get the word out to other collectors by advertising in The Mart, an effective advertising tool at an inexpensive price.
Go online to place your advertisement at www.mbsi.org, fill out the form in the Mart section, or contact Russell Kasselman at (253) 228-1634 to get started. You may also email advertisements to editor@mbsi.org

A Lasting Legacy

Throughout its history, MBSI has fostered an interest in and preservation of automatic musical instruments. Your gift to the Endowment Fund will support programs that will help future generations appreciate these achievements of man’s creative genius. Visit www.mbsi.org to learn more.

In order for anything once alive to have meaning, its effect must remain alive in eternity in some way
– Ernest Becker, Philosopher
The Musical Box Society International is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization. All donations to the Endowment Fund are tax deductible. A gift of any size is welcome.

52 MECHANICAL MUSIC November/December 2021

Missed the Annual Meeting?

Table favors from MBSI’s 71st annual meeting, held in Fort Myers, FL., are now available for purchase. In keeping with the theme “Young at Heart” these playful carousels are reminiscent of younger times. As the horses revolve, the song of the Sunshine State, “You are my Sunshine,” plays.
Favors are $25 each,
or 2 for $45, plus shipping.
$10 for East Coast,
$15 West Coast,
$12 in between.
Instructions for winding,
placing the ˜ag and
the label are in the
mailing box.
Send your check, made payable to “Southeast MBSI” and the number of favors desired to Wayne and Mary Ellen Myers, 2165 Blue Iris Place, Longwood, Fl 32779. Call 407-739-5086 or 407-630-1360 for more info.

58th Annual Meeting of the Automatic Musical Instrument Collectors Association & 72nd Annual Meeting of the Musical Box Society International

Hosted by the AMICA Founding Chapter and the MBSI Golden Gate Chapter
San Mateo Marriott, near the San Franciso Airport in San Mateo, California

Ride the train through the redwoods to the top of the mountain

Stanton’s Auctioneers Upcoming Music Machine Auction Located at 1350 N. M-37 Highway, at the Barry Expo Center, Hastings, Michigan on: Thursday, Friday and Saturday, January 6, 7, and 8, 2022 We have now begun work on our winter music machine auction. The sale already includes the Ron Sitko Estate Collection including machines and related phonographs with a Rare Berliner Tin Can Ratchet Wind example, Berliner JS, 2 Edison Bijou Coin-operated phonographs, Bettini reproducers, cabinets, and more. In addition to the Sitko Estate, we have also received the collections of the Chris Janko Estate and the Koontz Estate both from Northern California. These collections contain disc and cylinder music boxes, clocks, and wood horn phonographs. In addition to these collections, the sale will also include the Leland Fletcher Estate Collection from San Diego that includes an excellent representation of music boxes, Mills Violano with Midi, Reginaphone OAK Lions Head Style 240 combination music box and phonograph, a fantastic collection of clocks and watches, and more. We are currently accepting individual machines and collections of phonographs, music boxes, nickelodeons, and band organs, as well as high end antiques and coin operated items. Call us to discuss your items, collections, and the estates that you may be representing. We also continue to work with museums around North America in the deaccession of items and our efforts to find interested buyers for the items through our catalogs, online promotion, mailers, and phone bidding. Stanton’s can arrange pickup of your collections anywhere around the country.
Stanton’s Auctioneers, Steven E. Stanton Appraisers, & Realtors (517) 331-8150 cellular144 S. Main, P.O. Box 146 ’E-mail – stevenEstanton@gmail.comVermontville, MI 49096 SAUCTIONEERS & REALTORS TANTONS Phone: (517) 726-0181 Michael C. Bleisch Fax: (517) 726-0060 (517) 231-0868 cellular E-mail: stantonsauctions@sbcglobal.net E-mail – mcbleisch@gmail.com Website: www.stantons-auctions.com

Music Box Company, Inc.
We restore Swiss cylinder and disc music boxes.

Cylinders are repinned if necessary and all worn parts are rebuilt to original specifications or better.


Combs are repaired and tuned. Nickel plated parts are replated as needed.

Trust your prized music box to the finest quality restoration available. We have been accused of over restoring! Better over than under I say!
We will pick up your music box anywhere east of the Mississippi River, and transport it to our shop in Randolph, Vermont, where it will be stored in a climate-controlled area until it’s finished and returned.
We have a complete machine shop where we build Porter Music Boxes, more than 3,000 so far. We are unique in the industry in that we are capable of manufacturing any part needed to restore any music box.
See our website, www.PorterMusicBox.com, to read letters of recommendation and browse a selection of the finest disc boxes currently being manufactured anywhere in the world. We have twin disc models, single disc models with 121/4” or15 1/
“ discs, and table models with beautiful cabinets created for us in Italy. Also we can
occasions.
P.O Box 424 Randolph, VT 05060

support.

Call (802) 728-9694 or email maryP@portermusicbox.com

The Musical Box Society of Great Britain announces the publication of two new books Published in September 2018

100pp Hard Back ISO A4 format [8.27” . 11.70”; Profusely illustrated in
Supplement to

colour throughout with Additional Illustrations of Models, 89 Additional Lid The Disc Musical Box Pictures Additions to Lists of Models, Patents, Tune Lists & Serial Numbers; Combined Index of Images in the original book and its Supplement.
Compiled and Edited by Kevin McElhone Originally published in 2012 and still available The Disc Musical Box
ISBN 978-0-9557869-6-9
is a compendium of information about Disc Musical Boxes, their Makers and their Music; profusely illustrated in colour throughout with Illustrations of each Disk Musical Box Model, and with Catalogue Scans, Lists of Models, Patents & Tune Lists.
Supplement to

Compiled and Edited by Kevin McElhone
100pp Hard Back ISO A4 format [8.27” . 11.70”; Profusely illustrated in
Patents, Tune Lists & Tuning Scales; A New Section on Trade Cards; Combined Index of Images in the original book and its Supplement.
The Organette Book is a compendium of information about Organettes, their Makers and their Music. Originally published in 2000 but now out of print although second-hand copies are occasionally available in online auctions.

************************************************************************************************************************ For all MBSGB Publications, please refer to the Musical Box Society of Great Britain website for further details including latest availability, discounted prices and information on how to order. -www.mbsgb.org.uk
58 MECHANICAL MUSIC November/December 2021

4-4time.com
“I am still delighted with the machines I bought from you. Your prices were fair, everything was just as you described it.”
– Joe… Baraboo, WI, April 2020
Browse our selection of music boxes,

Call / Text: 256-702-7453 Email: four.four_time@yahoo.com

November/December 2021 MECHANICAL MUSIC 59

MECHANICAL MUSIC
Journal of the Musical Box Society International
MECHANICAL MUSIC
Journal of the Musical Box Society International Devoted to All Automatic Musical Instruments
Volume 63, No. 3 May/June 2017
MECHANICAL MUSIC
Journal of the Musical Box Society International Devoted to All Automatic Musical Instruments
Volume 63, No. 1 January/February 2017

CIRCULATION
Mechanical Music is mailed to more than 1,500 members of the Musical Box Society International six (6) times per year.
ALL ADS MUST BE PREPAID
The Musical Box Society International
accepts VISA, Mastercard and online
payments via PayPal.
Devoted to All Automatic Musical Instruments
DISPLAY ADVERTISING DIMENSIONS & PER ISSUE COSTS

Dimensions 1 issue 2-3 issues 4-6 issues
Back Cover 8.75” x 11.25” $600 $540 $510
Inside Covers 8.75” x 11.25” $450 $405 $383
Full Page 7.25” x 9.75” $290 $261 $247
Half Page 7.25” x 4.5” $160 $144 $136
Quarter Page 3.5” x 4.5” $90 $81 $77
Eighth Page 3.5” x 2.125” $50 $45 $43

Non-members pay a 10% surcharge on the above rates
Display Discounts shown above are calculated as follows:
3 consecutive ads
10% Discount 6 consecutive ads
15% Discount
EIGHTH CLASSIFIED ADS PAGE
QUARTER
3.5” x 2.125” • 47¢ per word
FULL PAGE PAGE
• ALL CAPS, italicized and
3.5” x 4.5”
bold words: 60¢ each.
8.75” X 11.25”
• Minimum Charge: $11.
(0.5” bleed)
• Limit: One ad in each category
7.25” x 9.75”
• Format: See ads for style
(live area) HALF PAGE
• Restrictions: Ads are strictly
HORIZONTAL
limited to mechanical musi.
7.25” x 4.5”
cal instruments and related items and services

PRODUCTION SCHEDULE
ISSUE NAME ADS DUE DELIVERED ON
January/February December 1
January 1 March/April February 1
March 1 May/June April 1
May 1 July/August June 1
July 1 September/October August 1
September 1 November/December October 1
November 1

PRINTING & ARTWORK SPECIFICATIONS
Mechanical Music is printed on 70 lb gloss Email fi les to: paper, with a 100 lb gloss cover, sad-mbsi@irondogmedia.com dle-stitched. Trim size is 8.25” x 10.75”.
USPS or Fed Ex to: Artwork is accepted in the following for-Iron Dog Media, LLC mats: PDF, PSD, AI, EPS, TIF. All images 130 Coral Court and colors should be CMYK or Grayscale Pismo Beach, CA 93449 and all fonts should be embedded or converted to outlines. Images should be a minimum of 300 dpi resolution.
Of Special Interest!

I have just acquired the collection of the late Charlie Moore, well-known restorer and collector of Organettes, as well as the only person known to have made reproduction roller organ cobs. Charlie was honest and gentle, quick with a smile and a hug…one of those people who you wish there were more of in the world. He was giving of his knowledge of his ‘hobby’ and enjoyed sharing his passion.
It is now time to find appreciative homes for the things he treasured most. There are over 150 pieces in the collection and it will take time to inventory everything, but all items are for sale now. Call me!
Part of the collection consists of over 40 roller organs playing 6” cobs including Concert Roller Organs, early cob organs, open bellows, enclosed square cased, home models, etc. Because of the number of repetitive pieces, these will be sold by the piece or in quantity at a discount. There are paper roll Organettes; Organettes playing cardboard and zinc discs, and machines playing cardboard book music. There are five GRAND ROLLER ORGANS. There are at least 70 cartons to open that should contain both new and original cobs and maybe some interesting surprises! There are empty cases, parts/project boxes, and cardboard boxes filled with…????

Nancy Fratti Music Boxes
PO Box 400 – Canastota NY 13032 USA 315-684-9977 — musicbox@frontiernet.net

VINTAGE 1972 REUGE 4.50 MUSIC BOX
THE MART
burlwood inlay with butterflies. Mechanism
RESTORED MUSICAL BOXES Offering a serviced professionally 8/2021. Plays four
variety of antique musical boxes, discs, arrangements composed by Strauss. Rich
orphan cylinders, reproducing piano rolls & resonance. $1,200.00. Contact MARY-HOPE
out of print books about mechanical music. MILLIGAN, at (704) 437-0495
BILL WINEBURGH 973-927-0484 Web:
Display Advertising Dimensions and Costs
Dimensions 1 issue 3 issues* 6 issues*
Back Cover 8.75” x 11.25” $600 $540 $510
Inside Covers 8.75” x 11.25” $450 $405 $383
Full Page 7.25” x 9.75” $290 $261 $246
Half Page 7.25” x 4.5” $160 $144 $136
Quarter Page 3.5” x 4.5” $90 $81 $77
Eighth Page 3.5” x 2.125” $50 $45 $43
Add a 10% surcharge to the prices shown above if you are not a member of MBSI.
*Display Discounts shown above are calculated as follows:
3 consecutive ads 10% Discount
6 consecutive ads 15% Discount

ALL ADS MUST BE PREPAID
We accept VISA/MC and Paypal.
ADVERTISING DEADLINES:
The 1st day of each even month: Feb., Apr., Jun, Aug., Oct. and Dec.
Display ads may be submitted camera-ready, as PDF files, or with text and instructions. File submission guidelines available on request.
Errors attributable to Mechanical Music, and of a significant nature, will be corrected in the following issue without charge, upon notification.
CLASSIFIED ADS

47¢ per word


ALL CAPS, italicized and bold words: 60¢ each.


Minimum Charge: $11 per ad.


Limit: One ad in each category


Format: See ads for style


Restrictions: Ads are strictly limited to mechanical musical instruments and related items and services


MBSI member’s name must appear in ad


Non-members may advertise at the rates listed plus a 10% surcharge

PLEASE NOTE:
The first two words (or more at your choice) and the member’s name will be printed in all caps/bold and charged at 60¢ per word.
Mechanical Music
Mechanical Music is mailed to all members at the beginning of every odd month — January, March, May, July, September and November.
MBSI Advertising Statement
It is to be hereby understood that the placing of advertisements by members of the Society in this publication does not constitute nor shall be deemed to constitute any endorsement or approval of the busi.ness practices of advertisers. The Musical Box Society International accepts no liability in connection with any business dealings between members and such advertisers.
It is to be further understood that members are to rely on their own investigation and opinion regarding the reputation and integrity of advertisers in conducting such busi.ness dealings with said advertisers.
antiquemusicbox.us
THE GOLDEN AGE of AUTOMATIC MUSI.CAL INSTRUMENTS By ART REBLITZ. Award-winning classic that brings historical, musical, and technical information to life with hundreds of large, vivid color photos. We guarantee you’ll find it to be one of the most interesting, inspiring, informative books you have in your library–or your money back. Everyone has been delighted, and some readers have ordered several copies. Get your copy today for $99 plus S/H. MECHANI.CAL MUSIC PRESS-M, 70 Wild Ammonoosuc Rd., Woodsville, NH 03785. (603) 747-2636.
http://www.mechanicalmusicpress.com

MARVELS OF MECHANICAL MUSIC -MBSI Video. Fascinating and beautifully-made film which explains the origins of automatic musical instruments, how they are collected and preserved today, and their historic importance, MBSI members and collections are featured. $20 USD. Free shipping in the continental U.S. Additional postage charges apply for other locations. Purchase now at www.mbsi.org
SUBMIT ADS TO:
MBSI Ads 130 Coral Court Pismo Beach, CA 93449 (253) 228-1634 Email: editor@mbsi.org

62 MECHANICAL MUSIC November/December 2021

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Advertise in The Mart
Have some spare parts or extra rolls taking up the space where you should be installing your next acquisition? Ready to trade up, but need to sell one of your current pieces first? Get the word out to other collectors by advertising in The Mart, an effective advertising tool at an inexpensive price.
Fill out the form below and mail to MBSI at 130 Coral Court, Pismo Beach, CA 93449. Call (253) 228.1634 with questions.
3………. Renaissance Antiques 52…….. Music Box Restorations 52…….. Miller Organ Clock 53…….. Morphy Auctions 54…….. Southeast Chapter 55…….. Golden Gate Chapter 56…….. Stanton Auctions 57…….. Porter Music Box Company 58…….. MBSGB 58…….. American Treasure Tour 59…….. Reeder Pianos 59…….. Cottone Auctions 59…….. Ben’s Player Piano Service 59…….. 4-4Time.com 61…….. Nancy Fratti Music Boxes 66…….. Marty Persky Music Boxes 67…….. Special Auction Services 68…….. Auction Team Breker
Name Phone Email Text of ad

ORDER EXTRA COPIES
Call MBSI Administrator Jacque Beeman at
(417) 886-8839 or send a check to: Musical Box Society International P.O. Box 10196 Springfield, MO 65808-0196
November/December 2021 MECHANICAL MUSIC 63

OFFICERS, TRUSTEES & COMMITTEES of the MUSICAL BOX SOCIETY INTERNATIONAL®
OFFICERS COMMITTEES Membership Committee Nominating Committee
Chair, TBD Dan Wilson, Chair
President Audit
David Corkrum, President Tom Kuehn, Immediate Past Pres.

David Corkrum Edward Cooley, Chair, Trustee Richard Dutton, Trustee Bob Caletti, Golden Gate, Trustee 5826 Roberts Avenue Dave Calendine, Trustee Mary Ellen Myers, Trustee, Mary Ellen Myers, Trustee, Oakland, CA 94605 Matt Jaro, Vice President
Southeast Southeast musikwerke@att.net

Endowment Committee Robin Biggins, Southern California Jonathan Hoyt, Golden Gate Edward Kozak, Treasurer, Chair Judy Caletti, Golden Gate Robin Biggins, Southern California Vice President Edward Cooley, Trustee Gary Goldsmith, Snowbelt Aaron Muller, Lake Michigan Matthew Jaro Dave Calendine, Trustee Julie Morlock, Southeast
Publications Committee

24219 Clematis Dr B Bronson Rob Pollock, Mid-America Bob Caletti, Chair, Trustee Gaithersburg, MD 20882 Wayne Wolf Paul Senger, National Capital Richard Dutton, Trustee mjaro@verizon.net Dan Wilson, Piedmont
Executive Committee Steve Boehck
Gerald Yorioka, Northwest Int’l

David Corkrum, Chair, President Christian Eric
Recording Secretary TBD, East Coast
Matthew Jaro, Vice President Kathleen Eric
Linda Birkitt TBD, Lake Michigan
Tom Kuehn, Immediate Past Pres.
PO Box 541 TBD, Sunbelt Publications
Dave Calendine, Trustee
Sub-Committee
San Juan Capistrano, CA 92693

Bob Caletti, Trustee Museum Committee
Website Committee

scarletpimpernel28@yahoo.com Sally Craig, Chair
Finance Committee Rick Swaney, Chair
Matt Jaro, Vice President

Treasurer Edward Kozak, Chair, Treasurer B Bronson
Glenn Crater, National Capital

Edward Kozak Wayne Wolf, Vice Chair Don Henry
Ken Envall, Southern California

3615 North Campbell Avenue Edward Cooley, Trustee Knowles Little, Web Secretary
Julian Grace, Sunbelt
Chicago, IL 60618 Peter Both Richard Simpson, East Coast Special Exhibits Committeeekozak1970@gmail.com

Marketing Committee Chair Mary Ellen Myers, Trustee,
Museum Sub-Committees

Bob Smith, Chair Southeast
Ohio Operations

Dave Calendine, Trustee David Corkrum, President,
Rob Pollock, Mid-America

TRUSTEES Judy Caletti Golden Gate Dave Calendine Donald Caine, Southern California
Meetings Committee
Bob Caletti SPECIAL ACTIVITIES Jack Hostetler, Southeast
Matt Jaro, Chair, Vice President
Edward Cooley Knowles Little, National Capital
Judy Caletti Publications Back Issues:
David Corkrum Judy Miller, Piedmont
Tom Chase Jacque Beeman
Richard Dutton Aaron Muller, Lake Michigan
Cotton Morlock
G.Wayne Finger Regina Certificates: Wayne Myers, Southeast
Rich Poppe
Matt Jaro B Bronson Rick Swaney, Northwest Int’l Tom Kuehn
MBSI Pins and Seals: MBSI Editorial Office:

Mary Ellen Myers Jacque Beeman Iron Dog Media 130 Coral Court
Librarian:
Pismo Beach, CA 93449 Jerry Maler editor@mbsi.org
Historian:
Bob Yates
MBSI FUNDS

Members can donate to these funds at any time. Send donations to: General Fund (unrestricted) MBSI Administrator, Endowment Fund (promotes the purposes of MBSI, restricted) PO Box 10196, Ralph Heintz Publications Fund (special literary projects) Springfield, MO 65808-0196. Museum Fund (supports museum operations)
All manuscripts will be subject to editorial review. Committee and the Editorial Staff. are considered to be the author’s personal opinion. Articles submitted for publication may be edited The article will not be published with significant The author may be asked to substantiate his/her or rejected at the discretion of the Publications changes without the author’s approval. All articles statements.
64 MECHANICAL MUSIC November/December 2021
CALENDAR OF EVENTS
Date Event Location Sponsor
Aug. 31-Sept. 5, 2022 Joint MBSI / AMICA Annual Meeting San Mateo, CA Golden Gate Chapter/ AMICA Founding Chapter

When will your chapter meet next? Holding a “virtual meeting?” Let us know! Send in your information by Dec. 1, 2021, for the January/February 2022 issue. Don’t hold your questions until the next chapter meeting.
Ask them today on our Facebook discussion group – the Music Box Society Forum.
Please send dates for the Calendar of Events to Russell Kasselman (editor@mbsi.org)
CONTACTS

Administrator Jacque Beeman handles back issues (if available) $6; damaged or issues not received, address changes, MBSI Directory listing changes, credit card charge questions, book orders, status of your membership, membership renewal, membership application, and MBSI Membership Brochures. P.O. Box 10196 Springfield, MO 65808-0196 Phone/Fax (417) 886-8839 jbeeman.mbsi@att.net
Traveling MBSI Display Bill Endlein 21547 NW 154th Pl. High Springs, FL 32643-4519 Phone (386) 454-8359 sembsi@yahoo.com
Regina Certificates: Cost $5. B Bronson Box 154 Dundee, MI 48131 Phone (734) 529-2087 art@d-pcomm.net
Advertising for Mechanical Music Russell Kasselman Iron Dog Media 130 Coral Court Pismo Beach, CA 93449 Phone (253) 228-1634 editor@mbsi.org
CHAPTERS
Snowbelt
Chair: Tracy Tolzmann (651) 674-5149 Dues $10 to Gary Goldsmith 17160 – 245th Avenue Big Lake, MN 55309
Southeast
Chair: Jack Hostetler (352) 633-1942 Dues $5 to Clay Witt 820 Del Rio Way Unit 203 Merritt Island, FL 32953
Museum Donations Sally Craig, 2720 Old Orchard Road Lancaster, PA 17601 Phone (717) 295-9188 rosebud441@juno.com
MBSI website Rick Swaney, 4302 209th Avenue NE Sammamish, WA 98074 Phone (425) 836-3586 r_swaney@msn.com
Web Secretary Knowles Little 9109 Scott Dr. Rockville, MD 20850 Phone (301) 762-6253 kglittle@verizon.net
CHAPTERS
East Coast
Chair: Elise Low (203) 457-9888 Dues $5 to Roger Wiegand 281 Concord Road Wayland, MA 01778 or pay via PayPal, send to treasurereccmbsi@gmail.com
Golden Gate
Chair: Jonathan Hoyt jenjenhoyt@yahoo.com Dues $5 to Dave Corkrum 5826 Roberts Ave. Oakland, CA 94605
Japan
Chair: Naoki Shibata 81-72986-1169 naotabibito396amb@salsa.ocn.ne.jp Treasurer: Makiko Watanabe makikomakiko62@yahoo.co.jp
Lake Michigan
Chair: Aaron Muller (847) 962-2330 Dues $5 to James Huffer 7930 N. Kildare Skokie, Illinois 60076

Mid-America
Chair: Rob Pollock (937) 508-4984 Dues $10 to Harold Wade 4616 Boneta Road Medina, OH 44256
National Capital
Chair: Matthew Jaro (301) 482-2008 Dues $5 to Florie Hirsch 8917 Wooden Bridge Road Potomac, MD 20854
Northwest International
Chair: Rick Swaney (425) 836-3586 Dues $7.50/person to Kathy Baer 8210 Comox Road Blaine, WA 98230
Piedmont

Temp Chair: Dan Wilson (919) 740-6579 musicboxmac@mac.com Dues $10 to Dan Wilson 4804 Latimer Road Raleigh, NC. 276099
Southern California
Chair: Robin Biggins (310) 377-1472 Dues $10 to Diane Lloyd 1201 Edgeview Drive Cowan Hgts, CA 92705
Sunbelt
Chair: Ray Dickey (713) 467-0349 Dues $10 to Diane Caudill 4585 Felder Road Washington, TX 77880

Copyright 2021 the Musical Box Society International, all rights reserved. Permission to reproduce by any means, in whole or in part, must be obtained in writing from the MBSI Executive Committee and the Editor. Mechanical Music is published in the even months. ISSN 1045-795X
November/December 2021 MECHANICAL MUSIC 65
7

Mechanical Music at its Best -Visit www.Mechmusic.com
Instrument Brokering & Locating / Appraisals / Inspections / Free Consultation

Welte 4 Concert Violina Orchestra Wurlitzer CX with Bells Hupfeld Helios II/25 Welte Brisgovia C Luxus

Weber Unika Weber Maesto Weber Otero Seeburg KT Special Bowfront Violano

Regina 35 w Clock Nelson Wiggen Style 8 Symphonion 25st

Call Marty Persky 847-675-6144 or email: Marty@Mechmusic.com for further information on these and other fine instruments.

MECHANICAL MUSIC
November 30th 2021

To include musical boxes from the estate of the late Graham Webb

A ‘Rigid Notation’ musical box by F. Nicole, playing one overture in two rotations and one other air, all by Rossini; and (above) one of several musical snuff boxes
Enquiries: Hugo Marsh Hugo@specialauctionservices.com
Special Auction Services Telephone: +44 1635 580595
Plenty Close
Off Hambridge Road Email: mail@specialauctionservices.com
NEWBURY RG14 5RL
UNITED KINGDOM www.specialauctionservices.com

»SG-38« School Glider, 1942
Edmund Schneider factory in Grunau, Silesia. The most prolific aircraft for solo flight training in the German Reich.
L.M. Ericsson Skeleton-Telephone No. 370
(1. Model), 1884 onwards Estimate: 7.000 – 8.000 ˜ /

Estimate: 16.000 – 25.000 ˜ / 8,500 – 10,000 US$ 19,000 – 30,000 US$
Laboratory Test Model of »Sputnik 1 EMC/EMI«, 1957
English Fairground Carousel, c. 1960
Full-Scale model of the »Sputnik-1«
Fully functioning children’s carousel.
satellite. An historically important
Ø approx. 8 m/315 in., electric drive,
artefact from the dawn of the space age,
can be demounted for transport.

Early Telephone made by one of very few surviving examples.
Estimate: 15.000 – 20.000 ˜ / 18,000 – 24,000 US$

L.M. Ericsson, 1878 Estimate: 200.000 – 250.000 ˜ / One of the first Ericsson
240,000 – 280,000 US$ telephones from 1878–79 Estimate: 9,000 – 12.000 ˜ /10,800 – 14,500 US$
Summicron 2/35 with M3 Spectacle World’s Leading Specialty Auctions Viewfinder, 1963 Estimate: 2.200 – 2.800 ˜ /
»Science & Technology« · »Aerospace«
2,600 – 3,300 US$
»Telephone & Office Icons«
»Lavochkin V-751« Supersonic Flying Laboratory, 1957
»Mechanical Music« Two-stage rocket, length 10,8 m/425 in.. Estimate: 15.000 – 25.000 ˜ /
»Fairground Attractions«
18,000 – 30,000 US$
»Photographica & Film«
6 November 2021
CIAM-NASA Hypersonic Flying Laboratory »Kholod«, 1991

Developed by the Central Institute of Aviation Motors
(CIAM) USSR. Fastest series-produced flying object from Ericsson Telephone from the 1991 to 1998. Only 3 more known worldwide. Royal Castle in Oslo, c. 1880 Estimate: 40.000 – 70.000 ˜ / 48,000 – 84,000 US$ Estimate: 18.000 – 25.000 ˜ /
Tellurium and Lunarium by
22,000 – 30,000 US$
Svanstr & Rylander, c. 1890 Estimate: 1.200 – 2.000 ˜ /1,450 – 2,400 US$
French Box Microscope, c. 1760 Estimate:
9.000 – 12.000 ˜ /Gebrer Bruder Universum Fairground Organ, c. 1925 10,800 – 14,400 US$ Original front, excellent playing condition, on trailer. Estimate: 30.000 – 35.000 ˜ / 35,000 – 42,000 US$ English Ellis-Type Aquatic Brass Microscope with Box Base, c. 1770
Estimate: 3.000 – 5.000 ˜ /3,500 – 6,000 US$

Märklin Wonder Wheel, c. 1956
Nuremberg Cuff-Type Compound The First Complete
Total height 128 cm/51 in.

Microscope, 1750 onwards Wall Telephone Set by
Estimate: 3.000 – 5.000 ˜ /
An early and very rare microscope L.M. Ericsson, 1880
3,500 – 6,000 US$

of Nuremberg production! Extraordinarily rare, Estimate: 5.000 – 7.000 ˜ / produced for one year 6,000 – 8,500 US$ only!
Estimate:
10.000 – 12.000 ˜ /12,000 – 15,000 US$

Waldkirch Automaton Organ by Bruder, c. 1860 »Ruth / Voigt« Fairground Organ 8 melodies,14 carved and Ruth organ, c. 1890, rebuilt by Heinrich Voigt 1938. Curta Type I Calculator, 1959 painted moving figures Excellent playing condition. The smallest miniature stepped.
(Napoleon on horse etc).

Estimate: 50.000 – 60.000 ˜ / 60,000 – 72,000 US$ drum machine and a true Estimate: 25.000 – 40.000 ˜ / milestone in calculating history!
30,000 – 50,000 US$
Estimate: 500 – 800 ˜ /
…and many more !
600 – 1,000 US$

For more information and large colour photographs of some more of the upcoming Highlights please visit our website at: www.Breker.com / New Highlights and youtube.com/auctionteambreker Fully-illustrated bilingual (Engl.-German) COLOUR Catalogue available against prepayment only: Euro 28.– (Europe) or elsewhere Euro 37.– (approx. US$ 44.– / Overseas)
. Consignments are welcome at any time!
Small Children’s Carousel, c. 1990

6 animals, Ø 2,20 m/79 in., height approx. 3,20 m/126 in. Summicron 2/35, 1974 Estimate: 12.000 – 15.000 ˜ /
Estimate: 2.000 – 2.500 ˜ / – The Specialists in »Technical Antiques« – 14,500 – 18,000 US$ 2,400 – 3,000 US$ P. O. Box 50 11 19, 50971 Koeln/Germany · Tel.: +49 / 2236 / 38 43 40 · Fax: +49 / 2236 / 38 43 430 Otto-Hahn-Str. 10, 50997 Koeln (Godorf)/Germany e-mail: Auction@Breker.com · www.breker.com · Business Hours: Tue – Fri 9 am – 5 pm
PLEASE FEEL FREE TO CONTACT OUR INTERNATIONAL REPRESENTATIVES: Japan: Murakami Taizou, Tel./Fax (06) 68 45 86 28 * murakami@ops.dti.ne.jp · China: Jiang Feng, Tel. 138 620 620 75 * jiangfengde@gmail.com Hong Kong, Taiwan, Singapore: Alex Shih-Chieh Lin, (HK), Tel. (+852) 94 90 41 13 * alexsclin@gmail.com England: Tel. +49 (0) 176 991 40593 * AuctionTeamBrekerUK@outlook.de · France: Pierre J. Bickart, Tel. (01) 43 33 86 71 * AuctionTeamKoln@aol.com Russia: Maksim Suravegin, Tel. +7 903 558 02 50 * Maksim-ATB.ru@gmx.net · U.S.A.: Andrew Truman, Tel. (207) 485 8343 * AndrewAuctionTeamBreker@gmail.com
.

Volume 67, No. 5 September/October 2021

MECHANICAL MUSIC

Journal of the Musical Box Society International Devoted to All Automatic Musical Instruments
Volume 67, No. 5 September/October 2021

PURCHASE • SALES • CONSIGNMENT
of Quality Cylinder & Disc Music Boxes, Musical Clocks & Automata
For over forty years we’ve placed fine antiques in collections around the world. Our reputation has been built upon appreciative buyers and satisfied sellers. Pictured are a few of the musical antiques in our current and recent inventories.

496 First Street, California 93463 • Ron & Julie Palladino Open Seven Days a Week 10-6 • 805-452-5700 www.renantiques.com
PURCHASE • SALES • CONSIGNMENT Visit the charming Danish Village of Solvang, half an hour above Santa Barbara in the beautiful Central Coast Wine Country

Editor/Publisher
Russell Kasselman (253) 228-1634 editor@mbsi.org
MBSI Editorial Office:
Iron Dog Media 130 Coral Court Pismo Beach, CA 93449 editor@mbsi.org

MECHANICAL MUSIC
Journal of the Musical Box Society International
Devoted to All Automatic Musical Instruments
Volume 67, No. 5 September/October 2021

MBSI NEWS
5 President’s Message 7 Editor’s Notes 8 Outreach Corner
53 In Memoriam

Publications Chair
Bob Caletti
All manuscripts will be subject to editorial review. Articles submitted for publication may be edited or rejected at the discretion of the Publications Committee and the Editorial Staff. The article will not be published with significant changes without the author’s approval. All articles are considered to be the author’s personal opinion. The author may be asked to substantiate his/her statements.
Mechanical Music (ISSN 1045-795X) is published by the Musical Box Society International, 130 Coral Court, Pismo Beach, CA 93449 six times per year. A Direc.tory of Members, Museums and Dealers is published biennially. Domestic subscription rate, $60. Periodicals postage paid at San Luis Obispo, CA and additional mailing offices.
Copyright 2021. The Musical Box Society Inter.national, all rights reserved. Mechanical Music cannot be copied, reproduced or transmitted in whole or in part in any form whatsoever without written consent of the Editor and the Executive Committee.
MEMBERS: SEND ADDRESS CORRECTIONS TO: MBSI, PO Box 10196, Springfield, MO 65808-0196 Or, make corrections on the website at www.mbsi.org.
POSTMASTER: SEND ADDRESS CHANGES TO
MBSI, PO Box 10196, Springfield, MO 65808-0196

Features
11 Nickel Notes by Matt Jaro
24 A Family Affair
31 A Tip on Repairing a Tuning Lead
33 An Italian Organ Grind.er’s Life
41 The SEGA Grand Pianist
47 A Fortunate Find
52 Interesting Tidbits

MBSI has replanted 146 trees so far as part of the Print ReLeaf program.

On the Cover
Matt Jaro took this detailed shot of a Hupfeld Excelsior Pan Orchester case while on a tour of the Nether.cutt Collection’s music room. Read more about the entire collection in Nickel Notes on Page 11.

M
echanical music is a fascinating hobby! It appeals to the artist, historian, craftsman, and
musician all at the same time. Play an automatic
musical instrument in a room full of people and all else
will stop as the machine enraptures the audience with the
sparkling melodies of yesteryear!

Mechanical music instruments are any sort of auto.
matically-played machine that produces melodic sound
including discs and cylinder music boxes that pluck a steel
comb; orchestrions and organs that engage many instru.
ments at once using vacuum and air pressure; player and
reproducing pianos that use variable vacuum to strike piano
wires; phonographs; and self-playing stringed, wind, and
percussion instruments of any kind.

The Musical Box Society International, chartered by the
New York State Board of Regents, is a nonprofit society
dedicated to the enjoyment, study, and preservation of
automatic musical instruments. Founded in 1949, it now
has members around the world, and supports various educational projects.
Regional chapters and an Annual Meeting held each year in different cities within the United States enable members to visit collections, exchange ideas, and attend educational workshops. Members receive six issues of the journal, Mechanical Music, which also contains advertising space for members who wish to buy, sell, and restore mechanical musical instruments and related items. Members also receive the biennial MBSI Directory of Members, Muse.ums, and Dealers.
The only requirements for membership are an interest in automatic music machines and the desire to share infor.mation about them. And you’ll take pride in knowing you are contributing to the preservation of these marvelous examples of bygone craftsmanship.
More Information online at www.MBSI.org, or
Call: (417) 886-8839, or
Email: jbeeman.mbsi@att.net
Copy this page, and give it to a potential new member. Spread the word about MBSI.
Last name First Name Initial
Last Name First Name Initial
Address

City State / Zip Postal Code / Country
Phone Fax E-mail
Sponsor (optional)

Membership Dues
US members (per household)……………………………………….$60 Student Membership $20
(online journal access only)
Canada…………………………………………………………………………$70 Other International………………………………………………………$75
(Add $20 for International air mail.)
Join online: www.mbsi.org/join-mbsi
Check or Money Order Payable to: MBSI Treasurer (US Funds Only) Mail to: New Member Registration – MBSI PO Box 10196 Springfield, MO 65808-0196
Visa/MasterCard

Exp. Date CCV
Signature

By Tom Kuehn
MBSI President
As my term of office comes to an end, I’d like to say that it has been a privilege and an honor to serve as your president. Two years ago, at the conclusion of the business meeting in Rockville, MD, when I was elected to serve as the 37th president of MBSI, I said I would do my best to serve you. I have tried to live up to that promise.
In the course of these turbulent two years, the main disruption, caused by a global pandemic, was something no one could have seen coming. Our soci.ety, however, continued to function well even at a reduced activity level.
Chapter meetings, among our most popular events, were put on hold for the most part, but a few enterprising chapters found ways to conduct well-attended virtual meetings. One lesson learned from that experience is that virtual meetings can remain a viable option to connect those who might be unable to attend future meet.ings in person. In my opinion, face to face interactions will always be pref.erable since one never knows what topics of conversation and nuggets of information will be shared between individuals cruising the buffet table or examining a mechanical music machine at a member’s home.
In fact, I may have never completed the band organ replica I began 30 years ago if not for the tips, advice and assistance graciously provided by members of the Snowbelt Chapter. That said, however, I believe we should not shy away from using technological advancements like virtual meetings to continue to share our wonderful hobby with as many people as we can. Distance and disease don’t exist in the virtual world, which means even those who live far away or are recuperating from illness or injury can still enjoy fellowship with other members and experience the wonderful music and machines we all love.

Our publication, Mechanical Music, continues to be a high-quality font of information thanks to everyone who contributes articles, the extensive list of those who review each issue before it goes to press and our very capable editor, Russell Kasselman. Don’t hesitate to contact him if you have something interesting to share with the rest of us. Also don’t forget that past issues and articles are available on our website should you wish to search for a specific topic.
Several forms, our website and copies of Mechanical Music articles are now available in languages besides English. This should assist those who are not native English speakers and attract new members from around the world to our international organization.
Our society would not function without the dedication of a large number of members who volunteer their time and talents for chapter meetings, annual meetings, society committees and leadership positions. Approximately 60 individuals are listed near the back of each issue of Mechanical Music, but I know the total number of volunteers who make our society great is much larger than that.
I want to thank each of you for continuing to support our society. We have endured difficult times together and I think everyone looks forward to resuming more normal activities. I encourage you to continue to share your knowledge and enthusiasm with those who may not be familiar with our hobby.
Keep the music flowing!

Mail any MBSI Editorial / Advertising materials to 130 Coral Court, Pismo Beach, CA 93449 Emails with attachments can be sent to editor@mbsi.org
MBSI MEMBERSHIP DRIVE EACH ONE/REACH ONE NEW MEMBER
MBSI is always interested in increasing its membership and is pleased to offer new members a $15 discount off their ÿrst year’s membership. You are considered a new member if you have not been a member in the past three years. This discount is also available on our website, www.mbsi.org.
Current MBSI members who sponsor a new member will receive a $5 discount off their next year’s MBSI membership renewal for each sponsorship. Attach a copy of the discount voucher below to a copy of the membership application form on Page 4 of this issue of Mechanical Music. Place your name as “sponsor” on the application form.
Please make copies of these forms as needed and send the completed forms with checks to the MBSI administrator at the address listed below.

been members of MBSI or those who have not been members for three years prior to submission of this certiÿcate.
Gift Membership Name

Address, City, State, ZIP Phone Email Sponsor
SPECIAL OFFER: Purchase one or more ÿrst-year MBSI gift memberships at $45 each U.S., $55 Canadian, or $60 other Interna.tional and you will receive $5 off your next year’s MBSI membership renewal for each “New Member” gift.
Please mail this form together with your check made payable to “MBSI” to the MBSI Administrator at the address listed above. Memberships are $45 for U.S. residents, $55 for Canadian residents, and $60 for other International residents.
Editor’s Notes
By Russell Kasselman
MBSI Editor/Publisher
It’s rare when I get a chance to share a bit of a timely news story in this space so I’m excited to get to it, but,
before I do, I want to say a huge thank you to all the wonderful writers who contributed to making this another fantastic issue. In order of appear.ance, Jack Hostetler, Matt Jaro, Henry Bennett, Jamie Brewer, Dr. Robert Penna, Uwe Generet, Harold Wade and Paul Senger all deserve big pats on the back for contributing visually interesting and mentally stimulating content for all of us to enjoy. There is so much to this hobby, I feel like I’m learning something new each time I put together another issue. I encour.age everyone to keep sending in articles that let us all learn and grow together in our pursuit of mechanical music nirvana.
Now, to timely news. Recently, I received a letter from Musical Box Society of Great Britain Vice-President Alison Biden that really didn’t look like it would fit anywhere else in this issue so I’ve chosen to include it here.
“I wonder if you would care to publish this letter in Mechanical Music to bring members of the MBSI up-to.date with developments surrounding one of the subjects I included in my workshop at the 2019 convention in Rockville? Those who were present may remember my talking about the precarious future of a rare Imhof & Mukle orchestrion which had been installed under the stairs in Kinloch Castle, an Edwardian-era hunting lodge on the Scottish Island of Rum. Not only was the orchestrion (often referred to, albeit erroneously, as ‘Queen Victoria’s Orchestrion’) deteriorating, but the entire castle, which had been left to the state by its last private owner, was in danger of falling into ruin. A charitable organi.zation, the Friends of Kinloch Castle Association, was hoping to raise enough funds to rescue both the castle and its contents.
Following the impact of Covid on tourism, and the restrictions on movement generally, it has been decided by the owner (Scottish Nature – the equivalent of the English National Trust) to put it up for sale. This has been reported widely in the British press, although reports vary as to whether the asking price is a nominal £1 (GBP) or a modest £70K.
This is an opportunity for someone to own a piece of Scottish heritage – as well as a fine mechanical musical instrument — although any would-be purchaser is advised that the orches.trion requires repairs last estimated at £50,000, and the ‘castle’ requires several million spent to restore it.
Good background information can be found at https://bit.ly/2VOhOVq. It is also possible to learn more by
MAILING ADDRESS
MBSI Editorial / Advertising 130 Coral Court Pismo Beach, CA 93449
EMAIL ADDRESS
editor@mbsi.org
PHONE
(253) 228-1634
searching ‘Kinloch Castle’ on the
internet:
One hopes a benefactor will come
forward so the orchestrion, if not the
castle, may be saved.
Kind regards
Alison”
This sort of information seems like it plays directly to our society’s mission, which calls for MBSI to cooperate with individuals and other organizations in exhibiting automatic music for the education of the general public. Our mission statement also encourages the society to generally stimulate interest in automatic music. (Read the full mission statement at www.mbsi.org/about/mission.)
I’m certainly not advocating for the society to take direct action on this particular item since that would be something best left to the Board of Trustees and might likely need to be voted on by the full membership.
My only goal here is to expose a wonderful opportunity for any one member or group of members of this society to support the continued pres.ervation of this significant place and the mechanical music within.

Welcome new members!
David VanSciver & Lowell Collins June 2021 Marlton, NJ Daniel Walker Greg Minuskin Renton, WA Tustin, CA Lanny Hunter Sponsor: Don CaineSarasota, FL Sponsor: Glen Gurwit July 2021MaryHope Milligan Amanda HoStatesville, NC North Brunswick, NJBarrie Wright Kathleen & Terry Hillis Fairfax, VA Nevada City, CA Russell Kriegel & Mark Williams San Jose, CA Robert Howard Newport News, VA Elizabeth & Thomas Fisher-York Ithaca, NY Allen Salyer Troy, MI Rich LeVangie & Kathy Dunn Nashua, NH Kim Westphalen Lakewood Ranch, FL Dean Bullock & Bryan Malone Folsom, CA

Special exhibit opportunities abound
By Jack Hostetler
Special Exhibits Committee Member,
Southeast Chapter
I am writing this article to point out opportunities that surely exist in your hometown for special exhibits of mechanical music. Every town has festivals, parades, restored antique homes and buildings, science centers, outdoor parks and other venues that welcome our special exhibits. One selling point they all love is when members of our society offer to put on an exhibit for free! Let me tell you a bit about how the Southeast Chapter makes sharing our hobby happen here in The Villages, FL.
Mary-Ann and I joined MBSI in 2012. We quickly formed a small local club called the Mechanical Music Society of The Villages. I was sure that this club could help smooth the path for MBSI to put on special exhibits of instruments and present information to others who might find an interest in this hobby in The Villages. So far, it’s worked very well and the society has gained some new members through our efforts.
Our club began planning special exhibits for The Villages almost immediately. I contacted Wayne and Mary Ellen Myers to see what the international society might do to bring mechanical music machines here for display. Wayne and Mary Ellen agreed to visit The Villages to see how this city of over-55-year-olds functioned.
We contacted the city’s recreation department and they arranged for us to participate in a two-day Christmas exhibit that would run alongside an annual model railroad club exhibit. This was in 2013.
Our first show was a success. We had a room filled with music machines and several MBSI members attended to demonstrate and talk about them. Hundreds of people came through the display, and it has since become an annual event.

Over time, our display grew larger, and we found that some machines were louder than others, so we now use two rooms. One room is for softer playing machines and the other for the more outspoken. We also had a Wurlitzer 105 organ parked on a trailer outside the recreation center to welcome people as they arrived in the parking lot. Our 2021 show will be our eighth annual presentation. We “lost” last year to the pandemic.
Wayne and Mary Ellen developed a teaching exercise that allows children to build and decorate their own music box. They introduced this event at the Orlando Science Center several years ago and continue to present it at our special exhibit with great success.
The Villages Recreation Depart.ment heard of the program and they contacted us to see if we would be willing to put on an encore. They present programs every summer for visiting grandchildren to work with grandparents, called Summer Camp. We have now presented our Summer Camp music box building program six times as of this year. We usually see 30 or more children with grandparents taking part in building a music box. They also learn how music is made in the box.

Mary Ellen Myers assists Summer Campers with their music box construc.tion project.
Our indoor activities came to the attention of the The Villages Enter.tainment Department, which is in charge of providing outdoor activities. They asked if we could have a display at one of their festivals. We said sure. So, for three years now we have had a display in the downtown area during a festival and parade. We had lots of people come to our display attracted by the large organ on a trailer (our “Pied Piper”).
Word then got around in The Villages that we could present wonderful displays for both indoor and outdoor events, and all free! I was contacted by a group that has been restoring a home built ca. 1892. The Baker House, as it is called, was the home of a Florida senator who moved there in 1890 or so. The group restoring the house asked if we might display some mechanical music machines from that period in the house during their annual Legacy Festival. I said we sure would.
I displayed my Concert Roller Organ and my Edison Home Phonograph in the front parlor. Many people came to see the house and were fascinated with the machines and music from that time. I repeated the exhibit the next year. Each time was another opportunity to talk about MBSI and the mechanical music hobby.

In 2020, the pandemic caused the Legacy Festival to be canceled. Even so, we received another request to put on a show-and-tell at a local Rotary club. We were ready to go, but the meeting was put on hold until Rotary meetings can resume. We will be ready when they are.
In summary, our experiences so far have shown us that MBSI special exhibits are well received everywhere because they offer good music, wonderful machines with history, nostalgia, and entertainment. Plus, the organizers of these events love that we do it for free!
All you need to do to get started is to contact someone in charge of festivi.ties in your area. Perhaps start with your local chamber of commerce, Rotary or Lions club, or even your city’s recreation department. Offer to conduct your exhibit along with what.ever other displays are happening at the time. You might even consider presenting single-day exhibits at a high school or nearby college in association with a celebration of a historically significant date or other holiday event or even at an assisted care facility.

All it takes is one good presentation to start spreading the word that you are available to present an exhibit that will entertain crowds and soon you will be quite popular!
Bring advertising pamphlets (avail.able from the MBSI administrator) and registration forms for MBSI to display next to your exhibits. We have signed up several new MBSI members at our exhibits and we’d love to see you do the same. Putting on a special exhibit of mechanical music at a local event where people can experience the joy of this hobby is a win-win situation if ever there was one.

Nickel Notes
By Matthew Jaro

The Nethercutt Collection
The Nethercutt Collection in Sylmar, CA (near Los Angeles), houses the largest array of mechanical musical instruments on public display in the United States. J.B. Nethercutt, along with his aunt, Merle Norman, founded Merle Norman Cosmetics. J.B. started collecting and restoring antique auto.mobiles in 1956. In 1971, he and his wife, Dorothy, built a museum which has been free to the public since its inception. The first tours began in 1974. Now, J.B.’s eldest son, Jack, is head of the corporation and the museum foundation.
This article chronicles a conver.sation I had with the curator of the mechanical music collection and master technician. His name is Kyle B. Irwin.
The start of the mechanical music collection
I knew that the Nethercutt Collec.tion had started with automobiles, so I asked how J.B. Nethercutt became interested in mechanical music. Kyle said that J.B. had already started construction on a building to house his collection when he decided to buy his wife a present. He found a beautiful cloisonné music box. It was the size of a powder box (about three inches). When you played it, a little bird would pop up and sing. While shopping for the music box, J.B. couldn’t help but notice the large display of nickelode.ons and orchestrions around him. Why? Well, because he happened to be shopping at Hathaway and Bowers!
For our younger readers, let me

In the Grand Salon room of the music building are even more cars. The floor below and the floor above this are filled with music
boxes, automata, French furniture and more.
explain that Hathaway and Bowers, the store named for owners Terry Hathaway and Q. David Bowers, was a source for all types of mechanical musical instruments. Located in Santa Fe Springs, CA, the store had a sales floor where you could buy almost any instrument. Hathaway and Bowers published catalogs that created intense public interest in the instruments we all know and love today. It would be hard to overestimate their influence on the hobby of collecting mechanical music machines. Older readers might remember that in the 1950s nickel.odeons were being destroyed in large numbers because they were consid.ered obsolete machines with little or no value. European mechanical music machines were largely unknown in the United States at the time. Hatha.way and Bowers helped turn the tide and made mechanical music machines attractive and valuable again.
Anyway, J.B. Nethercutt looked around at all the wonderful machines, asking Hathaway and Bowers to demonstrate them. Kyle said J.B. just went a little nuts with it. He loved music and anything mechanical (cars, trains, etc.). He literally purchased one of the finest museum reference collec.tions in the world – the Hathaway and Bowers Collection. While machines in the Hathaway and Bowers Collection were not exactly for sale – it was strictly intended to be a reference collection – Mr. Nethercutt made them an offer they couldn’t refuse and the rest is history.
Growing the Collection
There are currently two buildings in the Nethercutt Collection. The first building was begun in 1971 and completed in 1974. There was an earthquake in Sylmar, CA, in 1971. The building was only a skeletal frame when the earthquake occurred. None of the collections were in this building at the time. Since the building was only a frame, the builders were able to retrofit the building for better earthquake tolerance. Eventually, the collection outgrew the original build.ing, and in the year 2000, construction on the museum building was begun. This building houses 150 additional cars and has a separate area in the back for the train.
The Nethercutt Collection includes a massive, 5,000-pipe Wurlitzer Theatre organ, also Kyle’s responsibility.
Short Biography
I asked Kyle to describe his years before obtaining the dream job of being curator of the Nethercutt Collection.
Kyle said he always loved music. He grew up in a church-going family and instead of going to Sunday School, Kyle always wanted to go to the big church to hear the organ play. He absolutely fell in love with it. At the end of the service, when the organist would play exit music, Kyle would run up to the organ and the organist would pick him up and sit him next to her. Kyle would watch her play. When the organist finished, she would turn on the bells and without banging or anything Kyle would play the melody line, by ear, of what she had just finished playing.

The organist became Kyle’s first piano teacher when he was 4 years old. He started playing the organ for church services when he was 7 or 8 years old. Kyle has been an organist pretty much all his life. He’s still an organist and choirmaster at a church in downtown Los Angeles (one of the founding churches of the city).
Kyle’s love for pipe organs grew so great that he wanted to know how they worked. He apprenticed and learned how to service, tune and rebuild organs to some extent. Many years later, he owned his own company servicing pipe organs. They would maintain, tune and rebuild pipe organs all over Southern California. Then his business partner passed away. Kyle was going to dissolve the business and retire, but during that period J.B. Nethercutt contacted Kyle and asked him to come and take care of his collection. Kyle said he just couldn’t say no. Thirteen years later, he is still going strong.
Museum Tours
The Nethercutt Museum (which consists mainly of the automobile collection) is open for self-guided tours Thursday through Saturday from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. The Nether.cutt Collection (separate from the museum) is available to view by guided tour only. Unfortunately for all us mechanical music lovers, the tour is temporarily closed with no reserva.tions being accepted at this time.
The two-hour tour normally takes people to four floors of the collection building. The building houses some of the finer cars in the Nethercutt Collection, plus 18th and 19th century French furniture, clocks and watches, automata, reproducing pianos, nick.elodeons, orchestrions, more than 100 music boxes, not to mention the third largest theatre pipe organ in the world. All tours are entirely free to the public.

The Fifth Floor
There is a fifth floor which is not open to the public since there is no safe way to bring groups of people in.
The elevator only holds six people. On the fifth floor, there is a library of more than 40,000 music rolls. The roll library is still growing, and many people donate new rolls each year. On this floor is an example of almost every player piano system ever built. They even have a Tel-Electric. The

Kyle demonstrates the Tel-Electric in the fifth-floor workshop The Wurlitzer Mandolin PianOrchestra, Style 40, featuring 42
area.
beauty of the Nethercutt Collection is that everything in it works! J.B. Nethercutt’s dream was to preserve and share the beauty of these instru.ments but never to hoard them. Even though there are a lot of pianos on the fifth floor, no two are alike. Each has a different player system. They have rolls for the original Stoddard-Ampico, the Ampico-A and B, red Welte, green Welte, Recordo, Apollo, Themodist and 88-note rolls. They have early and later Duo-Art reproducing pianos, a rare electric Duo-Art, all the Welte systems, and pianos that will play all of those rolls.
There are more than 8,000 Ampico rolls in the collection. Docents donated their time one summer to help organize the Ampico rolls.
One of the newer acquisitions was the Blüthner Triphonola (supposedly

violin pipes, 12 violas, 30 cellos and so much more.
the only one in the United States).
I asked Kyle about the problem of the roll paper. As most of our readers know, the original Ampico and Duo-Art rolls are brittle and they tend to shred. Kyle said they only have original Wurlitzer APP rolls and the paper is quite brittle for these as well. He expressed a need to obtain copies (recuts) of APP rolls to play on the instruments. Kyle said he also needs Pianino rolls. He only has six original rolls for the Pianino and that’s it.
Nickelodeons and Orchestrions
I asked Kyle for a short list of the nickelodeons and orchestrions in the collection. There is no actual list, so Kyle had to look through the file cabinet to name the instruments in the collection. The following are details of the American machines (and machines distributed by American companies).
Seeburg L: The smallest Seeburg model with piano and mandolin rail. It plays A rolls.
Seeburg KT: A G-roll piano with mandolin rail, xylophone, castanets, triangle, tambourine and (rare) snare drum.
Seeburg Photoplayer: A pipe-organ orchestra, Style R, with violin, flute, cello, Vox Humana, xylophone, cathe.dral chimes, tremolo, bass drum, snare drum, cymbal, crash cymbal, triangle, organ swell, 88-note piano, castanets, tambourine, mandolin, tom-tom effect, telephone bell, doorbell, fire gong, horse trot, tympani effect, steamboat whistle, bird whistle, baby cry, wind siren and thunder effect.
Wurlitzer Pianino: A 44-note piano, the pianino was in production for more than 25 years although few remain

The music roll library, featuring more than 40,000 rolls.
today.
Wurlitzer LX: Introduced in mid-1921, the LX was the last in the keyboard orchestrions series. It has a piano with mandolin rail, 38 violin pipes, 38 flute pipes, a set of orchestra bells, bass drum, snare drum and triangle.
Wurlitzer Automatic Harp: Tiny mechanical fingers actually pluck the strings.
Wurlitzer Mandolin Quartette: It has 34 notes and a separate 27-note repeating mandolin mechanism. When a note plays in the mandolin section, the pneumatic pushes a wooden lever into the path of a rotating camshaft. This causes the small, hard felt-covered hammer to repeat rapidly against the strings producing a loud metallic tone. Dave Ramey has a wonderful video of the machine in action. Search YouTube for Wurlitzer Mandolin Quartette.
Wurlitzer Tonophone: The first Wurlitzer coin piano. The machines were made from 1899 to 1908. Early machines were made by DeKleist. The first machines used a 10-tune wooden Wurlitzer Mandolin PianOrchestra: cylinder and were later converted to Style 40 with piano, mandolin, 42 violin play Wurlitzer APP rolls. The Tono-pipes, 12 violas, 30 cellos, xylophone, phone in the collection is a barrel drums and percussion effects. These piano. machines were built by Philipps.

The Encore Banjo was the first coin-operated musical instru-A Regina Sublima Piano and Mandolin Orchestra powered by
ment, marketed in late 1896.
Wurlitzer Concert PianOrchestra: A Philipps Pianella Model 32 (Caecilia) with piano, 56 violins, 30 cellos, 30 violas, 26 saxophones, 30 flutes, 30 piccolos, 30 clarinets, 30 oboes, 26 French horns, chimes, bass and snare drums, triangle, tambourine, castanets, tremolo, kettle drum and cymbals.
Encore Banjo: This was the first coin-operated musical instrument, marketed in late 1896. It consists of four metal pickers and 40 leather-faced fingerings buttons. It has a two-octave range and many duplicate notes. It can play a melody and accompaniment at the same time.
Mills Bow-front Violano Virtuoso: This style was the commercial model and was popular from 1912-1915. The Mills is an electrically operated instrument, instead of the pneumatic systems used by most of the nickelodeons and

a spring motor that must be wound by hand.
orchestrions. It has a violin and piano.
Mills Double Violano Virtuoso: This style plays two violins and has a heavier piano than used in the home models. Both violins play the same notes.
Regina Sublima Piano and Mandolin Orchestra: This is powered by a spring motor which must be wound by hand. It plays a five-tune roll on heavy manila paper. Metal fingers read the perfora.tions. The piano hammer re-iterates, producing an effect like a mandolin.
Automatic Musical Company, Automatic Self-Playing Xylophone: Since the bars are metal, it is technically a glocken.spiel. It was made in 1905. This is the only example known to exist. It’s a solo instrument, having a xylophone only. The company was in Bingham.ton, NY, and would eventually become the Link Company.
Multiphone Cylinder Changer: This
can only roughly be described as a mechanical music machine. It is a coin-operated juke box that plays Edison cylinders. One of 24 cylinders can be selected.
And now we move on to some details of the European Machines in the collection.
Gloria Monopol Double-disk Music Box: This was sold by George Schneider and has his name in gold letters on the front. The two discs rotate in opposite directions, unlike most music boxes. It is known for its superb tone.
Weber Maestro: Musically one of the finest German orchestrions ever made. It has 112 pipes, 28 each of violins, flutes, trumpets/saxophones and clarinets. There is a three-speed vibrato, piano with mandolin attachment, 28-note xylophone, bass drum, tympani effect, snare drum,

The Hupfeld Excelsior Pan Orchester is the largest example of this type of machine ever made. It once played in the Postzegel Hotel in Holland but came to America in 1966. This machine is located above the Grand Salon in the music building.
cymbal, triangle, castanets, wood block and tambourine. It has a pipe and xylophone solo capability and an automatic register for piano treble.
Weber Brabo: This machine has a piano with mandolin, 28 violin pipes, vibrato and 28-note repeating xylo.phone. It has an elaborate expression mechanism. Solo instruments can be heard alone.
Welte Wotan: This is one of the Welte Brass Band Orchestrion series. The Wotan would replace a brass band of about 30 to 35 men. This instrument sold for $5,000 in 1912. This orches.trion has first and second cornets, first and second clarinets, trumpet, alto, trombone, French horn, baritone, bass, contra bass, saxophone, bour.don, piccolo, oboe, flutes, xylophone, snare drum, bass drum, cymbals and triangle. It is 12 feet, 9 inches high and 9 feet, 3 inches wide. The middle panel represents the fire scene from the Walküre picturing Siegfried and Brünnhilde.
Welte Style III Cottage Orchestrion: This beautiful orchestrion has 134 pipes and 44 notes. It has bass drum, tympani effect, snare drum, cymbal and triangle. It is 9 feet, 7 inches high.
Welte Philharmonic Organ Orchestrion: These machines were automatic pipe organs. They were supplied in various sizes and configurations.
Hupfeld Excelsior Pan Orchestra: This is the largest example ever made. It took two years to build and was delivered to the Postzegel Hotel in Holland. It remained there until it was acquired by Eugene DeRoy in 1966. He cared for it from the delivery date to the present. Using a heavily multi.plexed 124-note roll, several different orchestral voices could be played simultaneously. The piano portion is a reproducing piano so that original expression is maintained.
Hupfeld Helios Lb/29 Orchestrion: An overstrung piano with mandolin, regis.ters of pipes for violin, flute and cello, orchestral bells, bass drum, Chinese cymbal, snare drum and expression effects.
Hupfeld Phonoliszt Violana: A machine with three violins bowed by a circular horsehair bow. Mechanical fingers select the notes. A piano plays the accompaniment.
Mortier Style 41 Café Organ: It uses fully chromatic 84-key cardboard books. It has 311 pipes, bass drum, snare drum, cymbal and wood block. There are ranks of melody jazz flute, violin, and unda maris pipes. For countermelody, there is a Vox Celeste, flute and cello. There are also bass pipes.
Philipps Model 3 Paganini Orchestrion (Wurlitzer Paganini Violin Piano, Style 3) (on the fifth floor): This machine has 39 loud violins, 39 soft violins, 27

flageolets, 12 extended octave violins, 44-note harmonium (metal reeds) accompaniment and variable speed tremolo. This is the only surviving example imported and sold by Wurlitzer.
Philipps Keyboard Style Paganini Orchestrion Style 3: This machine has 117 pipes, 39 each of loud and soft violins, 27 flageolets, 12 high-octave violins, variable speed vibrato, 44 harmonium reeds and piano.
Popper Salon Orchestra No. 1: Manufactured from about 1912 until well into the 1920s, this was one of the most popular Popper models ever made. It consists of a piano, mandolin, xylophone, bells, bass and snare drums, cymbals and triangle. An extended rank of pipes is arranged in a double row and represents violin and cello. There is a harmonium as well. The top of the case has louvered swell shutters for expression. The front is a motion picture effect scene that is backlighted and shows two waxing and waning torches in the marble patio of an ancient Roman villa. It’s 9 feet, 4 inches high.
Popper Gladiator (No. 7) Symphony Orchestra: This machine has a piano, mandolin, xylophone, bells, piccolo flute, violin pipes, muted strings, violin solo, clarinet, flute, violoncello,

The Popper Gladiator is 14 feet wide and 11 feet, 4 inches tall. The Popper Iduna Orchestrion was built in 1915. It is located The Philipps Model 3 Paganini can play loud and soft violins.

in the automobile building.
viola, horn, bass flute, trombone, bass violin, bass, snare drum, kettle drum, cymbals and triangle. It’s 11 feet, 4 inches high by 14 feet wide. Four of these were sold in Belgium in the late 1920s. This example is the only one currently known to exist.
Popper Jazz Flute: This is one of the latest orchestrions made by Popper, dating from the late 1920s. Its modern case design is about 11 feet high. The featured solo instrument is the Swanee Whistle mounted in a niche on the front. Above this, there is a series of recessed panels which constantly change color. Instrumen.tation includes piano, mandolin, ranks of pipes including a large rank of saxophones, and drum and trap effects. This orchestrion has a jazz theme since the saxophone is the

It is the only surviving example of its kind.
most prominent pipe rank.
Popper Othello Orchestrion: The Popper catalogue states that it is a “Mechanical piano orchestrion with mandolin and xylophone. Othello is delivered in a tasteful case with painted glass panels and contains 31 piano keys, 18 of which operate the mandolin, 10 xylophone keys, drum, cymbals and triangle. Othello is delivered with two barrels, playing six different tunes.”
Popper Iduna Orchestrion (1915): This machine is located in the car building and provides an excellent background. It has a piano, mandolin, several ranks of pipes, xylophone, bells, drums, triangle and cymbal. It was billed by Popper as “A first class concert orchestra suitable also for dancing.”
I would like to acknowledge Q.
David Bowers and his “Encyclopedia of Automatic Musical Instruments” as well as Arthur Reblitz and his book, “The Golden Age of Automatic Musical Instruments,” for providing the detailed information on the instru.ments listed above.
Pianos
There are some truly remarkable pianos in the Nethercutt Collection. These include:
Hupfeld Triphonola: This is one of the most recent acquisitions. Prior to production of this model, Hupfeld had offered the Solophonola and Duoph.onola systems. This machine plays all 88 piano notes (unlike the Ampico and Duo-Art systems), with 10 notes for expression. The Duophonola and the Triphonola were identical except that the Triphonola has foot pedals for pumping in addition to an electric motor. The Triphonola was the first Hupfeld instrument with a tracking device (to keep the holes properly aligned on the tracker bar).

Erhbar Piano with Hupfeld DEA Vorsetzer: This very ornate piano was completed in 1898 and was a gift from the Friedrich Erhbar Company to Emperor Franz Josef in the year he celebrated his 50-year reign. It’s an Opus 10,000 and has a mahogany case with 18 coats of hand-rubbed Chinese lacquer and gold ormolu all the way around (representing the various provinces of Austria) applied over a green Chinese silk velvet background. It measures a full 8 feet, 10 inches long. The Hupfeld DEA Vorsetzer is the only reproducing system that appeared as both complete pianos and vorsetzers. A vorsetzer (literally front sitter) is a device that can be pushed up to a piano so that pneumatic fingers can actuate the keys.
The DEA used wide rolls, approxi.mately 16 inches across, and a 106-note tracker bar with 85 playing notes. The DEA had a very complex system with variable bass and treble divisions. Some of the greatest pianists recorded for the DEA. Among them were D’Al.bert, Busoni, Corot, Godowsky, Grieg, Landowska, Mascagni, Saint-Saëns, Plante, Reger, Scharwenka, Scriabin and others. Kyle said that the DEA is a very sensitive reproducing system.
Steinway “Villa Leon” Piano with Duo-Art Mechanism: In 1929, the Steinway Piano Company sent a nine-foot Concert Grand to the Aeolian Company and asked them to design a one-of-a-kind Louis XV art case to accommodate a special Duo-Art reproducing mechanism. Because the piano was located in an estate called the “Villa Leon” it is now known by that name.
Steinway Grand with Welte Red-Roll Vorsetzer: The Welte was the only company to offer a competing vorsetzer to the Hupfeld. The red-roll machines and the rolls are pretty rare now.
The Tel-Electric Piano Player: This machine is unusual in that is uses a brass roll (instead of paper), three thousandths of an inch thick. The roll The Wurlitzer Theatre Organ is encased in a cylinder 51/8 inches The showcase of the Nethercutt long. Collection is the beautiful Wurlitzer

Virtually every reproducing and 4/74 Theatre Organ. It’s the largest player piano system are represented theatre organ on the West Coast and in this collection. They are too numer-the third largest in the world. It has ous to mention here. 5,123 pipes and 74 ranks. The largest

Top photo: the Wurlitzer Theatre Organ console. Bottom photo: some of the 5,123 pipes the organ uses to produce music.
in the world is the Jasper Sanfilippo organ, a 5/80, which means five manu.als and 80 ranks. The second largest is the Organ Stop Pizza Organ in Mesa, AZ, with 4 manuals and 78 ranks.
The Nethercutts insist that every.thing on the showroom floor remain in pristine condition. The museum formerly employed eight or nine people in the music department, but now there’s just Kyle. It’s his respon.sibility to take care of everything, so he does all the restoration and main.tenance work except for any major piano tuning. A piano technician comes in to do that on a regular basis. Kyle tunes all the organ pipes himself.
Kyle says his main focus is to make sure the organ is always playable. There are enough instruments in the collection that one can be rotated off the floor if it needs to be serviced, but this one organ is unique and must play for every single tour.
Kyle said there was one day it didn’t play and he heard an earful about it. I asked about servicing the organ and suggested that there must be a million relays. He said there might originally have been that many, but now it’s all solid state. They use the Uniflex system because the organ is so big.
Kyle says the organ is an amazing instrument and notes it is thrilling to play. He fires it up every morning and plays for half an hour to an hour. He makes sure he plays every note, to see if there’s anything dead. The organ is 97 years old, so it’s common for things to quit working. Magnets can die or pneumatics blow out on a daily basis. Most of the organ was re-leathered in 1984 and then more of it was done in 1993.
The museum has a collection of thousands of LP records featuring organ music with Leon Berry (who played the Nethercutt organ), George Wright (who, unfortunately never played there), Rex Khoury, Tom Hazelton, Ron Rhodes and Lyn Larsen. Many of these people were like house organists.
Instrument Maintenance
I asked Kyle if he ever had to move machines into the shop to work on them. Kyle said there are special hoists built into the organ and into the workshop on the fifth floor. There is a freight elevator for the orchestrions. All the machines are on wheels. The wheels can be unlocked from their stationary position and then the machines can be wheeled into the freight elevator. I asked what happens if a gear or a metal part breaks. Kyle said he takes the part into the auto shop and the guys there make him a new one. If they can’t make a part, they send it out and have it done by a specialist. The machine shop guys have a cloth wire-wrapping machine so they can duplicate any part in any instrument or any part in any car as long as they have an original part or details of what the original cloth-wrapped wire measurement looked like.

I asked Kyle if he really has the dream job, and he said yes but added that it’s still a lot of work. Kyle said the keys to keeping it fun are to not take too many things apart, keep a level head and prioritize. He said if he gets bored or frustrated with one machine, he moves on to another because it gives him a fresh plate from which to work. All the maintenance and restoration work has to take place on Tuesdays and Wednesdays because Kyle gives tours on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays. He takes Sundays and Mondays off.
Temperature and humidity in the museum buildings are kept constant. Many of these instruments came from a damp Europe to a dry California and there would be problems without regulation. The humidity is kept at 40 percent to 60 percent. If there were to be two or three hours without regu.lation, the instruments might start to misbehave, or there would be cyphers, and mistracking. Plus, the paper would change, too. The downside to keeping the humidity so high is that the relative dampness tends to rust the wires fastening the crystals in the chandeliers hanging from the ceilings.

I imagine, however, these wires can be replaced a lot more easily than repair.ing the mechanical music machines constantly. Remember that Sylmar, CA, is almost the desert, so conditions are very dry.
New Acquisitions and Donations
I asked about acquiring instru.ments. Kyle said the first thing they do is heavy research. For example, the Triphonola is in a very bizarre case. It looks simple from under the case, but when you start taking things apart, it’s a whole other story. Kyle hasn’t had much of a chance to work on it yet because it has an extremely low priority.
I asked how they decided what rolls to add to the collection. Kyle said they are generally not too picky about it, except for standard 88-note rolls because they already have so many. I found that funny because the player piano outlasted all of the other instruments as did the art of making rolls for them. You can get rolls for music written a few years ago. Reproducing rolls are very important and if someone offers these rolls, Kyle said he will absolutely take them regardless of whether they would be duplicates or not because they do need to be preserved. Duplicates are important because the probability that a roll might be ruined while playing is relatively high, Kyle said. Plus, “We are in earthquake country and things do happen, so you never know,” he added.
Kyle said they lost quite a few rolls in the 1994 earthquake, not because of the shaking but because one of the main water lines broke. It flooded the roll room and anything that was six inches to a foot off the floor was destroyed. The good thing was nobody was hurt and the machines in the collection were safe.
I mentioned that people might want to donate instruments to the museum. Kyle said he would dearly love to have a band organ. “That would be so much fun, to display near the train for special events,” he said. The Neth.ercutts are open to donations being made to the collection. I mentioned that when people donate instruments or rolls to the Smithsonian or similar organizations, they are generally just shelved or maybe even thrown out. In the Nethercutt Collection it is quite the opposite. When they get donations, Kyle said the machines and rolls will be used. They don’t want something that is just going to sit there. They get offers all the time for pump pianos, but they can’t take those. Kyle said that, lately, there has been a spate of square grands offered as donations.
He said that as beautiful as they were for furniture, they are useless as musi.cal instruments.
The spirit of the collection is so nice. It has a very warm feeling. J.B. Nethercutt said that the purpose of the collection would be to preserve and not to hoard. His collected cars are taken out and driven. His instru.ments are kept in pristine working condition and played on a daily basis. His collection lives on.
CEO Jack Nethercutt also loves the instruments. He’s the oldest son of the founder. He used to be a professional racer. When he hosts special guests, he often wants people to hear the “Phan.tom of the Opera” medley played by Lyn Larsen and Chris Gorsuch’s rendi.tion of “Chattanooga Choo-Choo.”
Plans for the future
The entire collection was converted into a foundation in 2003-2004, just prior to J.B Nethercutt’s passing, so it will be well protected for a long time. It cannot be sold off or liquidated, and any profits from any sale would have to go back into the foundation, not to the family. J.B. planned very well to protect his work and his son has been doing a very good job of taking it into the next generation. Jack’s wife has done a great job of assisting and adding her input to the collection as well. There will be more generations to come.
The website, www.nethercuttcol.lection.org features an equal balance between cars and music.
If you find yourself in the Los Ange.les area, the Nethercutt Collection should be on your must-see list. It’s an absolutely fabulous place to visit and words can’t do justice to the thrill of seeing all the instruments in action. Best of all, as mentioned before, all the tours are entirely free to the public.

Email Matt Jaro at mjaro@verizon. net if you would like any information about style “A”, “G”, “4X”, “H” or “O” rolls. Also, comments and suggestions for this column will be appreciated.
Reprinted with permission of the author and The Automatic Musical Instrument Collectors’ Association (AMICA). Originally printed in the January-February 2016 issue of The AMICA Bulletin.

A ‘Family Affair’
The Intriguing Tale of an Imhof & Mukle Flute Organ
By Henry Bennett

It was a rainy afternoon in the autumn of 1963 when, as a bored teenager, I accompanied my mother to collect something she remembered from her childhood home. We drove into a dark wood near the village of Eastleach in the Cotswolds that intrigued me as it was known as Macaroni Wood. I was further intrigued when we came to a rectangular clearing deep in the wood and a gloomy looking Nissen Hut left over from a secret World War II camp. My mother produced a key and inside was a verita.ble Aladdin’s cave of stuffy Victorian artefacts which had been hastily removed from nearby Hatherop Castle when it was requisitioned for wartime use by the military. Ignoring chandeliers and stuffed animal trophies galore, my eyes lit on a couple of wooden cases on the floor, one bulging with iron wheels and levers, the other stacked with strange looking wooden organ pipes. I was learning to play the organ at school and, typical for a boy, had become fasci.nated by their complicated mechanisms. But what on earth was this? All carefully packed up, but the pipes were not normal pipes and I could see a mass of lead tubing but no keyboard. “Oh, that’s the old Flute Organ” said my mother casually and continued rummaging around. But on the way home I quizzed her endlessly and begged to have another look. Thinking back, it reminds me now of Tutankhamun’s Tomb! We lived on a farm and had a large outhouse where we boys spent our days with games and gadgets. A plan rapidly developed in my head to approach the relevant uncle and my long-suffering parents and persuade them all that I was just the one to rescue the instrument, whatever it might turn out to be. I have no memory of who helped, for help was certainly needed, but a trailer was found and in due course an extremely heavy object found its way to our outhouse.
For a period of at least two years I was left entirely to myself on the project. I knew nothing myself and obviously my family knew even less, but they listened to my daily frustrations with great patience and helped where they could. At first it was just a matter of careful dismantling and observation. Then gradual replacement of worn mate.rials. Looking back on my youth and the marked isolation of our life on the farm, I have no idea how I was able to obtain leather of the right grade or master the art of mixing
Members attending the 2019 convention held in Rockville may have attended one of the workshops presented by British member, Alison Biden, featuring three unusual instruments in Britain with precarious futures. One is an orchestrion made by Imhof and Mukle, currently mouldering on the Scottish island of Rum, while a team of dedicated would-be-rescuers try to raise the funds to have it restored. As a consequence of their activity, there are a number of articles about this instrument posted on the internet. Sometime during the late Summer of 2020, MBSI Award-winning author Kevin McElhone, was contacted by a gentleman by the name of Henry Bennett, who had learned about Kevin and the Musical Box Society of Great Britain through his on-line research as he sought information about Imhof & Mukle, makers of a flute organ he had just taken possession of.
Henry was keen to meet others who might share his passion for similar instruments, so his request was passed to the Editor of the MBSGB’s magazine The Music Box. During their conversation it transpired that Henry’s flute organ had been in his family for generations, but had had a somewhat vagabond life since he had first seen it as a child. He had finally had it completely restored professionally – and on visiting the workshop of restorers Goetze & Gwynn had met the great-grandson of no lesser a person than Daniel Imhof himself.
This is music to an editor’s ears – what a story! Henry Bennett was persuaded to write an article about his flute organ. And what a story it turned out to be.
hot animal glue, though miraculously we already had the proper cast iron glue pot and we came to love the smell of the glue. The main feeder bellows were simply a matter of copying what was done before. There were three pairs of these, two pairs to supply the wind for the pipes and the third pair working in opposite mode to provide a vacuum for the playing mechanism. But that mechanism was far more delicate, a three-stage process where each note is triggered by a row of tiny needles popping up through holes punched in the paper music roll. These needles let air into two rows of “puffers,” about the size of a matchbox and lined with very thin leather. They in turn are connected to larger bellows, the size of fish fingers, which collapse under vacuum, and those are the fingers which play the notes. In

Joe Marsden, left, and Dominic Gwynn, one of the partners in the organ building firm of Goetz & Gwynn, coaxing the flute organ across the author’s garden to spend a year undergoing a complete professional restoration.
theory of course! I do remember the endless persistence and some major setbacks. How, for instance, to cover the little “puffers” which required some extremely thin and sensitive material. My mother “came up trumps” – she had a whole drawer full of ladies’ white kid gloves, a relic from the halcyon days of grand dinner parties and dances in the house where the organ used to play. She allowed me to cut them all up into 66 small squares and glue them in place. At last, everything was back in place for the great test, the first sounds in 50 years, and I pressed the button – but absolutely nothing – complete silence! That got me talking to a wider circle and I happened on an organ builder who sent me some Zephyr pigskin made from unborn piglets. I still remember it arriving and starting the laborious process all over again, and with much better results. Then the original 1905 electric motor was thought to be unusable so I bought something second-hand with my pocket money on Exchange & Mart. It was pale green and completely unsuitable, and the result was a scary rendition of the Corelli “Pastorale” played at least double speed! The orig.inal motor had a wonderful switch comprising two open pots of mercury into which prongs of a fork dipped in and out with blinding flashes (which had terrified my mother as a girl). Sadly, that switch has been lost but eventually I was able to adapt the original motor which still ran as good as new in perfect silence.
It was only when these first faltering steps progressed to some amazingly virtuoso, yet wholly unreliable, performances that anyone (besides me) took the slightest interest in the flute organ. Only at that point did my mother mention that my uncle still had the original organ case where it took pride of place in his house as a very splendid

Joe Marsden, of Goetze & Gwynn, was in charge of the restoration.
wardrobe. Nothing is ever complicated when one is young, but I can imagine now that she needed a great deal of tact in persuading her brother to give up his main wardrobe for his nephew’s white elephant project. But, it seemed to me quite normal that we should turn up at his house with a trailer and remove it. The instrument then came together properly for the first time in 50 years. It had probably not functioned since before the First World War. Its future was bound to be precarious. Initially, I loaned the instrument to a village museum in Bibury where it shared company with ancient water wheels and flour milling machinery, and there it languished while I went off to university.
Parental pressure then piled on, and a scheme was hatched whereby John Bailey, an organ builder friend from Bishops and Sons in Ipswich, undertook to restore the instrument to greater reliability and loan it to the Cotton Mechanical Music Museum in Stowmarket. Our family heirloom went out of my life entirely for some 40 years. I entered working life and this obsession of teenage years was forgotten entirely.
But not for ever.

Is this what they mean by second childhood? Approach.ing retirement, I looked back one day and suddenly wondered what had become of the old flute organ? I rang my long-lost friend. It was as if breaking a spell. The Cotton Museum had just reported to him that they could no longer house the instrument unless they owned it, so what should he do? By any standards this was still a white elephant of a musical box but could I really let it go? Surely, all problems are meant to be solved!
Our garden near Cambridge had a small barn which was nearly collapsed but the flint walls and tiled roof had been rebuilt. Cold in winter, cool in summer, it was much like a church, in fact, so why not have an organ in there? It was a real retirement project. Soon it became obvious that the flute organ’s decades in the museum had been far too peaceful. Its whole life had been a cycle of triumphs, doldrums and rescues, and my white elephant was clearly once again not functioning. Would it return to a peaceful slumber once more? Not yet. This lucky machine’s fortunes would turn anew as I was introduced to the firm of Goetze & Gwynn in Welbeck, Nottinghamshire. They were dedicated

Thomas Bazley, the author’s great-grandfather, on his Otto Dicycle in Cirencester.
to the restoration of historic pipe organs and to the manu.facture of new classical organs, including reconstructions of historic organs. My brother worked for the firm but, since a 19th century orchestrion was hardly typical of their normal work, I had never dreamt of involving them. To my surprise, Dominic Gwynn, one of the partners, heard about the project and was obviously intrigued. He contacted me. He had the perfect person, Joe Marsden, who loved complicated mechanisms to set to work on it. So the next thing I saw was Dominic and Joe coaxing my flute organ across our garden to spend a year under their tender care.
Meanwhile, a little history? The organ was built in 1862 in Vöhrenbach in the Black Forest, Germany. This is the region famous for its cuckoo clocks often built by farm.ing families to keep themselves busy during cold winter months. Vöhrenbach became the hub for more and more complex musical devices that appealed to rich customers throughout Europe and America before the advent of gramophones or radio. This one is signed by F. Heine, one of a large family in the orchestrion business, probably Fidel noted in the catalogue of the Black Forest trade exhibition in 1858, where it says, “Fidel Heine from Vöhrenbach – a lovely Viennese flute work with 2 rollers, in which the lovely flute tone is particularly praised.” The family traded with their friend Daniel Imhof (more on him later), who
Pipes on their way from the backyard barn to the restoration shop of Goetz & Gwynn.
also set up a base in London to serve the new market being fuelled by the industrial revolution.
My great-grandfather Thomas Bazley moved down to Gloucestershire in 1867 from Manchester where he had prospered in the cotton industry. He was a true Victorian polymath, educated at Trinity College, Cambridge, with wide ranging interests in every new development. He was a keen astronomer and one of his telescopes has just been restored to full use in Southport, Lancashire. He owned a Holtzappfel lathe and produced intricate engine turned works in ivory. He wrote the definitive book on the Geometric Chuck used to produce the complex patterns on bank notes designed to prevent forgery. He gave Glouces.ter Cathedral their new tower clock. He also had a Welte Mignon piano player with wooden keys to fit over a piano keyboard.
The flute organ was procured for him by Daniel Imhof in London. We don’t know the exact date, but we do have a letter from 1964 recalling the “Flute Instrument” in 1897, still with large wooden barrels 30 inches to 36 inches long and wound up with a tool like a car handle. Apparently, it did not stop itself, and there is a note stating, “I never hear the end of the Mendelssohn Violin Concerto without remembering the wild dash down the library to put it off lest it spoil the barrel.” I hope that Mendelssohn would

The collection of cassettes featuring classical music that are used to play the flute organ.
have been amused that such wonderful music could be pinned onto a wooden barrel!
The letter says that Thomas Bazley’s son had it “elec.trified,” or converted to a pneumatic system designed by Imhof & Mukle during the early years of the century, The letter writer adds that Imhof & Mukle were later asked to repair the flute organ when it no longer worked but was told “they no longer do that kind of thing – they only go in for wireless etc.” World War I dashed all hopes of repair, and in fact nothing is then heard of the instrument until I discovered it myself in 1963 carefully packed away. The house itself continued in full swing between the wars. One hears of parties and even motor rallies, but I suspect the flute organ, large though it was, simply languished.
Meanwhile, back in the workshop, the flute organ was now receiving proper treatment at last, bearing in mind that every stage was new and experimental. The original maker’s signature was discovered inside some wind trunking but all his work was found to be in generally good condition and superbly made. The Imhof & Mukle mechanism added later was more complex and required much more care and adjustment, including replacement of all leather work.
Naturally, something so different attracted much interest from the usual clientele and led by a happy coincidence to the appearance of Nicholas Frayling, retired Dean of Chichester Cathedral, for the very good reason that he was the great-grandson of Daniel Imhof. A special meeting was arranged in the workshop for him and myself, great-grand.sons of the maker and purchaser respectively, and we marked the completion of the restoration with a grand performance of Wagner’s overture from “Tannhäuser.”
The organ has 150 wooden pipes all with round mouths, commonly termed Viennese Flute and somewhat unusual in normal organ design. These are played from wooden cassettes of manila paper, 200 millimetres wide and extremely tough. Spring-loaded needles pop up through holes punched in the card and trigger a three-stage vacuum pneumatic mechanism. The pipes are arranged in three ranks, or ‘stops,’ of loud, medium and soft, controlled by needles at the edge of the roll to vary the volume, and another needle rewinds the music at the end and switches the motor off.

The original collection was 26 cassettes of classical music, Beethoven, Wagner, Tchaikovsky, etc. Sadly, during its itinerant history, a few of the rolls became separated and were lost. It would be lovely to trace them.
Their general character is very lively but sweet toned, very redolent of a bygone era before gramophones brought music in the home to a wider public.
And so this chequered history of over 150 years ends on a happy note, for the time being at least. But what of the future? It was always perhaps a rarity, many would say a White Elephant, but nonetheless a fascination. I would love to hear from anyone with interest in or knowledge of anything similar, or with ideas for its future. Obviously it would be sad for the family connection to be broken after so many years, but if this article results in any new connec.tions that would certainly be good.
Editor’s note: Please make contact with Henry in the first instance by emailing: editor@mbsgb.org.uk
Update on Imhof & Mukle Flute Organ
The original article by Henry Bennett featuring the story of his Imhof & Mukle flute organ appeared in Vol 29, No 7 (Autumn 2020) of The Music Box. At the end of the

The finished product safely installed back in the author’s backyard barn.
article there was a request from the author for anyone with relevant knowledge or interest to contact him. Nicholas Simons responded, and it is thanks to him that we have another piece in the history of this instrument.
“I am pleased to see your article in the latest Music Box magazine. I immediately recognised your organ as I had seen it a few times previously. I first saw it in the late 1980s (I think it was around then) when I visited Harold Smith of Saddington Hall. Harold was a very well-known collector in the early days of our society and lived in a ramshackle large house in Leicestershire. He had a large wide-ranging collection which included the famous 97-key Imhof barrel orchestrion, now at the Speyer museum. I became good friends with him up to his death in 2001. Your organ was sitting at the back of his large entrance hall, and Harold told me that he was looking after it for a friend, John Bailey. A few years later it had gone, to be replaced by a Model W Orchestrelle. Harold showed me a couple of music cassettes that he had liberated from the original collection, as payment for looking after the organ. I explained to him that he would probably never be able to sell these, as such were made specif.ically for each organ and were not standard scales. Harold was a law unto himself and it was best to never disagree with him, on pain of never being spoken to again. We continued to be friends with Harold and Nora up to his death in 2001 and Nora’s move to a much more comfortable house locally.
Harold’s collection was sold by Gildings on 28 May 2002 and I have checked my catalogue of the sale. It appears the two cassettes had disappeared before the sale, where to one cannot know.
I saw the organ again on my many visits to the Cotton museum, and was told it was owned by John Bailey. The organ was nonfunctional. I wrote to John expressing an interest to buy, but received no reply.
I am pleased that you have returned the organ to its right.ful place in your family, and have had it restored. I’m sure it will give much pleasure to you and your family for many generations to come.”
To which Henry replied:

“My copy of the magazine arrived yesterday and it is so
impressive! … the front cover is very striking – it teaches one
how powerful a picture can become in the right hands.
Wonderful too that extra glimpse of life in the hands of Harold Smith. My brother now recalls going there with John Bailey, but hadn’t told me, and would not have known about the missing cassettes (of which there are four) …”
Henry’s search for those missing cassettes continues. If anyone reading this thinks they can help locate them, please do get in touch via the editor of The Music Box (who incidentally was introduced to MBSGB by the very same Harold Smith). Henry’s organ is now in its permanent location at home, accompanied by a large portrait of his great-great grandfather, father of the original owner.
Latest on Imhof & Mukle Flute Organ Rolls
From Henry Bennett:
“You will recall the recent article in the Autumn edition of this publication. Documenting the history of this Imhof & Mukle instrument has been the perfect Lockdown Project. Starting with a family letter recalling it playing in 1897, I now have a much clearer idea of its more recent history. A photograph discovered only in December shows me restoring the organ in 1963/4 aged 18, but it needed a more secure plan for the future. Our friend John Bailey was to complete repairs and arrange a long-term loan to the Cotton Collec.tion in Stowmarket. It left our house in about 1978 bound for Ipswich, but found a temporary home with Harold Smith in Saddington near Leicester until Bishop and Sons, Organ Builders, were ready to take it for repair. It was then housed by the Cotton Collection for some twenty years before going to Bishop and Sons and then finally back to me in 2010.
“I was aware of four missing music rolls, but another of the photographs just discovered from the 1960’s shows that the full set (or at least those that survived the house parties of the inter-war period) totalled 29 music rolls, which indicated that somehow seven rolls had gone missing. I am delighted to report that the articles in The Music Box have led directly to the recovery of two of them. These were given to Richard Cole, for safe keeping, by Harold Smith before he died. Real.ising that such rolls were specific to just one instrument, Richard lodged them in the Musical Museum near Kew with a clear note of origin, and it was a very happy moment when he was able to match organ and music rolls and I was able to meet him and return them to the original set.
“(As an aside: I had no knowledge of the Saddington Hall episode or the Musical Museum involvement when I wrote the first article – all I knew was that the organ had been housed in the Cotton Collection sometime during its ‘absence.’ That, however, is no excuse for my jumping to the conclusion that four rolls had disappeared while in its care, and offer my apologies for having suggested this.)
“However, Sherlock Holmes would still be intrigued. Somehow, somewhere, in this short period of residence with Harold Smith, it seems seven rolls became separated from the collection. Of these, two have now been returned, another located, and there is a suggestion that a further two went to Germany. The final two may still be adorning the shelves of people uncertain of their true origin.
“I am a new member of the Society and can well imagine additional happy outcomes from this story. This is such an unusual instrument, being dedicated purely to classical music, and it would be wonderful if the publicity can some.how trace its remaining missing repertoire. Such a happy reunion might even lead to the “Flute Organ” eventually finding a good home. I am now retired and I will not be able to enjoy it and look after it for ever! So, if this jogs any memories or prompts any thoughts, please do not hesitate to contact the Editor.
“It would also be good to meet other people with similar interests, when this is permitted.”

A low-tech tuning lead repair
By Jamie Brewer
I so enjoy reading about the involved restorations documented in Mechan.ical Music. Many of these articles describe repairs that are way beyond the scope of the average hobbyist’s skill set. I have background training in watchmaking, so that greatly helps in problem solving of the mechanical stuff I collect. Unfortunately for me, I never have had the luxury of a high-tech workshop.
Looking back to 120-plus years ago, I see a world with a much different mechanical environment as compared to the electronics age we now live in. Maintaining a Ford Model T in the first quarter of the 20th century is an example of how a person with average skills could keep an internal combus.tion engine operational. Automotive repair tips were even given in popular songs. My favorite “Ford tip” is from “The Little Ford Rambled Right Along,” which advises, “If the power gets thick, just hit it with a brick!” This last verse can be found on the Edison issue of that song as the diamond disc and Blue Amberol cylinders had a longer playback time versus a 78 rpm record.
Well, back to my story. I needed
to do some soundboard repair to my Mermod Frères Sublime Harmonie Piccolo box. The inner workings had been restored a few years earlier and the work included installing new leads for the lower comb. In my collecting experience, those lower combs seem to be prone to what collectors call “lead disease.”
I’ve learned from restorers that when soldering a new block of lead to the comb to replace old corroding tuning weights, it can be a crap shoot for the entire block to fully bond.
When I lifted the works out of the case of my sublime harmonie box, I

A folded piece of copy paper coated with Scotch tape was used as a cradle to hold the lead in place while the epoxy cured.
was not happy to find a stray piece of lead resting on the soundboard instead of connected to the comb tooth where it had once been attached.
In my opinion, replacing a tuning lead should be a simple problem to remedy, even for a hobbyist. The last thing I wanted to do was to remove the comb and ship it away. I also did not want to have to send the entire box out to a restorer for repair to correct what seemed to me like a minor and solvable problem.
I should also mention that for decades I enjoyed the National Public Radio show called “Car Talk,” that was hosted by Tom and Ray Magliozzi. They will spend eternity known as “Click and Clack, the Tappet brothers.” The brothers spent their airtime giving car maintenance advice and bantering with each other. The Tappet brothers always offered two stock pieces of advice as last resort measures for two common vehicle problems.
The first advice covered the instance of an engine that might be worn out, making noise or burning oil. In this case, they advised adding any oil concoction with “Marvel,” “Mystery,” or “Electric” in the product descrip.tion. For years I carried a bottle of Marvel Mystery Oil that I added to my ticking engine that had started making noises after 200,000 miles. The second piece of advice from the Tappet broth.ers related to patching or gluing parts together. They always recommended “J B Weld” as their product of choice. They would always say, “We don’t know what it’s made with. All we know is that it works!”
I could write a book about how J B Weld has bailed me out of some night.mare repairs in many of the jobs I’ve done over the years. The following will be just a few short paragraphs explaining how J B Weld fixed my particular problem with a detached tuning lead.
To begin with, I knew I definitely didn’t want to risk messing up the temper of the comb or melting the tuning lead into a puddle by trying to solder this piece of lead back in place. I theorized that by utilizing a little bit of J B Weld instead I would lose nothing but a small amount of my own time if it didn’t work. The lead would just fall off again and I could then just remove the comb and send it off to a professional restorer to do the job.
Preparing for the task at hand, I figured the easiest way to clamp this repair in place would be to use an improvised cradle. I folded a piece of copy paper from my printer over and over so that it would be just thick enough to make a snug fit between each of the adjoining teeth of the comb. I covered this paper cradle in Scotch tape so any stray epoxy would not adhere to the paper and cause it to stick to the metal. I didn’t want to have to clean excess paper bits off the comb when I was done. I made a few dry runs sliding the lead into place before I mixed the epoxy.
I found it did not require much glue to be applied to both the tooth and tuning lead to achieve my goal. Once the lead was placed into the cradle, it was carefully snugged into place onto the comb tooth.
The hardest part was not touching the repair for 24 hours to allow for a full cure. Once fully cured, I took a thin razor blade and ran it between the tape-covered paper, the tooth, and the tuning lead. Only a tiny bit of glue had oozed onto the tape. Once the paper cradle was separated from the glue, it was carefully removed. Joyfully, I saw that the lead stayed in place.
The excess dried epoxy was shaved off the tooth sides with the razor blade. To be double sure of a good bond, I added a bit more epoxy to the entire perimeter of lead/tooth joint and allowed it to cure for another 24 hours. This was again smoothed over with the thin razor blade.
This low-tech repair was done nearly two years ago and is still hold.ing strong.

Let’s keep the music playing
Have you solved a problem while repairing, restoring or maintaining a mechanical music box?
Cylinder boxes, disc boxes, band organs, orchestrions and nickelodeons each have their own special needs.
Share your restoration or maintenance tips with other mechanical music enthusiasts.
Email editor@mbsi.org, call (253) 228-1634
or mail to: Mechanical Music 130 Coral Court Pismo Beach, CA 93449

In a screen grab from a video posted to YouTube, girls can be seen dancing in the streets of London while an organ grinder provides the music. The video was shot in 1896. Smartphone users can scan the QR code in the corner of the image to be taken directly to the video online.
The Italian Organ Grinder:
His Life Revealed
By Dr. Robert Penna
Over the years, much has been written about grinder instruments played in parks and on the streets in the 19th and early 20th centuries to entertain the masses. Several articles can be found describing the instru.ments and their manufacturers, but that is not the focus here. This article concentrates on the people turning the cranks. The people who played these instruments, called by different names in different localities, sought not only to make a living, but to also provide entertainment. Children and young people often danced to the tunes as the organ grinder turned a handle to activate the mechanism. An example of this behavior can be seen in a video from 1896 showing young girls dancing in the street on Drury Lane, London. Well worth the few minutes it takes to watch, the video can be found at https://www.youtube. com/watch?v=xFRdEGPr5zo.
Whether it was a street piano or grinder organ, the results of the music filling the air were often the same. Many people enjoyed, some tolerated and many hated the grinders and the music they played. Perhaps for those who disliked the grinders it was because of the repetition of songs or the squeaking and wheezing of a poorly-maintained instrument. Others may have loathed the music because it was a bit out-of-tune. There may have even been some who disliked the sounds because it attracted crowds of children who would laugh or sing along. Or, perhaps there were other more subtle reasons that this article will attempt to uncover.

Reasons detailed in previous arti.cles by this author and other writers have explained why this type of music disappeared from the streets over time. According to Arthur W.J.G. Ord-Hume, the disappearance of organ grinders from European streets was in large part due to the early application of national and interna.tional copyright laws. “At the end of the 19th and the beginning of the 20th century, European publishers of sheet music and holders of copyrights to the most popular operatic tunes of the day banded together to enforce collection of performance duties from any musician playing their property in any venue. When faced with notaries and the hounding of legal representa.tives of the music industry of the time, organ grinders began to disappear.”1 Yet, this cannot be the sole reason as we know that in the case of the steinkjerpositives, Norwegian grinder organs, barrels were pinned with local music gleaned from songs the fiddlers played at weddings and celebratory gatherings and thus were not subject to similar legal issues.2
Another assumption put forth for the demise of organ grinders explains that the rise of the movie industry, radio and the phonograph brought about a decline in the number of organ grinders able to make a living.3 This is a logical theory, yet it does not explain why a vast number of restrictive laws were passed outlawing grinders in cities and towns across the United States and Great Britain. In fact, so many laws were passed in large cities and small towns declaring these auto.matic musical instruments and the practice of grinding them illegal that authorities often encouraged police.men to treat the grinders as beggars or public nuisances.4 The result of these laws and their over-enthusiastic enforcement was that barrel organ grinders were systematically hounded out of existence. In my opinion, this is truly a sad commentary on municipal governments.

Fewer organ grinders to play the instruments meant many instruments and barrels were destroyed or discarded as scrap. In some instances, those barrels contained the only record of the popular music of the day. The loss of a barrel meant there was no longer any trace of the songs recorded on it. Some music of the era was undoubtedly lost.5
But what if there might be another more insidious reason for these attacks on organ grinders? The indi.viduals who practiced this profession were not wealthy nor were they influential. Organ grinders tended to be marginalized members of society. There were some who were amputee veterans from the civil war, who, because of loss of a limb, could no longer do manual labor.6 A small number of African Americans tried to earn a living as organ grinders, but with no formal education and facing heavy racial discrimination not many succeeded in this venture. The vast majority of grinders were recent immigrants. In the late 19th century and early 20th century, Italian organ grinders flooded the United States. When cities became rife with husker grinders, these men would move to smaller and smaller towns always hoping to reap the benefits of being a novel entertainment.
Let us look at the lives of these individuals. Organ grinders were a hard-working group of men who either pushed a mechanism on a cart or carried it with a strap across their shoulders, often resting it upon a pole when cranking the instrument. They spent their days standing at one location or tiredly walking the streets for hours. Day by day, usually seven days a week, these men worked through any changes in weather. Cold bitter winds of winter, or a sudden shower, or hot summer days standing in a burning sun, did not deter these individuals. After all, if you and your family relied on small change from passersby or neighborhood children, likely you had to overcome all those hardships in order to survive.

Nowadays photos of these grinders are viewed with nostalgia. Who were these men? Photographs demonstrate that they filled every age group from children to old men. Yet, one wonders how did they get into this line of work? What were their backgrounds? Did they own and service their own instruments? Did they make a decent living? Where did they live? Why were they harassed?
Research shows that from the middle to late 1800s the large numbers of Italian immigrants came to the United States to escape poverty and the harsh conditions which followed the unifi.cation of Italy. True of all immigrants moving to a major city, they sought to live near others of their home country. That is why, even today, there are sections known as Little Italy, Greek Town, Chinatown and others. These special neighborhoods offered stores which carried goods with which the immigrants were familiar. People in their neighborhoods spoke the same language and their specific customs were recognized and not suspected.
A study of this era shows Italian immigrant organ grinders lived in appalling conditions. Low rents encouraged them to move to the poor.est, most rundown neighborhoods. Many old tenement houses in these areas were turned into basic boarding houses and most of these living spaces were squalid and unhygienic with no running water. Trying to survive in these miserable, damp, overcrowded conditions that were rife with disease and often infested with rats, the unwary immigrant could easily became a virtual slave to unscrupulous padrones.7 Padrone is an Italian term that originally meant an employer who provides living arrangements and controls common laborers.
Young Italian children were espe.cially targeted for exploitation. Agents of padrones would recruit youngsters from poor remote villages whose families had no idea they were sending their children into these conditions. The children would accompany the street musicians and beg for pennies. Sometimes, as they grew older, they would crank the barrel organs them.selves. Yet all their earnings had to be handed over to the padrone. If they did not earn enough, they would be

An artist’s sketch depicts the mob that gathered in New Orleans, LA, in 1891 to “avenge” the police chief’s murder. Photo courtesy Universal History Archive/Universal Images Group Editorial/UIG via Getty Images
beaten and sent to bed hungry and threatened with expulsion or death. Many suffered in the worst conditions and the mortality rate amongst these youngsters was high.8
Very few of these immigrants were fortunate enough to have their own street organs. The less fortunate wretches would have to hire a weighty contraption for the day, which they then had to transport by carrying it slung over their backs. Each man had his favorite haunt where he would set himself up, manually cranking the organ handle to produce the tunes, and hoping to earn some pennies. For those who couldn’t afford their own street organs and had to rent, rental costs were set at such a rate that many grinders did not produce enough of a profit to escape the life of poverty.9
To make matters so much worse, it was an era where extreme national.ism reigned in the United States. All immigrants faced prejudice. Not only did African Americans face intoler.ance, but so did any who were new

The caption for this photo reads: “An organ grinder. Here is a familiar street scene, no less entertaining and amusing because so often before our doors. It is a jolly Italian family and the donkey, it is pleasant to remark, looks as satisfied and happy as the baby. There is no case here for the attention of the Humane Society, which is more than can be said of all foreign families who come to our shores. The organ, prudently done up in a mackintosh, is one of hose melancholy instruments that drone forth selections from ‘Faust’ and the ‘Barber of Seville’ with a wheezy catch in its strings and a pause when the performer collects a nickel. Sometimes the handle goes around without making any tune until there is a little click inside and away it goes on ‘Wacht Am Rhein’ or the ‘Marseillaise.’ No fine discriminator is our organ grinder. He plays ‘The Dead March’ with a hop-skip-and-a-jump, and his liveliest waltz with slow ponderous measure that would make even the donkey go asleep. While the music of a street piano will perhaps fail to give the liveliest satisfaction to a cultivated ear, it certainly affords great entertainment for that portion of society known as the ‘street gamin,’ whose opportunities for hearing any kind of music are very limited, with a corresponding increase in his capacity for enjoying it. There is still an Old World flavor about the group which has not had time to get rubbed off against our American ways. When we note the expression on the faces, especially that of the little girl in her mother’s arms, there can be no question that the picture was taken directly from life.”
arrivals to this country. Signs appeared in windows cautioning newcomers with “Irish Need Not Apply,” or “We Do Not Serve Germans,” and “No Jobs for Italians.” According to Tony Hernandez on a blog post at the Immigrant Archive Project, “it’s worth noting that this anti-immigrant fervor usually subsides. And more often than not, the newcomer is eventually woven into the fabric of America.”10
But that didn’t happen until after many of the immigrants grinding organs had suffered and died. At the time that this jingoistic attitude perme.ated our society, the Italian immigrant organ grinder was an especially easy target. Working alone outside of the neighborhood in which he lived, he was often victimized by belligerent groups. Gangs and bullies extorted money and most police did not offer protection for the poor immigrant grinder. Lacking language skills to express himself, he was often blamed for crimes he did not commit.
A prime example of how the media of the time supported injustices appeared in an editorial found in Puck Magazine. Originally printed Apr. 15, 1891, it seems to justify attacks on Italian immigrants and Italian organ grinders. The article unsympathet.ically describes the plight of the average organ grinder and his monkey. If the article had stopped at this point, it would have been somewhat informative, even though it mocked the Italian’s language skills with such phrases as “nice-a-man,” “the lady who give-a ten cents,” and “Lady-who-seta da dog on.”
The article goes on to describe the politics between Italy and the United States at the time, claiming that the Italian government had overreacted to a “recent breach of the peace in New Orleans” and had withdrawn their diplomats. In the article, the “breach of the peace” was not described. Perhaps the audience was cognizant about what this “breach of the peace” was, perhaps not. As readers of this article some 130 years later, we likely would not know.
So why was the Italian government so provoked so as to withdraw its diplomat? What was this “breach of the peace” or “unpleasantness” to which this article refers? A quick review of history of the time shows that one month earlier, Italians were the victims of the largest mass lynch.ings in the history of the United States.

According to a story published in the The Washington Post, on Mar. 14, 1891, a crowd of 8,000 assembled on Canal Street in New Orleans and stormed a prison in which some Italians were held. The crowd was reacting to the acquittal of several Italians who had been accused of the murder of the New Orleans police chief. Although they were later found innocent, the anti-Italian sentiment in the city ran high and a sacrifice was demanded.11 The victims were hated simply because they were Italian immigrants. These 11 men were either shot point blank or dragged outside and hanged from lamp posts. According to Ryan Prior of CNN, “Ital.ians were regular victims of nativist hostility in the 1890s, and more than 20 were lynched in episodes around the country throughout the decade.”12
Instead of expressing compassion for the lives of the 11 men unjustly and cruelly murdered or trying to explain the outrage felt by the Italian government, the Washington Post arti.cle simply misrepresents the number of men killed and attacks the Italian government for recalling its minister. Think about how we, as Americans, feel today when our innocent civilians are attacked in foreign lands and their governments do little or nothing to bring the criminals to justice? How must those Italian immigrant organ grinders felt?
Most literature of the time demon.ized immigrants, especially Italian organ grinders. One example is an ordinary melodrama for the stage from the early 1900s entitled “The Mummy and the Hummingbird.” It describes the villain as a base Italian organ grinder, even though his background demonstrates that he is a supposedly intelligent author who has had to flee his homeland.13
Many more examples of this type of negativity can be found in political cartoons of the day. Attached to this article are several examples of the prejudice faced by immigrant Italian organ grinders gleaned from publi.cations of the time. Often appearing in weekly magazines, the Brother Jonathan cartoon character was used to represent the United States before the Uncle Sam caricature was created. In the attached cartoon, he is advising the Italian organ grinder to send his instrument referred to as a squeak machine to P.T. Barnum’s circus, take a weapon, and go back to Italy.

One drawing shows what an illus.trator drew as a typical Italian organ grinder, revealing him to look like the basest criminal. The drawing was sure to give small children nightmares. Another cartoon of the day calls the Italian organ grinder a “dago” which is an extremely disparaging and contemptuous term used to refer to a person of Italian origin.
A photo appearing in a local news.paper of the day shows an apparently well cared for grinder organ on a donkey-pulled cart with an Italian family. In comparison to an average street husker, this is an unbelievably prosperous grinder. The photo is likely staged, but the caption refers to the mechanism as “one of those melancholy instruments that drones forth selections … with a wheezy catch. … No fine discriminator is our organ grinder.” The caption goes on to state that the music will fail to give the cultivated listener satisfaction. The article does add, however, “it certainly affords great entertainment for that portion of society familiarly known as the ‘street gamins.’” Street gamins are defined as homeless children left to wander the neighborhood, or street urchins. So, according to this piece, only the uneducated homeless can enjoy the sounds of a cranked instru.ment played by this Italian family.
To many, the organ grinders brought joy and pleasure from their humdrum existences and were a wonderful part of their lives. They never knew of the suffering often borne by many of these men. Besides living in deplorable conditions, faced with prejudice and often undisguised hatred, their days consisted of push.ing or carrying a heavy instrument in all sorts of weather. Imagine standing continuously for long hours and monotonously turning a crank to hear the same few songs day after day. This assuredly took not only strength, but patience. Let us never forget what these individuals endured as they played their wonderful instruments that we enjoy to this day.
A poem (see Page 40) which appeared in an 1873 issue of Harp.er’s New Monthly Magazine shows the human cost of an organ grinder. It speculates on the history of the elderly organ grinder’s past and what he thinks as he repetitiously grinds his instrument.14

Footnotes

1.
Penna, Robert. “Organ Grinders, the Mayor and Cartoons of the 1930’s,” Mechanical Music, Music Box Society International, Volume 64, No. 1, January/February 2018, page 36

2.
Steinkjerpositiv. http://www.nostalgeek.no/barrel.htm

3.
Penna, Robert. “Cartoon Crankers,” Mechanical Music, Music Box Society International, Volume 65, No. 4, July/August 2019, page 38

4.
Penna, Robert. “Barrel Organs and Monkey Performers in Our Nation’s Capital,” Carousel Organ, Carousel Organ Association of America, Issue #83, April 2020, page 4.

5.
Ibid. page 4

6.
Penna, Robert. “Barrel Organs and the Disabled Civil War Veteran,” Mechanical Music, Music Box Society International, Volume 64, No. 3, May/June 2018, page 28

7.
Penna, Robert. “Joy and Suffering: The Organ Grinders of London and Manchester,” The Music Box, Musical Box Society of Great Brit.ain, Volume 29 No. 7, Autumn 2020, page 268.

8.
Ibid. page 268

9.
Ibid. page 271

10.
“A Brief History of Anti-Immigrant Propaganda.” Immigrant Archive Project. https://immigrantarchiveproject.org/brief-history-anti-immi.grant-propaganda/

11.
Italian-American One Voice Coalition. 2018. http://www.iaovc.org/lynching-of-italians/

12.
Prior, Ryan. CNN. Published 3:12 PM (EDT) Monday, April 1, 2019.

13.
Penna, Robert. “The Mummy, the Hummingbird, and the Italian Organ Grinder, Mechanical Music, Musical Box Society International, volume 63, No. 5, September/October 2017.

14.
Zucchi, John E. The Little Slaves of the Harp. Buffalo, NY: McGill’s-Queens University Press 1992.

An organ-grinder, meagre and sorrowful, Stops in the sun in the street below; The ragged street children come trooping about him,
Crowding and eager and glad, I know, Their bright eyes peering through tangled tresses With childish wonder and happy trust:
Even the boys stare, quiet a moment, Scraping their toes through the tawney dust.
But the organ-grinder is bent and weary; Nothing is new to him under the sun; The tinkling of notes of the old, old music Mean scanty crusts when the day is done. A waltz may come, or an Ave Maria; The children may listen or run away; The organ-grinder is old and weary, And he turns this handle the livelong day.
What is he thinking, our tired brother? What do these sorrowful gray eyes see? Vacantly gazing – at nothing about him – Is he looking in faces that used to be? Is he thinking of old, old times and people, Of days when the sun in truth was bright, When the sweet winds blew to him perfumed fancies, And sunset castles rose fair in his sight?
Does he hear, instead of the old, old music His brown, stiff fingers are grinding out, The dear wife’s laugh in the pleasant twilight, And the baby’s step and tiny shout? Does he feel the pressure of loving fingers .Deadly chill when he touched them last! .Biding the troubled dream of the present In the gracious glow from the real past?
Our worn-out brother! He is only weary; no fairy dreams are kissing his eyes; His life is sordid and narrow and sorrowful; The pennies fall rarely – for this he sighs No lovely phantoms are floating about him; No echoes are sounding within his breast From the voice divine of that love supernal Which shall surely somewhere give him rest. And the bruised spirit is mate with the body; He will hear with a stare that God is good. Silently add to the store of his pennies, And brighten his desolate solitude. Stifle the Pharisee pity that rises! Who links the merciless chain of fate? Through what dim cycles slow gather its atoms? In what fine junctions – while we wait?
Poem and cartoon from The Little Slaves of the Harp. Reprinted from Harper’s New Monthly Magazine, 1873.
The SEGA Grand Pianist
The following article was first published in German by Das Mechanische Musikinstrument (No. 141, August 2021) the magazine of the German Association for Self-playing Mechan.ical Instruments.
By Uwe Gernert
Original intro: In May 2021 I found some new entries in Jody and Robbie’s Mechanical Music Digest (MMD) about a piece of technology not familiar to me before, called the SEGA Grand Pianist, a toy piano in 1/6 scale. It is a fully electronic device with some features worthy enough to be pointed out in a collector’s magazine, which also counts as an audience a group of people who are interested in MIDI technology.
SEGA and SEGA Toys
To warm up, I would like to talk a little about the history of the SEGA Corporation. The company was founded in 1940 in Honolulu, HI, by Americans Martin Bromley, Irving Bromberg and James Humpert. It was then called Standard Games and it produced coin-operated amusement machines, including slot machines for military bases. In 1946 the name was changed to SErvice GAmes, shortened in marketing materials to SEGA, as it continued to focus selling its products mainly on military bases. The U.S. outlawed slot machines in its territories around 1952 and SEGA could foresee a decline in sales, so the founders moved their business to Tokyo in 1951. The name of the company was changed to SErvice GAmes of Japan. The main business of SEGA was still the import of coin-op.erated automatons for American forces stationed in Japan at the time. In 1965 SEGA fused with Rosen Enter.prises, also a Tokyo-based business. Rosen Enterprises imported all sorts of electromechanical devices ranging from photobooths to mechanical playing machines found in arcades. In 1966 SEGA developed a submarine simulator called “Periscope” which became a worldwide export success and brought the company a world.wide reputation. The company began to develop between eight and 10 new arcade games per year.

In 1969, Rosen Enterprises and other shareholders decided to sell SEGA to Gulf & Western Industry Inc., a company engaged in making cars, clothing, sugar and a lot of other prod.ucts. When SEGA debuted its arcade game titled “Heavyweight Champ,” it was the first commercially successful Japanese video game. The company’s name continues to be associated with profitable products in video games and game consoles. In 1982, worldwide sales reached $214 million. The following decades saw SEGA experience many changes because of new competitors like Atari, Sony and Nintendo. Despite some mergers and takeovers, technological and commercial successes like the 16-bit game console called Mega Drive in the 1990s, reestablished the company in international markets.
Yonezawa Toys, which was founded in the 1950s in Tokyo, was the biggest producer of toys in Japan after WWII. They specialized in the 1970s in the production of thousands of different battery-driven mechanical toys. In the 1980s they began producing radio-controlled toys. In 1991 that company was bought by SEGA and the new trademark of the company was Sega-Yonezawa. In April 1998 the name of the founder was deleted from the company’s name and a new trade.mark, SEGA Toys, was established.
Further development saw the parent company SEGA as a supplier of software for the consoles of former competitors, for which games and simulations were and are still developed. On Sept. 9, 2003, SEGA announced to the press a new corpo.rate strategy of entering into more partnerships, including with Chunsoft, Vivarium, and THQ, for whom SEGA distributed games in Japan. The corpo.rate strategy included supporting next generation consoles such as the Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, and Nintendo’s Wii with new video game software. SEGA also bought up several animation and game development studios in the 2000s and later, thus ensuring success in that market segment.

On Dec. 8, 2003, Sammy, one of Japan’s largest slot machine manufac.turers, bought 22.4 percent of SEGA’s stock and with that buy became the largest shareholder of the company after a failed attempt to merge with SEGA in the same year. On May 18, 2004, Sammy and SEGA declared they would fully merge in October to form a joint group called “Sega Sammy Holdings.” After this merger, SEGA Toys was also reorganized, becoming a division of SEGA entertainment. Sega Toys, however, continued to market itself completely independently of the parent company, even though there was cooperation between the two.
The Grand Pianist
As stated in the short introduction, the SEGA Grand Pianist came to my attention due to some short articles in MMD in May 2021. After watching videos at some of the links provided on YouTube, I knew I must have one of these machines and I began to search the web to find one for sale. I found some offered on eBay by international sellers from Japan who wanted $200 or so for them. Some of the offers from U.S. sellers were a lot more expensive so I decided to buy from a Japanese seller for the first time ever. I must say, I was not disappointed. The seller’s communication was excellent, and the instrument was sent on its way to me extremely fast.
Most Japanese sellers on eBay ship their goods free via FedEx worldwide. This is a very convenient way to obtain goods in Europe. FedEx handles all that customs stuff and sends you a bill for the costs about 14 days after deliv.ery. For those who are keen on getting original packaging and the manual (only available in Japanese) for the toy piano, you will have to pay a higher price and only likely deal with sellers from Japan. I wasn’t worried about missing those pieces because I was mainly interested in the completeness and condition of the instrument.
The SEGA Grand Pianist was produced in a white version, but they are rarely offered for sale nowadays and they are more expensive. I would say you might have to add $500 or more to the cost compared to a black version, but if white better fits with your furniture, I could see you saying, “so what?” There are also some editions, I call them “Cinderella-Edi.tions,” that were produced for an even smaller buyer’s market. Mostly, these were white instruments that had printings on the piano’s cover. In my opinion, these would only impress some Japanese or American buyers who might buy the instrument for a child’s room.
The SEGA Grand Pianist is a replica of an 88-key YAMAHA Grand piano. I think it is one of the famous YAMA-HA-series Type C2 pianos, which was also offered as a “Disklavier.” In the display panel of the toy, you might recognize the “Deja-vus.” The Deja.vus is a concept of sorting the files of different genres of music into differ.ent folders labeled A through F. The instrument in its 1/6 scale is practically identical to a reproduced YAMAHA, right down to the music holder. It was originally offered to the public in Japan in the first quarter of 2007.
The instrument’s 88 keys (white ones measuring 4 millimeters while black ones measure 3 millimeters in width) are actuated by small electro solenoids which will be moved according to the song being played. In manual mode the piano keys can be actuated by hand (perhaps even better with a matchstick). The instrument comes with 100 pieces of different music pre-programmed, ranging from classic to popular music, pop classics and of course “Happy Birthday” and “Silent Night.”

The repertoire was chosen by an internationally known Japanese composer and violinist named Taro Hakase. You may recognize his name, as he accompanied Celine Dion from the 1990s on her world tours as a violinist. The playlist can be extended by inserting an SD card into the inte.grated card reader slot. The machine is able to read cards up to a capacity of 2 GB. The dimensions of the piano are 250 millimeters wide, 180 milli.meters high and 330 millimeters long. The weight is about 3.6 kilograms. The Japanese obviously thought about a worldwide distribution for the instrument. The AC/DC adapter is a universal part which covers an AC input from 100 volts (at 100 volts the Japanese current is the worldwide lowest) to 240 volts. When buying an instrument from Japan you should always confirm that the adapter is original and not changed. Even the difference between 100 volts AC and the American voltage of 110/120 volts AC can do irreparable damage to the adapter and the instrument. The power plug on the adapter is NEMA-standard (National Electrical Manufacturers Association), so you don’t even need an adapter.
It is not hard to understand why this instrument found no interna.tional market. SEGA trademarked the instrument in the U.S. but never came up with any kind of marketing campaign to attract people to this product. Another problem was the price tag, which was $400. Delivery could be made only directly from Japan. Robbie Rhodes, in MMD of May 15, 2007, found a “Buy it now price” of $637 on eBay, which was far too much to make this product an economical success abroad.
It also wasn’t helpful at all that the instruction manual and display on the instrument were available only in Japanese. To completely detail all the failures of the marketing strategy for this piano, it would take an expert on the SEGA firm’s history who has a better knowledge of the Japanese language than me. Also regarding the level of commercial success, I only can speculate since I couldn’t obtain any information about how many of these pianos were produced versus how many were sold.
As a children’s toy, the SEGA Grand Pianist was not only too expensive, but also certainly not suitable for youngsters. Operating the instrument requires a high level of technical skill and there are simply too many parts that can break when it is used as a toy. It was also unsuitable for the broader Japanese population, partly because of a lack of living space in Japanese cities, but also contributing to the problem was the hefty price of 47,000 yen. Americans might call something like the SEGA Grand Pianist an “exec.utive desk toy.” As a collector’s item, there probably isn’t much money to be made with it either. I personally can’t see any real target group for marketing this instrument to. It seems to me that 14-year-olds to 16-year-olds certainly had (and still have) other needs greater than a miniature piano.
The instrument’s speaker is another weak point. The electromechanics that operate the keys are loud, only

When turning the piano on, you may see the keys move as part of a testing program.
drowned out when playing songs at full volume but then the quality of the sound isn’t great either. I esti.mated it at a maximum of 2.5 watts on the built-in speaker. According to the manufacturer, it can produce 3 watts of power. You can remedy this shortfall if you use the output jack available on the instrument and employ an external speaker option. I would advise you to look for devices made around the same time as this instrument. For example, you might try the speaker cube NX-A01 that was offered by YAMAHA about that time. Currently on the second-hand market you won’t find any of these speakers in black, only white are available. As collectors, however, we all know that hope always dies last! Maybe one day I’ll find a way to acquire a white version of the SEGA Grand Pianist, then buy a YAMAHA speaker in white also for less than $100. Of course, a Bluetooth TX-adapter together with a corresponding speaker can also offer an alternative to this collector’s dream combination. This Bluetooth option works wirelessly and can also be purchased for less than $100. I thought I might be able to turn off the key action in the original instrument to reduce the noise they make, but it turns out this would require software and possibly hardware hacks that not easily done unless you are an expert computer builder and programmer. With the external speaker attached, however, it is possible to obtain 6 to 10 watts of speaker volume which is quite suitable to overcome the back.ground noises produced by the piano.

When it comes to expanding the playlist for the piano, I have already mentioned that you can use a 2 GB SD card. You can even find some for sale that come with ready-recorded music, but even on eBay these cards are rarely available. Plus, sellers of these cards charge quite high prices and it is even more disappointing when you realize these cards only make a small number of additional tracks available.
There is a bit of software, called Musicbox, from a third-party-pro.ducer that is available and can be

Two SEGA Grand Pianists on top of a Steck Aeolian Pianola in the author’s home.
downloaded from the internet making it possible for you to convert MIDI-files to the format needed to save them on SD cards that are compatible with the toy piano. (Filenames after conversion end with *.FEM)
I was astonished that this software that dates back to 2010 (the version is 1.0.0.1, and is copyrighted in 2004) doesn’t have any problems running on Windows 10.
Don’t listen if somebody tells you to just change a filename extension from *.MID to *.FEM This will not work. Make all changes to your MIDI files with a program designed to work with those types of files before running the conversion through the Musicbox software. If you simply try to edit a MIDI file with a standard code-editor it will result in a corruption of that MIDI file.
Use of the Musicbox software is quite simple even if the export for the toy piano is hidden in a submenu called “List” as a button labeled . In that submenu you will find the choice for saving as . Please make sure to save the files in the root of the SD card since the piano can’t read file structures. Also be sure not to use SD cards with a capacity of more than 2 GB, otherwise the piano can’t read them. Also, not all brands of SD cards available can be read by the piano. I recommend you experiment with some of your old cards first. The usual formatting for the cards is the FAT32-formatting.

The SEGA Grand Pianist comes with a very simple menu structure. You can only choose between playing from media or manual playing. Starting up the piano with an SD card in the slot will provide you with a submenu. The first choice is playing from media. You may choose between SD and the onboard music. The first choice is to play from SD and you don’t even have to know Japanese because the term SD can be clearly identified in the menu.
Press the enter key in the menu three times and the music from the external SD card will start. Quality and range will depend on the MIDIs you use. It does seem, however, that there are many possibilities when playing around with MIDIs using the SEGA Grand Pianist since there are thousands of files available to convert.

Some YouTube videos assert that the toy piano’s keys are actuated at random while playing from self-made SD cards. This tells me that most of the makers of these videos had no knowledge that the Musicbox conver.sion software exists. In my opinion, the piano’s keys are actuated in total congruence with the notes played from the SD card. For those who are curious about the inner workings of the piano, I have included a picture of the inside. If something were to go wrong in there, I’m quite sure it would be easier to buy a new toy than to repair it. Or, maybe you have as much technical insight as the Japanese friend from the internet who sent me the picture that appears on Page 45.

Seeking your stories for ….
Did you once spend time finding the perfect musical
The Hunt
antique to round out your collection? What was it? How did you find it? Was it in ruins, or in perfect condition?
Was there a time you randomly ran across a unique instrument then found a way to acquire it and restore it so that you might display it and tell the story to all who of others. visit your home? We look forward to hearing
Answer these questions and you will have the perfect from you. story for “The Hunt” column in Mechanical Music.
Every mechanical music instrument has a story Email your story to editor Russell Kasselman at behind it and the readers of Mechanical Music love to editor@mbsi.org or mail a copy to: read them all.
Editing help is available if you have a story, but you are MBSI Editorial Offices not sure how to organize it or present it. The important 130 Coral Court thing is to get it down and pass it on for the enjoyment Pismo Beach, CA 93449

A fortunate find
The story of how a Crown Style 16 20.-inch upright disc music box came into my collection

One of the original discs purchased by the author. Note that the label spells Pittsburg without an “h.”
By Harold Wade

Crown 20.-inch disc music box to play Pa.” At the time these discs were
them on since I knew that the discs produced, Pittsburg (without the “h”)
In 2018, sometime in Spring, I would play perfectly on my Olympia was the correct spelling of the name unexpectedly found and bought four 20.-inch (serial No. 11037) table of the city until it was changed on original Crown 20.-inch discs at a model music box. I was happy with Jul. 11, 1911. It would be interesting Stanton’s Auctioneers auction in Hast-that. As mentioned, all the discs are in to hear from other Crown disc music ing, MI. They were in perfect condition excellent condition and each disc has box owners whether their discs have and, in my opinion, reasonably priced. printed on it the words “Crown Music the “h” or no “h” on their Crown disc I never worried that I didn’t have Box–H. Kleber and Bro. Co–Pittsburg, labels.

This image shows the repaired soundboard. Note, also, the small, white instruction label just below the bedplate.
Disc numbers, song titles and composers from the four discs I purchased are listed at top of Page 49.
A year or so later, while searching eBay, I found a music box described as a Regina upright disc music box, but I could tell from the pictures that it looked like an F. G. Otto 20.-inch disc music box. When I called the seller, Dennis Warren from Albany, NY, he told me that an antique music box dealer in New York state told him it was not a Regina but an F. G. Otto disc music box. I requested pictures of the music box and the discs. I was pretty sure it was a Crown 20.-inch disc music box that was manufactured by F. G. Otto and Sons in Jersey City, NJ. The pictures arrived and all nine discs had Crown Music Box labels on them. This convinced me it was worth looking at this item with some

No. Song Title
5065 Marching Through Georgia,
Song 1865
5070 Listen to the Mocking Bird,
March, (Horen Sie den Spottischen Vogel) 1856
Good
5128 Tis the Last Rose of Sum.
mer, from Martha, (Letzte
Rose, Lied) 1847
5281 Il Trovatore, Anvil Chorus
Music from Act 2 Scene 1
1853

Music Box Company in Randolph, VT.
“Pat. May 20, 1902 No: 700550.” The simply, Music Box. It was filed Dec.
boxes of every size
same label on almost all F.

short bedplate installations. The base
The author’s restored Crown 201/2-inch disc music box.
boxes with original base cabinets. MBSI members Mike Perry, who owns a Criterion serial No. 6373 in Ohio, and Alvin Zamba, who owns a Criterion serial No. 8506 in Pennsylvania, have the same cabinet for their machines.
The sole distributor of Crown disc music boxes made by F. G. Otto was Henry Kleber and Brothers, originally located at 1st 501 Wood Street and then at 221-223 Fifth Avenue in Pittsburg, PA, between 1903 and 1904. Kleber, born in Darmstadt, Germany, was an active participant in the city’s musical affairs for years. He had a music store in Pittsburgh for many years selling Knabe, Henry F Miller, Crown Orches.tra, Straube and Opera Pianos, plus many other musical items including Imperial Symphonion disc music boxes, Washington Mandolins, guitars, banjos, zithers and Peerless Piano Players. An interesting side note, I own an Imperial Symphonion 20-inch disc music box with a label inside reading, “H. Kleber & Bro. 221-223 Fifth Ave. Pittsburg—Everything in the music line– Baldwin & Gleason Company, N.Y.” I purchased that box in Pittsburgh some years ago.
The Crown disc music boxes were exact copies of Criterion or Olym.pia or Euphonia music boxes, and possibly even the same as Sterling music boxes though I’ve never seen one of those. I found that the discs are interchangeable since they all have a 3/8-inch diameter center hole and edge drive. The Crown 20.-inch disc numbers (5XXX) are the same numbers as Criterion and Olympia 20.-inch disc boxes. This information comes from an article by Al Choffnes printed in the MBSI journal that is dated Winter 1983 (Vol. 29, No. 3).
The Crown music boxes I’ve seen are plain with no markings. MBSI member Bob Yates has a small Crown disc music box, size 8.-inches with 44 teeth, that has 16 (2XXX) discs. Also Bob’s music box has a label reading “Number 1,” which I believe is the model (looking at Q. David Bowers’ “Encyclopedia of Disc Music Boxes” on page 299). Bob purchased his Crown disc music box from an antique dealer in Pittsburgh who bought the Henry Kleber store when it went out of business some 40 years ago. MBSI member Colson Conn had a 14-inch or 15.-inch Crown disc music box that he bought on eBay from a small town just east of Pittsburgh some years back. Also, the Morris Museum in Morristown, NJ, has on display a Crown 15.-inch disc music box that is on loan from Jane A. George and is pictured in Mechanical Music (Vol. 63, No. 3, May/June 2017, Page 20). I think it would be interesting to know how this Crown 20.-inch disc music box made its way to upstate New York from Pittsburgh, PA.

Ron Connolly, at the Porter Music Box Company, started restoring my Crown music box on Sept. 28, 2020. Ron said the combs were not badly worn and cleaned up nicely. He reported that the number one star wheel on the bass end of the combs was badly worn because the first bass teeth in both the upper and lower comb were too heavy. He added that the spring barrel and drive spring both contained dried-up grease from more than 116 years of use, but they also cleaned up nicely. The drive gear on the shaft was pinned over, instead of using a set screw, to hold it to the shaft, Ron said. He drilled it out and corrected it. Next, he noted that the speed lever and assembly for

The front and back side of a Liberty V nickel, found in the base cabinet of the author’s Crown disc box during restoration.
controlling disc speed was missing, so he made a copy using Jim Farr’s Criterion 15.-inch disc music box which happened to be in Porter’s shop for restoration at the same time. Thank you Jim. The sound board in my Crown music box had shrunken slightly so it was moved over slightly and a Sitka spruce piece was glued in to fill the space and prevent rattles, then sanded to a smooth surface and stained to color match the original. The back board of the music box had shrunken also so the panels were loose causing a rattle. The back panel was taken apart, cleaned up and glued back together to solve this problem. The restoration of my music box was completed in early 2021. The box was delivered to Alvin Zamba’s residence on May 11, 2021. Alvin made a copy of the beautiful gallery from his Criterion 20.-inch box to replace the missing gallery on mine. This made the music box look complete.
Another interesting side note is that Ron found a 1900 Liberty V Nickel in the base cabinet of my music box. It was dirty, but in perfect condition. My guess is that the coin had been laying in the bottom of the base cabinet for more than 110 years.

No. Song Title Composer
5038 Adeste Fideles Portuguese Chapel Hymn (O Come, All Ye Faithful) 1743 Tr. J. R. Beste
5048 The Palms, Scared Song 1872 Jean-Baptiste Faure
5070 Listen to The Mocking Bird, March, (Horen Sie den Spottischen Vogel) 1856 Good Alice Hawthorne
5088 The Holy City, Sacred Song 1892 Stephen Adams
5141 Jesus, Lover of My Soul, Hymn 1862 Joseph P Holbrook
5251 Wizard of the Nile, Star Light, Star Bright Waltz, Song Burlesque Operetta 1895 Victor Herbert
5281 Il Trovatore, Anvil Chorus Music from Act 2 Scene 1 1853 Excellent Giuseppe Verdi
5450 Blaze Away, March and Two Step 1901 Abraham Abe Holzmann
5510 Bedelia Song (A Irish Serenade),(I Want to Steal Ye, Bedelia, I Love You So) 1903 Jean Schwartz & William Jerome

On this page is a table showing the nine discs that came with my Crown 20.-inch disc music box.
It has been an enjoyable journey acquiring this unusual disc music box, having it restored and now enjoying the beautiful music which it can produce. I must thank Dwight Porter and Ron Connolly once again for the excellent restoration. Also, many thanks to Alvin Zamba for the beauti.ful gallery on the top of the music box that he made. Thanks also go to Mary Zamba for taking some photos and assisting with this article.

WE WANT YOUR STORY!
Every mechanical musical instrument has a tale to tell. Share the history of people who owned your instrument before you, or the story of its restoration, or just what makes it an interesting piece. Send stories via email to editor@mbsi.org or mail your story to Iron Dog Media, 130 Coral Court, Pismo Beach, CA 93449

Interesting Tidbits

H.O. Studley, Veteran Piano Maker, at His Bench in the Poole Factory.
The small article accompanying this photo, found in the March 30, 1890, issue of The Music Trade Review, reads:
“In the accompanying picture, taken in the Poole Piano Co.’s factory, Boston, the portrait of H.O. Studley, who is one of the trade’s most interesting characters, will be noted. Mr. Studley has been a piano man for forty-six years, and has been with the Poole Piano Co. for over twenty, and is still in active harness with this well-known Boston piano manufacturing institution. The tool set also shown in this picture represents the collection of a lifetime, and the handsome case as well as a number of the tools were made by Mr. Studley, who is a veteran of the Civil War, and a staunch American.”
Several articles are available online providing more detail about the man and his tool chest, which is now on display at the Smithsonian Institution. Read more at:

19th-Century Tool Box Is Meticulously Designed to Hold 300 Tools


https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Henry_O._Studley


http://ggober.com/shop/documents/FW_Stud.ley_Smithsonian.pdf


https://lostartpress.com/collections/books/products/ virtuoso

Margie Epstein — 1935-2021
By Paul Senger
I am sad to announce the passing
of Margery “Margie” Epstein on Jun.
2, 2021, at the age of 85 after a long
illness. She was born in Trenton, NJ,
and was a resident of Silver Spring,
MD, for more than 40 years. After
raising three children, she started
a successful tutoring business that
she ran for nearly 20 years. She was
predeceased by her husband of 62
years, Seymour “Sy” Epstein, in 2018.
Together they were able to pursue
many passions including travel,
game collection and appreciation for
antique music boxes. They also loved
to go to musical shows including
the annual John Philip Sousa tribute
concerts by the Marine Band, and live
performances at local venues. She
loved to talk to the musicians and
performers after shows. Margie was
also enthusiastic in her participation
in the League of Women Voters. Sy
and Margie had been members of the
National Capital Chapter for over 15
years and enthusiastic contributors

to our chapter including our Annual daughter, Sharon Ross (Greg); flowers, donations can be made to the
Convention in 2011. grandchildren, Ericka and Neil, sister, League of Women Voters, American Margie will be greatly missed. Our Barbara Waksler; and brother, Roger Cancer Society and American Heart
condolences go out to the family. Pitasky. Association. She is survived by sons, Bruce A memorial service was held Read more at www.sagelbloomfield.
(Rachael) and Jeff (Virginia); Jul.j 11 in Rockville, MD. In lieu of com/obituary/Margery-Epstein

Lelland Fletcher — 1926-2021
The Southern California Chapter is collector who attended many chapter sorry to have to announce that our meetings as well as national mechan.dear friend, Lelland Fletcher, passed ical musical enthusiast meetings in away on Jul. 21, 2021, at a care center. the U.S., Japan and Europe. He will be
July 28 would have been his 95th sorely missed. birthday. “Fletcher” was a gentle man A memorial service in San Diego, and a long-term MBSI member and CA, was held Aug. 6.

Advertise in The Mart

Have some spare parts or extra rolls taking up the space where you should be installing your next acquisition? Ready to trade up, but need to sell one of your current pieces first? Get the word out to other collectors by advertising in The Mart, an effective advertising tool at an inexpensive price.
Go online to place your advertisement at www.mbsi.org, fill out the form in the Mart section, or contact Russell Kasselman at (253) 228-1634 to get started. You may also email advertisements to editor@mbsi.org

A Lasting Legacy

Throughout its history, MBSI has fostered an interest in and preservation of automatic musical instruments. Your gift to the Endowment Fund will support programs that will help future generations appreciate these achievements of man’s creative genius. Visit www.mbsi.org to learn more.

In order for anything once alive to have meaning, its effect must remain alive in eternity in some way
– Ernest Becker, Philosopher

The Musical Box Society International is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization. All donations to the Endowment Fund are tax deductible. A gift of any size is welcome.
Aug. 31 – Sept. 5, 2022
72nd Annual Meeting of the Musical Box Society International & 58th Annual Meeting of the

and the MBSI Golden Gate Chapter Location: San Mateo Marriott San Francisco Airport in San Mateo, California

Stanton’s Auctioneers,
Vermontville, MI 49096 Phone: (517) 726-0181 Michael C. Bleisch Fax: (517) 726-0060 (517) 231-0868 cellular E-mail: stantonsauctions@sbcglobal.net E-mail – mcbleisch@gmail.com Website: www.stantons-auctions.com

Music Box Company, Inc.
We restore Swiss cylinder and disc music boxes.

Cylinders are repinned if necessary and all worn parts are rebuilt to original specifications or better.


Combs are repaired and tuned. Nickel plated parts are replated as needed.

Trust your prized music box to the finest quality restoration available. We have been accused of over restoring! Better over than under I say!
We will pick up your music box anywhere east of the Mississippi River, and transport it to our shop in Randolph, Vermont, where it will be stored in a climate-controlled area until it’s finished and returned.
We have a complete machine shop where we build Porter Music Boxes, more than 3,000 so far. We are unique in the industry in that we are capable of manufacturing any part needed to restore any music box.
See our website, www.PorterMusicBox.com, to read letters of recommendation and browse a selection of the finest disc boxes currently being manufactured anywhere in the world. We have twin disc models, single disc models with 121/4” or15 1/
“ discs, and table models with beautiful cabinets created for us in Italy. Also we can
occasions.
P.O Box 424 Randolph, VT 05060

support.

Call (802) 728-9694 or email maryP@portermusicbox.com

The Musical Box Society of Great Britain announces the publication of two new books Published in September 2018

100pp Hard Back ISO A4 format [8.27” . 11.70”; Profusely illustrated in
Supplement to

colour throughout with Additional Illustrations of Models, 89 Additional Lid The Disc Musical Box Pictures Additions to Lists of Models, Patents, Tune Lists & Serial Numbers; Combined Index of Images in the original book and its Supplement.
Compiled and Edited by Kevin McElhone Originally published in 2012 and still available The Disc Musical Box
ISBN 978-0-9557869-6-9
is a compendium of information about Disc Musical Boxes, their Makers and their Music; profusely illustrated in colour throughout with Illustrations of each Disk Musical Box Model, and with Catalogue Scans, Lists of Models, Patents & Tune Lists.
Supplement to
Compiled and Edited by Kevin McElhone
100pp Hard Back ISO A4 format [8.27” . 11.70”; Profusely illustrated in
Patents, Tune Lists & Tuning Scales; A New Section on Trade Cards; Combined Index of Images in the original book and its Supplement.
The Organette Book is a compendium of information about Organettes, their Makers and their Music. Originally published in 2000 but now out of print although second-hand copies are occasionally available in online auctions.
************************************************************************************************************************ For all MBSGB Publications, please refer to the Musical Box Society of Great Britain website for further details including latest availability, discounted prices and information on how to order. -www.mbsgb.org.uk

MECHANICAL MUSIC
Journal of the Musical Box Society International
MECHANICAL MUSIC
Journal of the Musical Box Society International Devoted to All Automatic Musical Instruments
Volume 63, No. 3 May/June 2017
MECHANICAL MUSIC
Journal of the Musical Box Society International Devoted to All Automatic Musical Instruments
Volume 63, No. 1 January/February 2017

CIRCULATION
Mechanical Music is mailed to more than 1,500 members of the Musical Box Society International six (6) times per year.
ALL ADS MUST BE PREPAID
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Devoted to All Automatic Musical Instruments
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Non-members pay a 10% surcharge on the above rates
Display Discounts shown above are calculated as follows:
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• ALL CAPS, italicized and
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• Minimum Charge: $11.
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• Format: See ads for style
(live area) HALF PAGE
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Mechanical Music is printed on 70 lb gloss Email ÿ les to: paper, with a 100 lb gloss cover, sad-mbsi@irondogmedia.com dle-stitched. Trim size is 8.25” x 10.75”.
USPS or Fed Ex to: Artwork is accepted in the following for-Iron Dog Media, LLC mats: PDF, PSD, AI, EPS, TIF. All images 130 Coral Court and colors should be CMYK or Grayscale Pismo Beach, CA 93449 and all fonts should be embedded or converted to outlines. Images should be a minimum of 300 dpi resolution.
Contact MBSI Publisher Russell Kasselman at (253) 228-1634 or editor@mbsi.org

Style “C” with spiral
spring motor.
10 impeccable cuffs.

Fully restored mahogany case and movement.

Mermod Freres, 17” cylinder, 10 tunes.

REGINA 151/2 MUSIC BOX. Mechanism was
THE MART

professionally restored. Bought new combs RESTORED MUSICAL BOXES Offering a from Porter and they have been tuned and
Display Advertising Dimensions and Costs
Dimensions 1 issue 3 issues* 6 issues*
Back Cover 8.75” x 11.25” $600 $540 $510
Inside Covers 8.75” x 11.25” $450 $405 $383
Full Page 7.25” x 9.75” $290 $261 $246
Half Page 7.25” x 4.5” $160 $144 $136
Quarter Page 3.5” x 4.5” $90 $81 $77
Eighth Page 3.5” x 2.125” $50 $45 $43
Add a 10% surcharge to the prices shown above if you are not a member of MBSI.
*Display Discounts shown above are calculated as follows:
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6 consecutive ads 15% Discount

ALL ADS MUST BE PREPAID
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ADVERTISING DEADLINES:

The 1st day of each even month: Feb., Apr., Jun, Aug., Oct. and Dec.
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Errors attributable to Mechanical Music, and of a significant nature, will be corrected in the following issue without charge, upon notification.
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Limit: One ad in each category


Format: See ads for style


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MBSI member’s name must appear in ad


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PLEASE NOTE:
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Mechanical Music
Mechanical Music is mailed to all members at the beginning of every odd month — January, March, May, July, September and November.
MBSI Advertising Statement
It is to be hereby understood that the placing of advertisements by members of the Society in this publication does not constitute nor shall be deemed to constitute any endorsement or approval of the busi.ness practices of advertisers. The Musical Box Society International accepts no liability in connection with any business dealings between members and such advertisers.
It is to be further understood that members are to rely on their own investigation and opinion regarding the reputation and integrity of advertisers in conducting such busi.ness dealings with said advertisers.
variety of antique musical boxes, discs, orphan cylinders, reproducing piano rolls & out of print books about mechanical music. BILL WINEBURGH 973-927-0484 Web: antiquemusicbox.us
THE GOLDEN AGE of AUTOMATIC MUSI.CAL INSTRUMENTS By ART REBLITZ. Award-winning classic that brings historical, musical, and technical information to life with hundreds of large, vivid color photos. We guarantee you’ll find it to be one of the most interesting, inspiring, informative books you have in your library–or your money back. Everyone has been delighted, and some readers have ordered several copies. Get your copy today for $99 plus S/H. MECHANI.CAL MUSIC PRESS-M, 70 Wild Ammonoosuc Rd., Woodsville, NH 03785. (603) 747-2636.
http://www.mechanicalmusicpress.com

installed. Plays as it should. New top repro.duced. Have receipts for work and parts. $2,100.00. Call JON GULBRANDSON, at (763) 923 5748
MILLS VIOLANO #3931 purchased from Mills Novelty Co. in 2003. 100-point restoration done by the most well-known and respected Violano technician in the country. Flawless brown mahogany case. Instrument plays and sounds great. It has been serviced regularly. Plays from collection of 12 recut rolls or MIDI system with over 300 songs on hard drive. Retired, moving, need to sell. Will accept any reasonable offer. Contact RON SCHULTZ, at rpsdds@hvc.rr.com or (845) 386-2773
MARVELS OF MECHANICAL MUSIC -MBSI Video. Fascinating and beautifully-made film which explains the origins of automatic
SUBMIT ADS TO:
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musical instruments, how they are collected and preserved today, and their historic importance, MBSI members and collections are featured. $20 USD. Free shipping in the continental U.S. Additional postage charges apply for other locations. Purchase now at www.mbsi.org

SEEKING PLANS or measurement for a Polyphon lower cabinet for 19.5 size disc. Contact ROD MOORE, rodcrna4u@gmail. com or (336) 337-1165 North Carolina

REPRODUCTION POLYPHON discs; Cata.logs available for 19 5/8”, 22 1/8”, and 24 1/2”. DAVID CORKRUM 5826 Roberts Ave, Oakland, CA 94605-1156, 510-569-3110, www.polyphonmusic.com

Display Advertisers
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(310) 534-1557 Email: MBRCU@AOL.COM. On the Web: www.musicboxrepaircenter.com
Advertise in The Mart
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Fill out the form below and mail to MBSI at 130 Coral Court, Pismo Beach, CA 93449. Call (253) 228.1634 with questions.
3………. Renaissance Antiques 54…….. Music Box Restorations 54…….. Miller Organ Clock 55…….. Golden Gate Chapter 56…….. Stanton Auctions 57…….. Porter Music Box Company 58…….. MBSGB 58…….. American Treasure Tour 59…….. Reeder Pianos 59…….. Cottone Auctions 59…….. Ben’s Player Piano Service 59…….. 4-4Time.com 61…….. Nancy Fratti Music Boxes 66…….. Marty Persky Music Boxes 67…….. Morphy Auctions 68…….. Auction Team Breker

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OFFICERS, TRUSTEES & COMMITTEES of the MUSICAL BOX SOCIETY INTERNATIONAL®
OFFICERS President
Tom Kuehn 4 Williams Woods Mahtomedi, MN 55115 kuehn001@umn.edu
Vice President
David Corkrum 5826 Roberts Avenue Oakland, CA 94605 musikwerke@att.net
Recording Secretary
Linda Birkitt PO Box 541 San Juan Capistrano, CA 92693 scarletpimpernel28@yahoo.com
Treasurer
Edward Kozak 3615 North Campbell Avenue Chicago, IL 60618 ekozak1970@gmail.com
TRUSTEES
Dave Calendine Bob Caletti Ed Cooley Dave Corkrum
G.Wayne Finger Matt Jaro Tom Kuehn Mary Ellen Myers
MBSI FUNDS

COMMITTEES Audit
Edward Cooley, Chair, Trustee Dave Calendine, Trustee Matt Jaro, Trustee
Endowment Committee
Edward Kozak, Treasurer, Chair Edward Cooley, Trustee Dave Calendine, Trustee B Bronson Wayne Wolf
Executive Committee
Tom Kuehn, Chair, President David Corkrum, Vice President Clay Witt, Immediate Past Pres.
G.Wayne Finger, Trustee Mary Ellen Myers, Trustee
Finance Committee
Edward Kozak, Chair, Treasurer Wayne Wolf, Vice Chair David Corkrum, Vice President Edward Cooley, Trustee Peter Both
Marketing Committee
Bob Smith, Chair Dave Calendine, Trustee
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Matt Jaro, Chair, Trustee Judy Caletti Tom Chase Cotton Morlock Rich Poppe
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Chair, TBD Mary Ellen Myers, Trustee,
Southeast Linda Birkitt, Southern California Gary Goldsmith, Snowbelt Christine Hopwood, Golden Gate Julie Morlock, Southeast Rob Pollock, Mid-America Dan Wilson, Piedmont Gerald Yorioka, Northwest Int’l TBD, East Coast TBD, Great Lakes TBD, National Capital TBD, Sunbelt
Museum Committee
Sally Craig, Chair Clay Witt, Immediate Past Pres. Glenn Crater, National Capital Ken Envall, Southern California Julian Grace, Sunbelt Matt Jaro, National Capital Rob Pollock, Mid-America Richard Simpson, East Coast
Museum Sub-Committees
Ohio Operations Rob Pollock

SPECIAL ACTIVITIES Publications Back Issues:
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Dan Wilson, Chair Clay Witt, Immediate Past Pres. Bob Caletti, Golden Gate, Trustee Mary Ellen Myers, Trustee,
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All manuscripts will be subject to editorial review. Committee and the Editorial Staff. are considered to be the author’s personal opinion. Articles submitted for publication may be edited The article will not be published with significant The author may be asked to substantiate his/her or rejected at the discretion of the Publications changes without the author’s approval. All articles statements.
CALENDAR OF EVENTS
Date Event Location Sponsor
Aug. 31-Sept. 5, 2022 Joint MBSI / AMICA Annual Meeting San Mateo, CA Golden Gate Chapter/ AMICA Founding Chapter

When will your chapter meet next? Holding a “virtual meeting?” Let us know! Send in your information by Oct. 1, 2021, for the November/December issue. Don’t hold your questions until the next chapter meeting. Ask them today on our Facebook discussion group
-the Music Box Society Forum.

Please send dates for the Calendar of Events to Russell Kasselman (editor@mbsi.org)
CONTACTS

Administrator Jacque Beeman handles back issues (if available) $6; damaged or issues not received, address changes, MBSI Directory listing changes, credit card charge questions, book orders, status of your membership, membership renewal, membership application, and MBSI Membership Brochures. P.O. Box 10196 Springfield, MO 65808-0196 Phone/Fax (417) 886-8839 jbeeman.mbsi@att.net
Traveling MBSI Display Bill Endlein 21547 NW 154th Pl. High Springs, FL 32643-4519 Phone (386) 454-8359 sembsi@yahoo.com
Regina Certificates: Cost $5. B Bronson Box 154 Dundee, MI 48131 Phone (734) 529-2087 art@d-pcomm.net
Advertising for Mechanical Music Russell Kasselman Iron Dog Media 130 Coral Court Pismo Beach, CA 93449 Phone (253) 228-1634 editor@mbsi.org
CHAPTERS
Snowbelt

Chair: Tracy Tolzmann (651) 674-5149 Dues $10 to Gary Goldsmith 17160 – 245th Avenue Big Lake, MN 55309
Southeast

Chair: Jack Hostetler (352) 633-1942 Dues $5 to Clay Witt 820 Del Rio Way Unit 203 Merritt Island, FL 32953
Museum Donations Sally Craig, 2720 Old Orchard Road Lancaster, PA 17601 Phone (717) 295-9188 rosebud441@juno.com
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CHAPTERS
East Coast
Chair: Elise Low (203) 457-9888 Dues $5 to Roger Wiegand 281 Concord Road Wayland, MA 01778 or pay via PayPal, send to treasurereccmbsi@gmail.com
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Chair: Jonathan Hoyt jenjenhoyt@yahoo.com Dues $5 to Dave Corkrum 5826 Roberts Ave. Oakland, CA 94605
Japan
Chair: Naoki Shibata 81-72986-1169 naotabibito396amb@salsa.ocn.ne.jp Treasurer: Makiko Watanabe makikomakiko62@yahoo.co.jp
Lake Michigan
Chair: Aaron Muller (847) 962-2330 Dues $5 to James Huffer 7930 N. Kildare Skokie, Illinois 60076

Mid-America
Chair: Rob Pollock (937) 508-4984 Dues $10 to Harold Wade 4616 Boneta Road Medina, OH 44256
National Capital
Chair: Matthew Jaro (301) 482-2008 Dues $5 to Florie Hirsch 8917 Wooden Bridge Road Potomac, MD 20854
Northwest International
Chair: Rick Swaney (425) 836-3586 Dues $7.50/person to Kathy Baer 8210 Comox Road Blaine, WA 98230
Piedmont
Temp Chair: Dan Wilson (919) 740-6579 musicboxmac@mac.com Dues $10 to Dan Wilson 4804 Latimer Road Raleigh, NC. 276099
Southern California
Chair: Robin Biggins (310) 377-1472 Dues $10 to Diane Lloyd 1201 Edgeview Drive Cowan Hgts, CA 92705
Sunbelt
Chair: Ray Dickey (713) 467-0349 Dues $10 to Diane Caudill 4585 Felder Road Washington, TX 77880

Copyright 2021 the Musical Box Society International, all rights reserved. Permission to reproduce by any means, in whole or in part, must be obtained in writing from the MBSI Executive Committee and the Editor. Mechanical Music is published in the even months. ISSN 1045-795X
7

Mechanical Music at its Best -Visit www.Mechmusic.com
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Regina 35 w Clock Nelson Wiggen Style 8 Symphonion 25st

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Bacigalupo violinopan barrel 2-seater elephant sofa in theorgan, Model 9, c. 1895 fairground style, c. 1980
Estimate: 5.000 – 7.000 ˜ / Estimate: 2.000 – 2.500 ˜ /$ 5.900 – 8.260
$ 2.360 – 2.950

“Princess”, 2-inch scale model of a Fowler showman’s engine Estimate: 5.000 – 8.000 ˜ / $ 5.900 – 9.440
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Galloper carousel horse, Arthur E. Anderson, Designer & Wood Carver, Bristol, c. 1920 Estimate: 7.000 – 9.000 ˜ / $ 8.260 – 10.620
“Bimbo Box” with mechanical monkeys, Automatenfabrik Bk, Betlinghausen Estimate: 2.500 – 2.500 ˜ / $ 2.950 – 2.950
Fairground working model of a gondola switchback Estimate: 1.200 – 1.800 ˜ / $ 1.415 – 2.120 Unusual horn gramophone Estimate: 1.200 – 1.800 ˜ / $ 1.415 – 2.120
Hupfeld Clavitist electric piano, c. 1910
Estimate: 2.500 – 3.500 ˜ / $ 2.950 – 4.130

Friedrich Heyn Carousel Horse, Caroussel-Pferde und Kunstfiguren Fabrik, Neustadt an der Orla, c 1900 Estimate: 5.000 – 7.000 ˜ / $ 5.900 – 8.260
Book-playing fairground organ by Alfred Bruder, Waldkirch, c. 1928 Estimate: 20.000 – 30.000 ˜ / $ 23.600 – 35.400
…and many more!

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Euro 28.– (Europe) or elsewhere Euro 37.– (approx. US$ 44.– / Overseas)
. Consignments are welcome at any time!
Polyphon Style 104 disc musical box, Polyphon Musikwerke, Leipzig, c. 1899“Buffalo Bill” smoking automaton

Estimate: 6.000 – 8.000 ˜ /

by Gustave Vichy, c. 1890 – The Specialists in »Technical Antiques« –
$ 7.080 – 9.440 Estimate: 7.000 – 9.000 ˜ / P. O. Box 50 11 19, 50971 Koeln/Germany · Tel.: +49 / 2236 / 38 43 40 · Fax: +49 / 2236 / 38 43 430 $ 8.260 – 10.620

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Volume 67, No. 4 July/August 2021

Mechanical Music

Journal of the Musical Box Society International
Devoted to All Automatic Musical Instruments

Volume 67, No. 4 July/August 2021

PuRchAse • sAles • consignment

of Quality Cylinder & Disc Music Boxes, Musical Clocks & Automata

For over forty years we’ve placed fine antiques in collections around the world.
Our reputation has been built upon appreciative buyers and satisfied sellers.
Pictured are a few of the musical antiques in our current and recent inventories.

496 First Street, California 93463 • Ron & Julie Palladino
Open Seven Days a Week 10-6 • 805-452-5700
www.renantiques.com

Visit the charming Danish Village of Solvang, half an hour above Santa Barbara in the beautiful Central Coast Wine Country
RENAISSANCE ANTIQUE S

Renaissance Antiques of solvang

Editor/Publisher

Russell Kasselman

(253) 228-1634

editor@mbsi.org

MBSI Editorial Office:

Iron Dog Media

130 Coral Court

Pismo Beach, CA 93449

editor@mbsi.org

Publications Chair

Bob Caletti

All manuscripts will be subject to editorial
review. Articles submitted for publication may
be edited or rejected at the discretion of the
Publications Committee and the Editorial
Staff. The article will not be published with
significant changes without the author’s
approval. All articles are considered to be the
author’s personal opinion. The author may be
asked to substantiate his/her statements.

Mechanical Music (ISSN 1045-795X) is published by
the Musical Box Society International, 130 Coral Court,
Pismo Beach, CA 93449 six times per year. A Directory
of Members, Museums and Dealers is published
biennially. Domestic subscription rate, $60. Periodicals
postage paid at San Luis Obispo, CA and additional
mailing offices.

Copyright 2021. The Musical Box Society International,
all rights reserved. Mechanical Music
cannot be copied, reproduced or transmitted in
whole or in part in any form whatsoever without
written consent of the Editor and the Executive
Committee.

MEMBERS: SEND ADDRESS CORRECTIONS TO:
MBSI, PO Box 10196,
Springfield, MO 65808-0196
Or, make corrections on the website at www.mbsi.org.

POSTMASTER: SEND ADDRESS CHANGES TO

MBSI, PO Box 10196,
Springfield, MO 65808-0196

Mechanical Music

Journal of the Musical Box Society International

Devoted to All Automatic Musical Instruments

Volume 67, No. 4 July/August 2021

MBSI NEWS
5 President’s Message
7 Outreach Corner

51 In Memoriam

Features

10 Nickel Notes
by Matt Jaro

16 The Braamcamp Clock

29 History of the
Steinkjerpositives

35 Building a Bird Box

39 An Unforgettable Buying
Trip

43 Treasured Memories

48 Bob’s Symphonion

On the Cover

The Braamcamp Clock, restored
and displayed in Museum
Speelklok. Read the story of the
restoration starting on Page 16.

Steinkjerpositives

Strange name, interesting history.
Page 29.

MBSI has replanted
146 trees so far as
part of the Print
ReLeaf program.

Bob’s Symphonion

Sometimes you find “The One” and
simply marvel that it makes its way
to your collection. Page 48.

July/August 2021 MECHANICAL MUSIC 3

MEMBERSHIP APPLICATION MEMBERSHIP APPLICATION
M
M
echanical music is a fascinating hobby! It
appeals to the artist, historian, craftsman, and

musician all at the same time. Play an automatic

musical instrument in a room full of people and all else

will stop as the machine enraptures the audience with the

sparkling melodies of yesteryear!

Mechanical music instruments are any sort of auto

matically-played machine that produces melodic sound

including discs and cylinder music boxes that pluck a steel

comb; orchestrions and organs that engage many instru

ments at once using vacuum and air pressure; player and

reproducing pianos that use variable vacuum to strike piano

wires; phonographs; and self-playing stringed, wind, and

percussion instruments of any kind.

The Musical Box Society International, chartered by the

New York State Board of Regents, is a nonprofit society

dedicated to the enjoyment, study, and preservation of

automatic musical instruments. Founded in 1949, it now

has members around the world, and supports various

educational projects.

Regional chapters and an Annual Meeting held each year
in different cities within the United States enable members
to visit collections, exchange ideas, and attend educational
workshops. Members receive six issues of the journal,
Mechanical Music, which also contains advertising space
for members who wish to buy, sell, and restore mechanical
musical instruments and related items. Members also
receive the biennial MBSI Directory of Members, Museums,
and Dealers.

The only requirements for membership are an interest in
automatic music machines and the desire to share information
about them. And you’ll take pride in knowing you
are contributing to the preservation of these marvelous
examples of bygone craftsmanship.

More Information online at www.MBSI.org, or

Call: (417) 886-8839, or

Email: jbeeman.mbsi@att.net

Copy this page, and give it to a potential new member. Spread the word about MBSI.

Last name First Name Initial

Last Name First Name Initial

Address

City State / Zip Postal Code / Country

Phone Fax E-mail

Sponsor (optional)

Membership Dues

US members (per household)……………………………………….$60
Student Membership $20

(online journal access only)

Canada…………………………………………………………………………$70
Other International………………………………………………………$75

(Add $20 for International air mail.)

Join online: www.mbsi.org/join-mbsi

Check or Money Order Payable to: MBSI Treasurer (US Funds Only)
Mail to: New Member Registration – MBSI
PO Box 10196
Springfield, MO 65808-0196

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Exp. Date CCV

Signature

4 MECHANICAL MUSIC July/August 2021

By Tom Kuehn

MBSI President

The President’s desk has been
relatively quiet the past two months,
a welcome respite from all the additional
activity necessitated by the
pandemic during the past year and a
half. So, I will be brief.

My family has made arrangements
to attend the 2021 MBSI Annual Meeting
in Ft. Myers, FL. Members of the
Southeast Chapter have been working
diligently over the past several years
to make this year’s meeting really
special. Those of you who have never
attended an annual meeting should
know you may be missing one of the
best benefits of membership in this
society. The meetings are fun, informative,
part holiday and part reunion
with an opportunity to make and
renew friendships. If you have not
had an occasion to smile for a while,
plan to attend the meeting. I assure
you, it will not disappoint.

Those of us in the U.S. are experiencing
what should be the end of the
COVID pandemic in our country. I
realize this is not the case everywhere.
Travel restrictions and other impediments
may prevent many of our
international members who routinely
attend our meetings from participating
this year. Hopefully this will be the
last year those hurdles exist.

I hope all of you are having a look forward to seeing many of you in
relaxed and enjoyable summer and I person in Ft. Myers.

Welcome new members!
Steve & Diane EpsteinApril 2021
Columbia, MO
James & Angela Mayer Dennis Tynes
St Louis, MO San Diego, CA
May 2021 Dave Menna
Scarsdale, NY
Lynn Meyer Sponsor: Joe Moffitt
Macomb, MI
Matthew Bjork & Lisa Voth
Davis, CA
Richard & Kaye Moyer
Anaheim, CA
Richard Parker
Walla Walla, WA
Andrew Warner
Harvard, MA

MBSI MEMBERSHIP DRIVE
EACH ONE/REACH ONE NEW MEMBER

MBSI is always interested in increasing its membership and is pleased to offer new members a $15
discount off their rst year’s membership. You are considered a new member if you have not been a
member in the past three years. This discount is also available on our website, www.mbsi.org.

Current MBSI members who sponsor a new member will receive a $5 discount off their next year’s
MBSI membership renewal for each sponsorship. Attach a copy of the discount voucher below to a
copy of the membership application form on Page 4 of this issue of Mechanical Music. Place your
name as “sponsor” on the application form.

Please make copies of these forms as needed and send the completed forms with checks to the MBSI
administrator at the address listed below.



★★
®
(INTERNATIONAL)
ORGANIZED IN 1949
DEVOTED TO ALL MECHANICAL MUSICAL INSTRUMENTS


★★
®
(INTERNATIONAL)
ORGANIZED IN 1949
DEVOTED TO ALL MECHANICAL MUSICAL INSTRUMENTS
Musical Box Society International
P.O. Box 10196
Springeld, MO 65808-0196
Phone/Fax: (417) 886-8839
Musical Box Society International
P.O. Box 10196
Springeld, MO 65808-0196
Phone/Fax: (417) 886-8839
Dues Voucher –$15
New U.S. members may join MBSI for one year at $45 (instead
of $60); Canadians $55 (instead of $70; and, other International
members at $60 (instead of $75). This certicate must accom-
pany payment and a copy of the completed membership
application from page 4 of this issue of Mechanical Music.
New Member Name(s):
Authorized by MBSI Administrator
NEW MEMBER
GIFT CERTIFICATE
New members are those who have never been members of MBSI
or those who have not been members for three years prior to
submission of this voucher.
New members are those who have never
been members of MBSI or those who have
not been members for three years prior to
submission of this certicate.

Gift Membership Name

Address, City, State, ZIP
Phone Email
Sponsor

SPECIAL OFFER: Purchase one or more rst-year MBSI gift
memberships at $45 each U.S., $55 Canadian, or $60 other International
and you will receive $5 off your next year’s MBSI membership
renewal for each “New Member” gift.

Please mail this form together with your check made payable to “MBSI” to the MBSI Administrator at the address listed
above. Memberships are $45 for U.S. residents, $55 for Canadian residents, and $60 for other International residents.

Outreach Corner Outreach Corner
A Special Exhibit . . . during COVID

If you can’t go to the show, bring it to you!

By Mary Ellen Myers

Special Exhibits Committee Chair

Year 2020 dragged on at a snail’s
pace. Folks (especially those sharing
our condo address) were desirous
of interesting, enjoyable yet safe,
live entertainment during this time
of social isolation. Neighbors and
friends talked of interests and hobbies
and how they missed the normalcy of
engaging in these. Could this be an
opportune time to introduce folks to
mechanical music?

As a background, our second home
(hopefully to eventually become our
primary home), in Sarasota, FL, is
center stage to many professional
artistic venues, including productions
of the Ringling School of Art,
the Sarasota Ballet Company, the
Sarasota Orchestra, the Sarasota
Opera Company, many museums,
live theater arts, and, of course, the
Circus. Area colleges also focus on
the arts and provide student entertainment.
Many retirees, especially those
from the north, have chosen this area
for continued enrichment. The onset
and intensity of the COVID Pandemic
canceled all public performances and
proclaimed an indefinite furlough
pending the status of the pandemic. As
a result, area residents became hungry
for entertainment of an artistic nature,
while being extremely cautious in
all health and safety matters. Some
programs were privately streamed
over the internet but it was just not
the same as being there amongst a live
audience. What was needed was live,
in-person programs.

Creativity was needed to provide
social yet safe activities in our 69-unit
condo community. We all seemed to
be craving something stimulating,
interesting yet free of concern. As a

A promotional table set up in the condo common area to advertise the show.

A cylinder music box from Wayne and Mary Ellen Myers’ collection demonstrated
during the show.

Condo Social Committee planner, I pandemic imposed social restrictions.
had considered a mechanical music I floated the idea around a bit, without
exhibit in our newly-renovated condo much interest. (The community is an
common-area in compliance with over-fifty group, very conscious of

July/August 2021 MECHANICAL MUSIC 7

Advertising is important. A simple sign in the condo lobby Flyers were made available to residents of the condo to gauge
attracted attention when it was clear seating would be limited. interest and control the number of attendees.

everything and anything safety.) Being
a retired healthcare professional, safety
was my primary objective as well.

I sent out flyers of introduction and
questionnaires regarding interests,
specifying that events would only
happen if we could guarantee compliance
with COVID mandates. Still, I
received mediocre interest in return.
Lastly, I sent out specifics about
exactly how an event like this would
be accomplished, displaying sign-ups
and charts for limited seating. Something
about the word limited proved
enticing to those reading my advertisements.
A few days later, every spot
was filled! I set the show date close to
St. Paddy’s Day, so green refreshments

were also offered in a safe manner.

Food does draw interest!

On Mar. 14, 2021, the show did go on.

The history and science of
mechanical music and instrument
demonstrations were presented five
times during the day, each session
lasting about one hour. We coined
the phrase “Home Entertainment of
bygone years — from Inside to Out.”
Instruments demonstrated included
a cylinder box, and two kinds of disc
players for the in-home part. A roller
organ (aka preacher’s organ) and a
Taylor street organ brought mechanical
music out of the home. A table of
other curiosities, including past MBSI
table favors, was also on display.

Wayne Myers, Sally Craig and I
were the presenters explaining and
demonstrating each instrument.
Audience members were invited to
be organ grinders for a few minutes.
MBSI brochures were made available.
Two prizes (orphan music boxes from
a bygone convention) were awarded
at the end of the day.

This was a fun and satisfying experience
for the presenters and audience.
Hopefully there will never be a need
to take such rigid safety precautions
again. I do apologize that no photos of
the actual presentation are available.
We were all too busy conducting the
show that day! The best news to come
out of all of this? No one got COVID!

Music is nothing unless it is shared

8 MECHANICAL MUSIC July/August 2021

Participants were invited to become organ crankers on this
Taylor street organ. A roller organ demonstrated during the show.

A Molinari monkey organ that became part of the show. Visitors saw and heard this disc box during the presentation.

July/August 2021 MECHANICAL MUSIC 9

Nickel Notes

By Matthew Jaro

The restoration of Seeburg K #57046

It was a little over six years ago
when I thought I could squeeze one
more nickelodeon into my music
room. The question was, what should
I get? I already had a Seeburg K
with xylophone, a Nelson-Wiggen
4X restored by David Ramey, Jr.
(see Mechanical Music, November/
December 2019, or Vol. 50, No. 5 of
the AMICA Bulletin), a Seeburg G, a
Seeburg H (see Mechanical Music,
July/August 2016, or Vol. 47, No. 3 of
the AMICA Bulletin), a Wurlitzer 153
Band Organ and a Chickering Ampico
A piano.

Remember, I really like the music,
so a plentiful supply of rolls was
important to me. The Link machines
have wonderful arrangements, but
changing rolls is difficult and I change
rolls all the time. Cremona machines
are wonderful, but M rolls are relatively
hard to obtain.

I’ve always loved the Wurlitzer
CX which uses five-tune APP rolls. I
thought seriously about this machine,
but then I realized that I would have
to get all available rolls, since I’m a
real roll addict. My house is already
overflowing with rolls, and I really
don’t have room for another large set
of rolls. I think there are thousands of
APP rolls. For the same reason an O
machine, like the Coinola SO, would
be impractical.

Then I hit upon the idea of getting
a Seeburg K machine with pipes. I
already have a large A roll collection,
so I wouldn’t have to buy a bunch of
rolls, and it would be a completely

different sound from my K with
xylophone.

As luck would have it, Dave Ramey,
Jr.’s mother had such a machine. It
originally belonged to Dave Ramey,
Sr. who bought it years ago for his
personal collection. It had a set of
flute pipes, but Dave, Sr. had a set of
violin pipes made by Bruce Newman.
So here I am presented with the idea
of owning a machine with two sets of
interchangeable pipes. I could choose
the sound I liked!! Unfortunately for
us all, Dave, Sr. died before he could
restore this machine.

I bought the machine from Dave,
Jr.’s mother and since it was already
in Dave, Jr.’s shop, I got on his list

of projects to do. Dave, Jr.’s work on
my Nelson-Wiggen 4-X machine was
so incredibly great, that I was more
than happy to have him restore this
machine, too.

So here I am, embarking on another
adventure!

Again, there was a lot to do in
order to restore a machine. I like my
machines to look like they just came
out of the Seeburg factory. The case
should look new, and the parts should
be shiny. The machine should sound
like it was brand new.

This machine dates from 1914 and
has the rare Dancing Girl art glass and
the old gate-post coin accumulator.
The stained glass did not have the

Decals used to restore the faces of the dancing girls in the art glass.

10 MECHANICAL MUSIC July/August 2021

July/August 2021 MECHANICAL MUSIC 11

The piano action before restoration. The piano action after restoration.

The gatepost coin accumulator before restoration.

The gatepost coin accumulator after restoration.

faces on the dancing girls (they were Restore Cabinet • Replace plating or clean and age
just blank) and several pieces were • Patch veneer on sides and lid hardware
the wrong color. Decals had to be • Replace veneer on toes and • Restore art glass with decals
made in order to restore the faces. In bottom stringer
addition, work needed to be done on • Fabricate new bottom to replace Restore Piano
the trim. splintered/warped original • Patch and refinish soundboard

The following is a list of the tasks • Supply lock and key • Install new tuning pins
performed (other than the stained • Install new casters • Install new strings
glass): • Refinish cabinet • Refinish piano plate

12 MECHANICAL MUSIC July/August 2021

• Replace plating on hardware
• Clean and rebuild action wippens
• Install new butts and hammers
• Install new damper felts
• Fabricate and install original style
mandolin rail and mechanism
Restore Electric Components

• Restore coin mechanism
• Fabricate coin collection box and
housing
• Replace plating on hardware
• Install relay and cover (lessens
wear on coin mech contacts)
• Fabricate spring motor base
• Replace wiring of hanging socket
Restore Pipe chest

• Replace all gaskets
• Replace all coverings
• Fabricate new pneumatic boards
• Refinish components
• Clean pipes
Restore Piano Stack

• Replace all valve pouches and
valve face leathers
• Replace all gaskets
• Fabricate new pneumatic boards
• Replace all coverings
• Refinish components
Restore Vacuum/Pressure Pump

• Replace outer coverings with
laminated leather
• Make and install new inner and
outer flap valves
• Refinish pump body
• Replace plating of hardware
• Install new friction drive tire
• Change how pump mounts to
channel deck for easy removal
Restore Music Roll Frame

• Clean mechanism
• Clean and polish tracker bar
• Restore rewind/play unit
• Replace rubber tubing
• Make and install missing tubing
cover
Restore other Pneumatic
Components

• Replace all valve pouches and
valve face leathers
• Replace all gaskets
• Replace all coverings
• Make and install missing pedal
The interior of the machine before restoration.

The interior after restoration.

hardware collection at Svoboda’s Nickelodeon

• Supply original coin slide entry Tavern and Museum. Around 1970,
• Replace rubber tubing Dave, Sr. began a full-time restoration
business. Dave trained a number of
Dave Ramey, Sr. started receiving skilled craftsmen. He introduced the
his automatic music education in 1955 Banjo-Orchestra in 1994 and the D.C.
while maintaining the nickelodeon Ramey Piano Company has since sold

July/August 2021 MECHANICAL MUSIC 13

The pump before restoration.

The template for new pump leather with stiffeners.

many units. Dave Ramey, Sr. passed away in July 2006. His
son started in the family business full time in 1986 after
years of working after school and summers alongside his
father. Dustin Hott worked with Dave and he did much of
the piano work for the restoration project.

One fine day, Dave, Jr. pulled up to my house with
my brand-new (old) Seeburg K. If I ordered one from
Seeburg, it couldn’t have looked better. Can you imagine
taking a wreck of a machine and creating something truly
wonderful?

It’s been several years now, and I can’t stop playing it. I’m
sticking to the violin pipes for now since I like the sound
better than that of the flute, but I can always change.

Dave Ramey, Jr. can be reached at dcramey@dcramey.
com and his phone is (708) 602-3961. Visit his website
dcramey.com.

The spool frame before (top photo) and restored to a like-new
condition (bottom photo).

Email Matt Jaro at mjaro@verizon.net if you would like any
information about style “A”, “G”, “4X”, “H” or “O” rolls. Also,
comments and suggestions for this column will be appreciated.

Reprinted with permission of the author and The Automatic
Musical Instrument Collectors’ Association (AMICA). Originally
printed in the November-December 2015 issue of The
AMICA Bulletin.

14 MECHANICAL MUSIC July/August 2021

Many, many valves were cleaned and
restored during the process of renewing
the Seeburg K.

WE WANT YOUR
STORY!
Every mechanical musical
instrument has a tale to tell.
Share the history of people
who owned your instrument
before you, or the story of its
restoration, or just what makes
it an interesting piece. Send
stories via email to
editor@mbsi.org, or
mail your story to:
130 Coral Court,
Pismo Beach, CA 93449
New strings help make the piano sound like it just came off the factory floor.

More of the valve work in progress.

July/August 2021 MECHANICAL MUSIC 15

The

16 MECHANICAL MUSIC July/August 2021

Braamcamp Clock

In September 2016, a long-
cherished wish came true for
the Dutch Museum Speelklok
in Utrecht, Netherlands. With
the help of some donations and
foundations, the director of
Speelklok, Marian van Dijk, and
the head of the collection, Anne-
Sophie van Leeuwen, were able to
acquire the so-called “Braamcamp
clock” at a Sotheby’s auction in
Paris, France. The purchase of this
prestigious flute clock also marked
its return to Holland, where it
had once been part of the rich
collection of fine and applied arts
of the merchant Gerrit Braamcamp
(1699–1771) in the late 18th century.

Reprinted with permission of Das Mechanische
Musikinstrument and the Gesellschaft für Selbstspielende
Musikinstrumente e.V. (German Society for Self-Playing
Musical Instruments)

Editor’s note from Das Mechanische Musikinstrument:

In the newsletter of Museum Speelklok
I read the account of an employee of
the Rijksmuseum, in Amsterdam, which
concerned the restoration of the so-called
“Braamcamp Clock.” The article was available
in English, but it was so exciting that I asked
the author, Tirza Mol, if I could translate it into
German and publish it in Das Mechanische
Musikinstrument. Tirza emailed me back that
she wanted to discuss it first with her boss, the
head of the furniture restoration department at
the Rijksmuseum. I then received the following
report on the restoration, which I have
transcribed from English in consultation with
those involved. First, a word about Charles
Clay and the clock, whose purchase was by no
means as unspectacular as our authors’ text
suggests. The clock was sold at auction on
Sept. 28, 2016, at the Sotheby’s auction house
in Paris, France, and came from the collection
of a well-known French collector, Robert de
Balkany. It was bought by Museum Speelklok
for the remarkable price of 867,000 euros. This
set a world record for the price of a clock made
by Charles Clay. At the time the clock was
made, England, and London in particular, was
the center of the clockmaking world. Clay was
a purveyor to the court of the English crown
and a contemporary of Thomas Tompion and
George Graham, the absolute grand masters of
English clockmaking.

Thanks to the Authors’ collective which
consisted of Tirza Mol, Paul van Duin, Duncan
Bull from Rijksmuseum Amsterdam and
Anne-Sophie van Leeuwen, Marieke Lefeber-
Morsman, Erwin Roubal and Tristan Budel
from Museum Speelklok, Utrecht.

All photographs are courtesy of Museum
Speelklok, Utrecht, Netherlands.

— Uwe Gernert
July/August 2021 MECHANICAL MUSIC 17

The clock was probably made in the
late 1730s by Charles Clay, a London
master clockmaker who was at the
time a member of His Majesty’s Board
of Works as a court clockmaker. He
held that position until a few years
before his death in 1740. Because of
its sophisticated musical mechanism,
the acquisition of the Braamcamp
clock had always been a heartfelt wish
of Jan Jaap Haspels during his time as
director of Museum Speelklok from
1970 to 2006. When the museum celebrated
its 50th anniversary in 2006, the
monumental clock was the highlight
of the anniversary exhibition titled
Royal Music Machines.

Made of oak, the overman-high
furniture of the Braamcamp clock is
veneered with mahogany in the lower
part and ebony in the upper part. The
case houses a clockwork, a weight-
driven organ movement, and a large
musical cylinder 340 millimeters in
diameter. When the clock and organ
movement were originally assembled
into the case, it must have been
discovered that the two parts did not
really fit together. At different places
in the clock and organ movement,
it’s obvious that interventions took
place to remedy this situation. These
interventions do not all seem to have
been really optimal and significantly
affected the clock’s construction.
The ornaments consist of fire-gilded
bronze decorations and cast brass
elements. The side and the rear arched
windows of the upper part are also
filled with “ajour” work made of fire-
gilded bronze, the openings of which
are covered with red fabric from the
back.

The movement

The first thing restorers noticed
were two small, closed openings on
the clock dial. These were probably
intended as holes for winding the
clock, but when the clock came into the
possession of Museum Speelklok, the
movement was being wound through
openings in the side parts of the case.
It was surmised that the reason the
openings in the dial were closed had
to do with the enormous effort necessary
to wind the clock through the
dial. In order to do this, it would have

A drawing of Gerrit Braamcamp.

required the entire, huge upper part
of the case to be pushed completely
upwards and held there while the
clock was wound. Someone may once
have considered putting a door in the
upper part of the case to assist with
the winding, but had such a door been
installed, it would have hidden part
of the magnificent ornamentation
from view, and that would have been
highly undesirable. Putting smaller
openings on the sides of the upper
part of the case and employing angular
gears attached to the shafts of the
movement so that the clock could be
wound without removing the case was
clearly a better solution for the person
responsible for the modification. The
angular winding gears, however, put
a different load on the movement’s
bearings than the original mechanism
could tolerate and ended up causing
some corresponding damage. After a
thorough examination, it was decided
that the movement and its winding
method should be restored to the
original condition. For this purpose,
the original winding holes on the dial
were reopened, the added parts of the
winding system were removed, and
thus the complete winding system
was restored to its original form.

Also, of course, the damage
caused to the movement itself had
to be repaired. The forces applied
by the angular gears in the winding

The two padded wooden blocks used to
hold the clock casing high enough to be
able to wind the mechanism.

mechanism had caused a crack in one
of the axles. This crack was milled
out and refilled with iron. Holes
were drilled in the front plate of the
movement and in the corresponding
shafts to be able to attach the earlier
modification. All of these holes were
also resealed. The worn, out-of-round
bearing bores were replaced, the
shafts were re-turned to size, and the
cones were polished. The contact
patterns of the gears were no longer
suitable due to the changed positions
of the winding mechanism, and the
meshing of the gears was thus no
longer guaranteed. This was remedied
by concavely re-milling the teeth of
the corresponding gears, thus restoring
a suitable contact pattern.

The sliding case/cover was also
restored to its original state. Now, to
wind the movement, the entire upper
part of the case has to be pushed up
about 30 centimeters. The original
owner likely had servants and therefore
could marshal enough manpower
to do this regularly, but today it is
much harder to find people willing
to assist with this, not only for the

18 MECHANICAL MUSIC July/August 2021

The drawing for the restoration
of the drive mechanism
July/August 2021 MECHANICAL MUSIC 19

physical labor involved but also they
fear dropping the case, or otherwise
damaging anything in the clock. There
is no fixture in the case that holds the
top in this position, so we now make
use of two padded wooden blocks,
which are slid under the top to hold
it in place while the clock is wound.
In the base cabinet under the clock,
there is enough storage space to hold
these blocks and the winding keys.

The dial is housed in the front round
arch but is relatively small with a
diameter of 15 centimeters. This dial
is embedded in a large copper plate,
artfully decorated with sculptural
elements in front of an oil painting
of Apollo and the Muses on Mount
Parnassus with Minerva. The painting
can almost certainly be attributed to
the Venetian painter Jacopo Amigoni
(ca. 1685–1752). The front of the clock
is framed by a bas-relief of fire-gilded
bronze, intended to create the impression
of three-dimensional architecture
and consisting of two obelisks, each
crowned with a vase, and two other
ornate vases. In high relief are the
figures of Apollo and Diana in cast
silver. These were made by John
Michael Rysbrack (1694–1770).
Rysbrack is also responsible for the
vividly depicted group representing
the “Four Arts” below the figures,
which are also cast in silver as high
reliefs.

We encounter Rysbrack’s reliefs on a
whole series of Clay’s musical clocks,
while Amigoni is also responsible for
painting all four sides of Clay’s probably
most accomplished clock on the
theme of “The Four Great Monarchies
of the World,” now part of the British
Royal Collection and on display at
Kensington Palace. Rysbrack and
Amigoni, as leading artistic figures
of the time, were naturally at home
in London’s musical world, so Clay’s
choice to commission them to design
it to complement Handel’s music is
not surprising.

Repertoire

The music automaton consists of
an organ that plays 10 different melodies,
probably all by George Frideric
Handel (1685–1759). Handel (from
Halle), Amigoni (from Naples) and

Detail of the dial face of the
Braamcamp Clock showing the
bronze sculptures on either corner,
cast-silver figures inset and finally
an oil painting of Apollo and the
Muses on Mount Parnassus with
Minerva in the background that
creates a three-dimensional artwork
effect.

At right and facing page: Details of
the bellows section and the flute
ranks with pinned cylinder featuring
10 tunes.

20 MECHANICAL MUSIC July/August 2021

July/August 2021 MECHANICAL MUSIC 21

Rysbrack (from Antwerp) were the
three main figures of London’s cultural
life in the first half of the 18th century
and as such were familiar with the
most popular and fashionable art form
of the time, Italian opera. As the most
famous musician of the time, Handel
was naturally the first choice to create
the music for such an extravagant
and expensive piece as Clay’s clock,
and it could be possible that he was
responsible for arranging his melodies
specifically for this work, but equally
for Clay’s other organ clocks.

The range of the flute organ is quite
extensive:

c’-d-e-f-fis-g-a-bes-b-c”-cis-d-dis-ef-
fis-g-gis-a-bes-b-c’’’

Every three hours the organ plays a
melody. The first piece on the cylinder
is the “Minuet from the Overture to
Arianna.” The opera “Arianna” was
first performed in 1734. In order to
make this minuet playable for the
organ work of the clock, the arranger
shortened it and omitted the middle
register. Five of the other melodies
in the repertoire have not (yet)
been identified. There is a distinct
possibility that one or the other of
these melodies may have originally
belonged to another organ clock
repertoire. Three of these five pieces
are also found on another clock by
Charles Clay, which is preserved in
Windsor Castle and dated to a year of
construction around 1739.

To make minor adjustments to the
keys of the organ movement means
simply removing a smaller part of
the upper section. To tune the organ
movement, however, the upper case
must be removed completely.

This is a time-consuming operation.
In order to get the case to a reasonable
working height, formwork panels
must be set up on scaffolding around
the clock and even then, lifting the
case is difficult because the lower
cabinet is still quite wide and anyone
recruited for the work would have to
lean their upper bodies over the clock
as they lifted. To solve this problem, a
supporting frame of four additionally
clad and interconnected wooden
beams was constructed. Probably

These photos show the scale of the clock plus the scaffolding and padded crossbar
mechanism that are used to remove the case when the instrument must be tuned.

22 MECHANICAL MUSIC July/August 2021

The top photo shows a cast silver figurine
before restoration and the photo
below is after. The third photo shows
the silver cast image of Diana with her
quiver that had been missing when the
museum took possession of the clock.
The quiver was reconstructed using old
photos of the Braamcamp clock. The
bottom photo shows the scale of the
quiver compared to a human hand. The
attention to detail during the restoration
was a high priority.

The organ work undergoing restoration at Museum Speelklok.

July/August 2021 MECHANICAL MUSIC 23

a similar construction was used in
earlier times.

In front of and behind the organ
movement, there are two solid brass
arches that serve as guides for the
upper part and ensure that it remains
in position and does not collide with
the organ movement. Additionally,
these arches support the dial and give
the movement some rigidity. Similar
construction has not yet been found
on other Clay movements, so it seems
to be a design specifically done for
this clock.

The first owner of the clock is
unknown, it probably came into the
possession of Gerrit Braamcamp in
Amsterdam in 1759. After his death,
the clock was sold at auction and
acquired by members of a branch of
the Braamcamp family that had settled
in Portugal. The clock was passed
through several collections there,
including that of the Infanta Maria
Isabel, and remained in Portugal until
the 20th century. Around 1972, the
clock was purchased by the Parisian
collector Robert de Balkany and then
it passed into the hands of Museum
Speelklok in 2016.

The restoration of the case and
its base, as well as the ornamental
elements, was supervised by
the restoration workshops of the
Rijksmuseum shortly after it was
purchased. Rijksmuseum employees
possessed the necessary experience
and restoration expertise not only in
the field of woodwork, but also for the
metalwork and oil painting. Although
at first glance the furniture appeared
to be in quite good condition, a closer
look revealed some major challenges.

Closer inspection revealed that not
only was the mahogany veneer loose
and standing out from the wooden
base, but there were also cracks
and dents in both the veneer and the
carved mahogany elements. The solid
wood of both the side panels and the
base had cracks, and in these cracked
areas the veneer had also cracked and
was blistering. Color changes were
also discovered in the veneer along
these cracks.

The fire-gilded bronzes and silver
and brass decorations were dirty and
partially corroded. Diana’s quiver cast

A detail shot of the base showing the veneer pulling away from the wood.

in silver, a characteristic attribute
of the goddess of the hunt, had been
lost, and the red fabric behind the
openwork of the upper part was loose,
faded and damaged. The surface of the
painting was dirty and also showed
damage caused by the peeling of oil
paint from the copper background.

Although the lacquer coating on
the base was in reasonably good
condition, the high gloss and reddish
tint were both found to be distracting.
Light reflections caused by the high-
gloss finish prevented the enjoyment
of seeing the subtle nuances of the
mahogany veneer’s grain. Due to
the thick application of the varnish,
the carvings also suffered, their
edges looking far too soft as a result.
Examination with ultraviolet light in
conjunction with pyrolysis gas chromatography
analysis revealed that the
high gloss varnish was a shellac that
had been applied after the original
finish which was a mixture of different
resins such as pine, limb cypress, shellac
and larch dissolved in turpentine
had been removed. In the areas of
the corpus that are more difficult to
reach, there were still remnants of this
mixture first used, which fluoresced
greenish under ultraviolet irradiation.
Scrape marks on the veneer proved
that the turpentine resins had been
mechanically removed.

Museum Speelklok wanted to have
the case restored to a condition that
matched the original, so that the original
condition would be visible again
and the high quality of the materials
and craftsmanship would be evident.
The high-gloss varnish on the base
was thus completely removed with

solvents. Several layers of beeswax
were then applied. The silky patina
of the beeswax, the use of which was
common practice in the first half of the
18th century, now allows one to experience
the three-dimensional effects
of the grain of the mahogany. Cracks
and depressions in the veneer and the
solid wood body were filled and loose
parts were glued back in place.

After consultations with the
Rijksmuseum’s metal conservation
department, it was decided to clean
all metal decorations and polish the
pieces to a soft shine. The fire-gilded
bronzes were cleaned and given a
transparent varnish to protect them
from corrosion in the future.

A replacement was created in silver
casting for Diana’s lost quiver, using
old photographs of the Braamcamp
clock as a pattern.

The painting restoration workshop
of the Rijksmuseum examined the
painted dial with infrared and ultraviolet
light. The surface of the painting
was cleaned and damaged areas were
repaired.

The fabric, which the textile
conservation conservators at the
Rijksmuseum identified as a modern
synthetic fabric, was removed and
replaced with a silk fabric dyed to the
appropriate red hue.

The restoration of the Braamcamp
clock is an outstanding example of
interdisciplinary collaboration. On
behalf of the case, Paul van Duin,
head of furniture restoration at the
Rijksmuseum, coordinated the work
and supervised the project. Furniture
restorer Tirza Mol was commissioned
to carry out the necessary restoration

24 MECHANICAL MUSIC July/August 2021

Restorers replace synthetic fabric with dyed silk.

Photos showing various pieces of
the wind chest during the restoration
The channels of the wind chest, some of which had to be delicately repaired. process.

July/August 2021 MECHANICAL MUSIC 25

work. A freelance textile restorer,
Anja Semts, dyed and mounted the
silk fabric. The painting was worked
on by painting conservator Giulia De
Vivo, while metal conservator Arie
Pappot worked with Tirza Mol on the
reconstruction of Diana’s quiver. The
high level of art historical expertise of
the Rijksmuseum curator Duncan Bull
and Anne-Sophie van Leeuwen helped
to provide a better understanding of
the context in which the clock was
created in London in the 18th century.

The organ work

On the sides of the organ work it is
easy to see that the original plan for
installation was changed. There are
holes in the wood, which are unusable
because the pumping mechanism for
the bellows is now placed there. In
the lowest part of the organ work is
the bellows system. This part was in
an extremely bad condition. After the
entire bellows system was incorporated
into the sides of the wood, it had
become very thin and compromised
in structure. Since this part was actually
impossible to restore, Museum
Speelklok restoration experts copied
and refinished this piece. The part of
the air supply to the windchest and
the fastening of the bolts, on the other
hand, was preserved.

The scoops on the bellows clearly
show that the intake valves were
probably mounted close to the hinge
point of the bellows in the past. These
wooden valves are glued onto a frame
and thus lie somewhat elevated above
the respective scoop bellows. The
result was that they hit the upper
bearing of the bellows and thus could
only function poorly. The cracks have
been eliminated and the bellows have
also been restored. Paper was glued
to the outer and inner sides to ensure
optimal tightness of the scoops. Bone
glue was used for bonding so that
the joints can be separated again if
necessary.

In the middle part of the organ
movement is the wind chest. The
board on which the wind chest is
fixed, and where the air supply of the
magazine bellows is also located, was
broken in two places. This board was
restored and sealed. It was noticeable

A side view of the clock showing the base that houses the pumping mechanism and
gears that drive the cylinder.

that the air supply was not accomplished
through a large opening, as
was common and usual, but through
a grating with several slits that could
be interrupted by a pull. Museum
staff wondered what could have been
the function of this draught. Might
it have been to interrupt the music?
After all, this could be done in other,
simpler ways, such as shutting off
all the stops or blocking the impeller
on the centrifugal governor. Another
idea for the arrangement was that
the intended effect of this pull was to
cause a tremolo in the tone, although

a tremulant for a mechanical organ
of that time is highly unlikely. In any
case, this pull never worked, mainly
because of the lack of space when the
organ was made.

The windchest itself was in good
condition and was glued out with bone
glue on the inside as a precaution to
prevent it from blowing through into
other channels or chambers in each
case. The old leather of the valves
was renewed and the valves were
readjusted in their old place.

The top part houses the organ pipes
and the gear train for the organ and

26 MECHANICAL MUSIC July/August 2021

An unusual brass strip found
on the cylinder to ensure all

keys are briefly lifted before the
mechanism is set in motion. It
is thought that this allows air
to fill the pipes of the organ
and helps to ensure that the
wind-pressure is correct before
play starts.

At far right is another view of
the cylinder with all keys in
place and ready to play.

Smartphone users can scan the QR code to watch a video

about the restoration on YouTube.

clockwork. The arrangement of the
pipes was changed at the time of origin
to make room for the clockwork. This
can be clearly seen in the channels in
the board on which the organ pipes
are placed; this was actually longer.
The board itself was in quite good
condition, but the channels had to be
worked on. Because some of the ducts
cross each other, they were sealed
against each other with leather in an
earlier restoration. This leather had
disintegrated over the years, allowing
air to cross between these channels.
With steam and a lot of patience, we
replaced this leather. The holes were
again sealed with bone glue. By using
the bone glue, this intervention in the
original substance can also be easily
reversed.

This was also true for the thin and
long channels that supply the pipes of
the 4-inch reed stop with air. The wood
between these channels is extremely
thin and probably wood has already
broken out of these channels during

manufacturing. In addition, due to
the aforementioned lack of space in
the organ, these pipes were placed
in a different position than originally
intended. Therefore, the channels
were lengthened, and in the process,
more parts of the wood broke away.
The missing parts were replaced, and
thin leather was inserted over the
cracks with bone glue.

The organ clock has four pipe
registers whose state of preservation
varied greatly. The small pipes in the
4-inch reed flute stop were almost
all clogged with dirt, and many of
the glue joints in the pipework were
no longer tight. The 8-inch reed flute
stop was in reasonably good condition,
only the stoppers needed to be
re-leathered, and the pipes needed
tuning. The formerly open 8-inch
pipe stop had been dacked and was
in exceedingly poor condition. In a
previous restoration, the pipes of this
stop were sawed off to make a dacked
stop. We removed the stoppers and

made extensions for each of the pipes.
Then the pipes were sawed to the
correct length at the extensions and
tuned. Now this stop is again a stop
with open pipes. The fourth register
again consisted of a row of 8-inch
dacked pipes. It was noticeable that
these were made of a different wood
than the rest of the pipes. The pipes
were restored, and all the stoppers
were re-leathered.

The barrel/cylinder, keys,
and stickers

The large brass barrel is located
above the movement. In the course
of its life, it was probably polished
several times with brass polish. Thus,
quite a lot of polish got left between
the large number of pins and bridges.
Unfortunately, polish has an abrasive
effect because it consists largely of
chalk. This chalk, accumulated over
the centuries, caused abrasion on the
keys as well as the pins and bridges.
Now and then, the chalk then also fell

July/August 2021 MECHANICAL MUSIC 27

into the movement to cause further
damage. Restorers used benzine,
paintbrushes and brushes to remove
the remains of the cleaning agent.

One unusual feature found during
the restoration was a brass strip in
the lane of the barrel. This brass strip
ensures that, shortly before the entire
playing mechanism is set in motion,
all keys are briefly lifted. This makes
it possible to adjust all keys at the
same time. This could be intended to
ensure that the music won’t play too
legato, but also not too staccato. The
fine-tuning doesn’t have to be done on
the basis of the pins and bridges on
the barrel anymore.

Another, additional explanation for
this device could be that it helped
the flywheel and thus the rest of the
mechanics to come up to the necessary
circulation speed. When the flywheel
starts to rotate, the bellows coupled to
it are also set in motion, thus building
up the necessary wind in the organ. So,
in order to get the flywheel going from
a standstill, it makes perfect sense to
let the air supply to the valves of the
pipework “run into the void.” After
all the keys are opened by the lifting,
the air flows through all the pipes
without resistance, without reaching
a wind pressure that makes the pipes
respond. This, in turn, ensures that
the action can start moving without
further stress from the buildup of
wind for the pipes.

Four “protrusions” had appeared
on the brass strip. This meant that
keys could get caught on these raised
areas when the pin roller was moved
sideways. Restorers compensated
for these flaws in the brass strip
with appropriate dovetail joints.
Originally, the stickers were made of
steel, but these stickers were later
replaced with wooden stickers in an
earlier restoration. The stickers were

The Braamcamp Clock is now on permanent display in Museum Speelklok.

returned to an original state. The which helped with establishing their
order of the keys, which had been orientation.
changed at some point, was restored The Braamcamp clock is on display
to the best condition possible. Some in the permanent exhibition of
of the keys were still marked with Museum Speelklok from December
the corresponding inscriptions, 2019.

28 MECHANICAL MUSIC July/August 2021

The history of the Steinkjerpositive

By Dr. Robert Penna

In the mid to late 19th century, the
small Norwegian town of Steinkjer
became known for the manufacture of
quality barrel organs. It is surprising
that one small town and its environs
produced more than 500 hand-cranked
instruments. Certainly, this was
many more than organ enthusiasts
locally would ever need. So, why did
this location become such a hub of
production? Who were these Norse
craftsmen? How could there be such
a demand? How did these instruments
spread throughout the region? How
did it all start and why are these barrel
organs known as “positives”?

A barrel organ is known by many
names. In different locations, one can
hear the term street organ, monkey
organ, grinder organ, roll organ, crank
organ, hand organ, cylinder organ and
even incorrectly, hurdy gurdy.1 Yet, in
one location, they are called positives.

Throughout Norway, the Steinkjerpositive
was a well-known local brand
of barrel organ. Other European barrel
organs from the same period were
usually more lightweight and easier to
carry. The ones produced in Steinkjer,
especially the two larger versions,
were more like portable organs by
comparison. Though heavier and
harder to move from place to place,
the machines were well built and the
sound quality excellent. Further, what
set them apart was the fact that the
music was taken from the traditional
local tunes used by fiddlers throughout
the district. Because of these
reasons, you could be “positive” they
were from Steinkjer.

Some 40 kilometers south of Steinkjer,
the town of Levanger hosted a
market each December and March.
Begun in 1829, farmers, tradespeople
and families visited to sell their goods,
shop, catch up on the news and find
entertainment for the children. The
market also attracted visitors from
foreign lands including barrel organ

grinders. One can imagine the novelty
of the instrument caught many a
person’s attention.

Among those fascinated by the
barrel organ was Thomas Fosnaes
(1813–1870), an instrument maker,
clockmaker and musician from
Steinkjer. Fosnaes began building
barrel organs before 1849 as several
of his instruments have been found
which precede this date. It is likely

Photograph of a Norwegian organ grinder. Photo from the Nordlandsmuseet’s
collection

that he earned some business from
itinerant grinders who sought his
assistance to repair or retune their
instruments as they passed through
his area. Then, an incident in about
1850 ignited Fosnaes’s passion and he
began manufacturing barrel organs
on a larger scale. The catalyst for this
change was the reported death of an
Italian barrel organ player who had
lived in the town of Beitstad some 16

July/August 2021 MECHANICAL MUSIC 29

kilometers northwest of Steinkjer. It
is thought that because of Fosnaes’s
reputation as a violinist, the Italian’s
unclaimed mechanical device was
given to him.

After taking the instrument apart,
Fosnaes decided he would continue to
make his own instruments and improve
on their construction based on what he
learned from the Italian’s instrument.
One of his early decisions was to
contact two brothers who were well
known locally for casting fine quality
brass objects. Christian (1839–1922)
and Torris Tharaldsen (born 1848) not
only excelled in brass work but were
also talented carpenters. At first, they
cast parts for the organs built by Fosnaes,
but as the need for more positives
grew, the Tharaldsen brothers began to
build their own barrel organs. Christian
made the internal parts and some of
the decoration, while Torris made the
cases.

The ability to pin the music to the
barrels is a difficult task, far beyond
the ability of most carpenters or metal
workers. Fosnaes was a celebrated
local violinist, well known for playing
at concerts and weddings. He also
gave lessons to aspiring violinists.
One of his most talented students
was Jacob Schjefte (born 1841). The
increasing demand for positives and
the public desire for more and varied
tunes inspired Fosnaes to recruit and
train Schjefte to prepare barrels for
the positives as regular employment.
Although by trade a shoemaker, Jacob
became known as a master at pinning
barrels for these instruments. He is
known to have pinned the barrels for
the organs made by Christian Tharaldsen
as well as for those made by Ola
Fjeldhaug (born 1829) and others.

Over a period of 50 years, others from
the area joined the group constructing
positives, either making important
parts or building an entire instrument.
Among them were Ola Fjeldhaug,
Theodor Bentzen, Ole Ramstad, Paul
Landsem, Mathias Klaebo, brothers
Peter and Odin Tveras, Nils Opdahl
and Jacob Bredesmo.

Ola Fjeldhaug spent his free time
making furniture and violins. In the
summer, Fjeldhaug worked in the local
brick factory and in the winter at his

A Steinkjerpositive barrel cylinder.

Christian (Kristian) Tharaldsen, maker of the majority of the Steinkjerpositives. He
was an excellent brazier (maker of brass objects), a trade he learned from his father.
Photo courtesy Digital Museum For The Steinkjerpositives.

local croft in the forest. Any free time
was spent assisting Schjefte building
positives or pinning the music into
the barrels of the positives he made.
Another individual who assisted in
pinning the barrels was Theodor
Bentzen (born 1843), a local violin

maker and brick layer who became
involved in the effort. Although the
majority of the instruments made in
Steinkjer bear the name of Christian
Tharaldsen, he often had others make
parts and his workshop assembled
them into the positives.

30 MECHANICAL MUSIC July/August 2021

A restored Tharaldsen positive from 1893.

This group of local craftsmen often
worked in small workshops at their
homes. Residents of the town built
more than 500 barrel organs in a span
of slightly more than 50 years. Most of
the Steinkjerpositives (400-plus) carry
Christian Tharaldsen’s name. Those
signed by Jacob Schjefte or Thomas
Fosnaes are not significantly different
from those sporting the name of
Christian. No instruments have been
located which carry the name of
Teodor Bentzen, but it is understood
he manufactured several and a large
number of the barrels.

At least 13 men contributed to the
manufacture of these barrel organs in
the Steinkjer area. The manufacture of
the Steinkjerpositive was of significant
importance to the community. The
money made from the sale of these
instruments had a profound impact on
their lives. Several of these men were

Photo of the south side of Steinkjer. Photo courtesy Digital Museum For The
Steinkjerpositives.

July/August 2021 MECHANICAL MUSIC 31

poor tenant farmers who worked
long hours for little pay. In making
positives, they found a life changing
opportunity. The barrel organ manufacturing
business provided enough
income for them to leave some of
their financial woes behind. Several
used their money to leave their tenant
farmer status behind and purchase
land of their own. In an area that had
had limited manufacture of goods, this
was a significant boost to the local
economy.2

Considering that more than 500
positives were built in Steinkjer
and neighboring villages, one has
to wonder where they were used.
Obviously, the local market would
have been saturated many times
over. The production of these instruments,
however, coincided with the
growth of trade throughout Norway.
Innhrredjekt, or jekts, were being
produced at this time. The jekts, a
type of windjammer sailing boat,
sailed the coastal waters and opened
a market for the large-scale export of
the Steinkjerpositives. The merchants
aboard the jekts first sailed north with
timber and farmers’ produce which
was exchanged for fish and then south
to trade the fish for other goods and
back to their home ports. This triangular
trade route gave the barrel organ
makers a relatively large market in
which to operate.

It is reported that when a jekt was
launched, it was necessary to play
celebratory music from a Steinkjerpositive.
The belief was “if not, then
things at sea could go wrong.”3

Whether a foolish superstition or
a brilliant marketing ploy, tradition
dictated that there would be three
parties before a jekt could be placed
in the water. Positives were often used
for the music at the prelaunch parties.
In addition, in order to maintain a
good atmosphere during the maiden
voyage, the instrument continued to
be played on board. Positives were
also played when entering a harbor or
to greet one as it returned, ensuring
a party on the docks. In this manner,
the Steinkjerpositive spread along the
Norwegian coast and to other ports as
well. As these well-respected instruments
spread, the need for increased

A view along Kongens gate in the north side of Steinkjer. Photo courtesy Digital
Museum For The Steinkjerpositives.

A restored Tharaldsen positive from 1871.

production was met by the crafts-it not uncommon to find these barrel
men of Steinkjer. Also, it should be organs in unexpected places.
mentioned that as some Norwegians Known for their colorful tunes, the
emigrated to new lands, they took Steinkjerpositives played the local
their instruments with them, making music used by the fiddlers throughout

32 MECHANICAL MUSIC July/August 2021

the district. At first, waltzes, polkas,
reinlenders, galops, marches and
mazurkas were the initial tunes placed
on the barrel. It is fascinating to note
that this is the only source of the
music of the region during this time
period. The music of the fiddlers was
merely passed down and memorized
by the musicians; none was ever
written down to be preserved. Without
the barrels, these tunes would
have been lost forever. It is because
of these barrel organs that the music
that reflects the culture and musical
history of the region at this time has
been preserved. Sadly, the titles of
many of the tunes have been lost as
the builders did not list the tunes on
the barrels nor in the boxes.

As the Steinkjerpositives became
ever more popular and spread to new
areas, a demand arose for a greater
repertoire of tunes. To meet that
need, more music was borrowed from
German dance tunes. To date, around
1,200 tunes have been recorded from
the surviving positives. To hear many
of the tunes that have been recorded
from surviving Steinkjerpositives,
visit steinkjerpositiv.com/music.html.
The tunes are listed according to
type and year of issue. To date, only
one barrel has been discovered with
religious hymns used in the churches
of that era.

The three sizes most commonly
found in these barrel organs are 22
keys (known as the little), 25 keys
(known as the middle) and 28 keys
(known as the large). Because there
were several builders of these instruments
over a long period of time,
variations exist. So, it is not uncommon
to find Steinkjerpositives with
23 and 24 keys. They were, however,
all built in the same pattern and are
relatively similar in design.4

The earliest machines were built
entirely of pine. But craftsmen like
Christian Tharaldsen built his in the
finest quality using mahogany and
decorative moldings. Goat hide was
used for bellows. The pipes and many
internal parts were still made from
pine, but parts of the pipes that needed
a harder wood used material from fruit
and nut trees. Some Steinkjerpositives
have mechanical parts made of iron,

A restored Schjefte positive from 1891.

A jekt or typical windjammer from Steinkjer, Norway. Tradition stated that it was
an absolute necessity to play music from a Steinkjerpositive before launching.
Otherwise, “if not, things at sea could go wrong.” Pictured is one of the last remain-
ing Steinkjer jekts, the Pauline from the 1800s. Photo courtesy Digital Museum For
The Steinkjerpositives.

July/August 2021 MECHANICAL MUSIC 33

but those made by Christian Tharaldsen
were made almost entirely of
brass. Barrels were made of wooden
staves glued together to form a tube.
End caps were then placed on the
tube so that the interior of the barrel
was hollow. This reduced the weight
and eliminated cracking. Often a light
brown or green paper was glued on to
the barrel to make it smooth and even.
The pins and bridges were made of
brass.

After many decades of service, one
by one these magnificent machines fell
silent. Some were forgotten in attics
or barns, others simply destroyed.
Finally, in the 1970s, Otto Nielsen, an
employee of the Norwegian Broadcasting
Company and a local historian
named Charles Karlsen investigated
the history of the Steinkjerpositives.
Others soon joined the effort, and
the background of these historic
machines was rediscovered.5

Additional details on the manufacture
of the Steinkjerpositives, their
makers, music and internal workings
can be found on websites developed
by Harald Sakshaug, referred to in
the footnotes of this article. Much of
the materials and photographs were
supplied with his gracious consent.

Examples of music and traditional
dancing can be found at: www.
nostalgeek.no/barrel.htm. Additional
examples of Steinkjerpositive music
can be found at /www.steinkjerpositiv.
no/en/music.html.

Theodor Nilsen Bentzen likely made some instruments but was well known for the
pegging of barrels. Photo courtesy Digital Museum For The Steinkjerpositives.

In this resource, the music is
organized by different types: waltz,
reinlender, galop, march, mazurka,
pol (Nowegian folk dance), polka, and
hymns.

Footnotes

1. “Barrel Organ,” Wikipedia. en.wikipedia.
org/wiki/Barrel_organ
2. “The Instrument Makers,” Steinkjerpositives.
http://www.steinkjerpositiv.
com/makers.html
3. “The Story of a Barrel Organ”
Busker Organ Forum. www.
tapatalk.com/groups/buskerorgan/
the-story-and-journey-of-a-barrel-organ-
which-was–t774.html
4. “The Positives,” Steinkjerpositives.
www.steinkjerpositiv.no/en/instruments.
html
5. Steinkjerpositiv. www.nostalgeek.no/
barrel.htm
Two photos of an unrestored Steinkjerpositive. Positives were
made from approximately 1848 to 1900. They often spent long
hours entertaining on land and sea, so heavy wear and use
have taken their toll. This one is ready for restoration.

34 MECHANICAL MUSIC July/August 2021

A Singing Bird Box

How modern technology helped recreate an ‘old’ Objet d’Art

By Mike Chalifoux

My previous life was in flight
testing in the U.S. Air Force. After
I retired, I did some woodworking
and made some puzzle boxes. These
required some precision work which
led to outfitting my workshop with
CNC (Computer Numerical Control)
mills and the building of a CNC Rose
engine lathe. I have built my own CNC
version of a Rose engine. While a

CNC machine is run by a computer, an
often-overlooked fact is that a person
first has to tell the computer what to
do. That is where the artist can come
into play.

The need for precision also attracted
me to the clock/watch making world.
I crossed paths with Brittany Cox,
who works on restoration of various
mechanical devices and that led me to
singing bird boxes.

The construction of these devices

can encompass a lifetime’s worth
of work. Just making the parts has
taken me years (pretty much self-
taught). I had to learn about metal
working in jewelry classes, and take
classes in enameling and painting so
I could decorate the containers for
the works. I also studied the history
of Fabergé works, which have decorations
applied.

Singing bird boxes first came to
my attention in 2014. Brittany, an

July/August 2021 MECHANICAL MUSIC 35

antiquarian horologist, was doing a
restoration on one of the amazing
devices. I thought, how could these
devices operate in such a small space?
How could the craftsmen of the 1780s
have made them? Many YouTube
videos exist showing the inner workings,
which only increased my interest.

A bit of research turned up two
works, one by Geoffrey T. Mayson,
“Mechanical Singing-Bird Tabatières”
printed in 2000 and one by Sharon
and Christian Bailly, “Flights of Fancy

-Mechanical Singing Birds” printed in
2001.
The work by the Baillys seemed
to be more about the artistry of the
boxes. For technical information
Mayson’s book is recommended.

My local library was able to secure
me a copy of Mayson’s book for me
via an interlibrary loan. The text is
fascinating, with chapters on the inner
workings such as the air cams, the
bellows and the miniature bird itself.
I wondered: would it be possible to
make a miniature bird? I knew it would
definitely stretch my capabilities. The
small size of the bird, the whistle, the
bellows, the mechanism, the box that
it would ultimately reside in, would all
be new to me and serve to grow my
skills.

A reference would be needed as
a guide, and it was quickly obvious
that the work of Mayson was the best
to begin with. This book is relatively
rare and rather expensive. There were
approximately 30 libraries around the
world that had copies and about as
many book sellers had them for sale.
“Flights of Fancy – Mechanical Singing
Birds” was even more difficult to find
with only five copies in libraries and
one bookseller offering it for sale.

It seemed that this work was slowly
disappearing, so I set out to see how
it could be preserved. I learned that
individuals wanting to duplicate an
out-of-print book must contact the
authors to ask permission. Unfortunately
for me, Mayson had passed
on in 1996 and attempts to contact
his widow were unsuccessful. His
publisher has also passed on and the
publishing house was acquired by
another publisher. That publisher did
not acquire the rights to the book and

An image from Geoffrey Mayson’s book showing a complete bellows and whistle for
a singing bird box.

Another image from Geoffrey Mayson’s book showing the movement with bird and
bellows attached. Below is the cover of Mayson’s book.

could not provide any information
about the Maysons.

I then set about a lengthy and
convoluted process to get an Orphan
Works license (N. 127). It took about
six months of work and following
due diligence checklists. This license
is for non-commercial use only. Any
commercial use would require a
further application to be made. The
British Library, as the national library
of the United Kingdom, has this work
and could provide a digital copy. They
reviewed the license and provided a
high-definition copy in PDF format.
They also provided the images in .tif
format (which means that there is no
data loss due to file compression).

Once I had successfully obtained

36 MECHANICAL MUSIC July/August 2021

A drawing of bird whistle workings that was printed in Mechanical Music, Vol. 54, No. 6, November/December 2008.

the necessary license, I was ready
to release copies of the book to the
public. My original plans were to travel
to Britain and attend an annual general
meeting of the Society of Ornamental
Turners to announce the availability
of the book, but the COVID Pandemic
prevented travel.

What I discovered while working
on this musical item is that there are
areas that would-be potential challenges.
Among these are:

• Bellows
• Whistle
• Feathering a bird
• Working on small parts
Each of these points presents difficulties.
The type of glue used in the
bellows was said to be rubber cement
and a specific type of thinner was
noted. I did run into a bit of a language
issue here as the item Mayson called
rubber cement would be known to me

The tail lever. A computer-aided model of a frame.

as contact cement. These are quite
different materials. Also, Zephyr skin
(a very thin leather made from animal
intestines) is not readily available
in the U.S., so other materials were
tried. Thin rubber is quite airtight, but
I knew it could deteriorate over time.
Polyethylene film is difficult to glue,
but with the appropriate primers it
could make a good seal. I thought a
replacement material used in cuckoo
clock bellows might be acceptable.
It is a nonwoven synthetic material

known in the U.S. as Tyvek and is
about .005 inches thick. It needs to be
softened but seems to work well with
regular hide glue.

The whistle was a major problem.
Examining the pictures in the book
as carefully as possible led to experiments
with several whistles, none of
which were satisfactory. They did not
have the range needed, or the amplitude
and did not seem to “start quickly
enough.” The pictures provided some
information, but I was still having

July/August 2021 MECHANICAL MUSIC 37

problems. Fortunately, I came across an article published
by the Music Box Society International about Karl Griesbaum.
One of the pictures in the article contained detailed
drawings of a whistle! A satisfactory whistle was made
very shortly thereafter.

The original birds were feathered with hummingbird
feathers. The Migratory Bird Protection Act of 1918 made
that illegal but there are acceptable alternatives. There is
an artist, Kerri Pajutee, who is able to feather small birds
quite nicely, with two tutorials on dyeing the feathers and
feathering a bird.

Learning how to work on a small scale has its challenges.
Trying to lay out, mark, and drill parts and then fit them
to work together was almost impossible. The components
of a bird have been modeled and a small CNC system is
used to scribe the lines on small brass stock. The parts are
cut out using a jeweler’s saw under a stereo microscope.
A high-speed dental drill and fine, No. 6 files were used to
finish a part.

Future plans

A repository of information regarding singing birds
would be useful. This repository could also store additional
information that may be useful to other creators of these
little jewels.

Sources & Acknowledgments

I have graciously been given permission from several
sources to reprint their works:

• “Singing Birds” Chapter XVIII, Vol. II, from the book
Le Monde des Automates (The World of Automata),
written by Alfred Chapuis and Edouard Gelis, translated
by Wade Jenkins Mechanical Music, Vol. 42, No.
2, Autumn 1996,
• “The Karl Griesbaum Singing Bird Workshop in
Triberg,” translated by George Coade, Mechanical
Music, Vol. 54 No. 6, November/December 2008
• Die Karl-Griesbaum-Singvogelwerkstätten in Triberg’
by Siegfried Wendel, Das Mechanische Musikinstrument,
No. 87, August 2003
From Kerri Pajutee (www.kerripajutee.com):

• Tutorial for feathering a small bird
• Tutorial for dyeing the feathers
I do hope that this article will encourage others to work
on such devices and share the results of their efforts.

Finally, please visit the Facebook group “Mechanical
Singing Birds” at facebook.com/groups/712717722847011

Editor’s Note: This site has the copies of the works mentioned above,
Geoffrey T. Mayson’s work, and author Mike Chalifoux CAD files of a
bird.

The files are also available on Dropbox at: https://www.dropbox.com/
sh/0tjunm7kdqitw8g/AADxPeI19UBj25Nv26RiPH1La?dl=0

This photo gives a sense of the scale of the parts used in lay-
ing out the frame on the previous page.

Mike Chalifoux, from Massachusetts, became fascinated by singing
bird boxes, which set him off on a mission to produce his own. He
shares with us here a brief account of how he achieved his aim after
many years. So enthused, he has set up a Facebook page where he shares
the various resources he drew on.

As virtually self-taught, this project presented a number of challenges,
including the ‘common language which divides us’ – terms in common
use in one country are not necessarily the same in another Anglophone
country.

Portions of this article were previously published by the Musical Box
Society of Great Britain in The Music Box, Vol. 29 No 8.

Anyone with further advice to offer, is welcome to contact the editor
of this publication who will pass along the information.

38 MECHANICAL MUSIC July/August 2021

The gleaming cylinder from a David Langdorff overture music box purchased during the author’s memorable trip to California.

A buying trip I will never forget

By James Kracht

It was a Saturday morning in early
January 2019. I’m an early riser
and went to my PDA to look for the
night’s email. There was one from my
friend and restorer Reg Smith which
always starts my day off with a good
beginning. This one was no exception.
It alerted me to a huge liquidation of
mechanical musical instruments in
Southern California, with a website
address and phone number. But
for this email, I never would have
learned of this extraordinary buying
opportunity.

The website, albeit extremely
well done, was not accessible to me
as a blind music box collector, so I
had to wait until the hour was more
reasonable and I could call the seller
to discuss his collection. It didn’t take
me more than five minutes on that call
to know that I wanted to hear more.

For the next hour or so, Howie
Schack, the son of the late Ralph
Schack (MBSI President 2004-2005),
and Ralph’s wife, Gloria, were liquidating
what I was soon to learn was
an expansive, all-inclusive collection
of more than a hundred mechanical
musical instruments of all types and

ages, some very large. Howie’s descriptions
were very detailed, and that,
coupled with some time that I later
spent with Reg looking at the website
led me to understand that I needed to
have a serious conversation with my
wife, Pat. Rather than put that off, we
sat down by 1 p.m. and I informed her
that I very much wanted to go out to
California to look at this collection. I
wanted to buy some prized pieces to
add to our collection, and because
some of my prior buying experiences
were less than favorable, I wanted to
take Reg with me to examine prospective
purchases. After much back and

July/August 2021 MECHANICAL MUSIC 39

The lid of the David Langdorff four-overture music box.

The lid, case front and cylinder of the B.A. Bremond overture
box from the Schack collection.

forth, Pat was on board, but she did tell me that if I was
going to go to California, I had to agree to first visit my two
sisters in Western Washington state. For a Florida boy that
particular condition turned out to be a very cold endeavor,
but I was glad to start this trip visiting my siblings.

The wheels were in motion and the trip plans began to
unfold. Reg agreed to meet me in Los Angeles, CA, and a
very good friend agreed to meet us at the airport and host
us for a few days. Little did I know then that I would also
be making a huge dent in his champagne stash, just to get
through the whole experience. We had a great four days
together which made the trip to Los Angeles even more
memorable.

We were set to meet Howie Schack at his parents’
beautiful home in Rancho Palos Verdes, CA, at 10 a.m. on

40 MECHANICAL MUSIC July/August 2021

The cylinder from the Rzebitschek music box.

a Friday morning. I don’t remember
getting much sleep the night before.
Reg and I had spent many hours on
the phone reviewing the website and
I had narrowed it down to 16 to 18
music boxes that I wanted to look at
and listen to.

We arrived at the Schack home on
schedule, and I immediately stopped
to look at a large piece in the entry hall
and got better acquainted with Howie
Schack. He was every bit as kind and
thoughtful as I had expected him
to be and is a wonderful individual.
The Schack home is quite lovely. The
tasks of examination, selection and
acquisition was underway, all to be
completed before 3 p.m.

Having passed on a beautiful overture
box at a recent auction, one of my
first tasks, after looking at a beautiful
little Rzebitschek sample not unlike
one that I had unsuccessfully bid on at
a Breker auction the prior November,
was to audition any overture boxes in
Schack collection. There were several.
I quickly narrowed it down to two that

I was seriously interested in. My first
choice was a fantastic David Langdorff
overture box, and the second was a

B.A. Bremond overture box. We went
through the rest of the collection and
Reg and I decided what we wanted to
try for and determine how far I could
stretch my available funds.
Howie and I quickly came to terms
on the Langdorff and the Rzebitschek.
Then we completed examination,
discussion and deals on four other
music boxes. These included a Frères
Nicole, a Metert, a Lawater, and an
1827 Lecoultre. That gave me six
priceless additions to my collection.
Howie had pushed to the end our
negotiations on his parents’ beautiful
Polyphon Emerald, a machine which
I desperately wanted to have. So, with
deals concluded on six machines we
started to trade ideas about it. Thanks
to Howie’s persuasive ways and my
determination, I ended up with the
16-bell Polyphon Emerald. I truly love
this music box.

Needless to say, the day was an

overwhelming success in my opinion.
I came back to our friend’s home on a
total high and to celebrate, our host,
Reg and I enjoyed an incredible steak
dinner at Mastriani’s Steakhouse in
Beverly Hills, CA.

My friend, Tom, kindly arranged to
pick up the music boxes after Howie
and his son and lady friend packed
them. Tom would store them until I
figured out shipping. As many of you
know, that can be a real challenge. I
finally settled on shipping them with
Metropolitan White Glove Services,
also known as Metropolitan Warehouse.
Although expensive, seven
music boxes arrived at our Miami, FL,
home without damage and they were
quickly absorbed into our collection
to play on for many years to come.

Fast forward to early December.
Howie was arranging to send the bulk
of his remaining unsold collection
to auction. I asked him about two
machines. One was a Ducommun-Girod
box that had already gone to
the auction house, but I was not a

July/August 2021 MECHANICAL MUSIC 41

The two snuff boxes that became part of the author’s collection after an interest was sparked from another auction.

successful bidder thereon. The other
coincidently was the B.A. Bremond
overture box which I had starred on
my list as really wanting, but I had
stopped at seven purchases during
my February visit. Howie still had the

B.A. Bremond box, and it was one of
two remaining boxes he offered me,
as he wanted to keep the other one for
himself. I thought, how unbelievable,
and then based on our prior dealings
he was willing to let it go for a very
reasonable price. Hence, I now have
eight music boxes from the Schack
collection in mine.
But the story does not end there.
At the music box convention in
Rockville, MD, in September 2019, I
almost looked at two snuff boxes for

sale. Not wanting to be tempted by the
excitement of the Mart, however, I left
the hotel. Then I had another opportunity
to see both of the snuff boxes at
an upcoming chapter meeting. Alas, I
never knew I wanted a snuff box, but
I was totally infatuated. I came home
and was writing Howie Schack again
as part of my now established relationship
with him. It so happened that
he had two snuff boxes he didn’t want,
but the auction house would not take
them. Yes, they are now mine, as is a
third 1810 sectional comb miniature
that I bought from Reg.

So ends the story of a wonderful
buying trip to Southern California. I
greatly cherish and totally love all of
these boxes. They are all in impeccable

condition. Such is no surprise, as the
Schacks bought and kept only the very
best.

As with other music boxes that I
have written about, I cannot let this
story end without commenting about
my friendship with Howie. He is a
truly great person, with the utmost
integrity, and he did his parents proud
in liquidating their vast collection.
None of this would have been possible
had it not been for that early Saturday
morning email from my good friend
and restorer Reg Smith. Thank you
Howie and Reg.

I think of you both every time I
play one of the 11 music boxes which
are now such a central part of my
collection.

42 MECHANICAL MUSIC July/August 2021

Treasured Memories

By Jamie Brewer

Murray Savauge was an early music box
collector. He and his family were great friends
with Barclay Holmes, who was a high-end
antique dealer in Vineland, Ontario, Canada.
Barclay and Murtogh Guinness were very
close friends back in the day.
I first met Barclay in the early 1980s. How
I wish I had kept a journal
back then. It drives me crazy
to not have the resources
to fact check. I was still
driving my 1975 Duster
when I would make those
early trips crossing the
Canadian border to visit
Vineland. Barclay was
only some 40 miles from
my house in Lockport,
NY. Many Sunday
afternoons were spent
making spur-of-themoment
trips to his shop.

July/August 2021 MECHANICAL MUSIC 43

One visit to Barclay’s I hold particularly
close was when I was living with
my best friend, Joe, in 1998 waiting
for a job transfer to Tuscaloosa, AL. It
was a warm sunny day in spring and
I just wanted to get away for a while.
I decided to drive to Barclay’s on the
back way over country roads to the
Lewiston Bridge. On the way I found
my friend John Cornelius walking on
the side of the road not far from where
his parents lived. I pulled over and told
John to get in the truck, we are going
to Canada. To better understand this,
you really have to have known John:
he was very quiet and soft spoken. He
was truly one of the kindest people
I have ever met. He tried to put up a
fight but I just told him to “Hush up
and get in this truck!” We ended up
at Barclay’s having the best time. We
came home the long way through
Buffalo and caught “Happy Hour” at
Buddies. John always related how he
had never done anything so spur of the
moment and how much fun he had.
John succumbed to throat cancer. It
is bittersweet to remember but I’m so
glad we had that afternoon together.

Back when I had my Plymouth
Duster, I was a “mule” bringing
treasures over the border to deliver
to Murtogh from Barclay. I made
frequent trips to New York City in
those days. My Duster had a lockable
trunk that was never inspected at the
border. That old car was totaled out in
December 1981. My next vehicle was
a hatchback so the luxury of having
things totally out of view was gone.
The things you do when you are young
and dumb! Today I would be petrified
to sneak items over the border, given
the way the inspection checks have
evolved and intensified.

Barclay had a beautiful historic
brick farmhouse furnished with
period antiques. One big room at the
end served as his shop. Barclay loved
his coffee as much as I do. We always
shared a few cups in his kitchen. He
was “old school” so the coffee was
always served in a china cup on a
saucer.

Barclay was born and raised in
Lexington, KY. He taught me a lot
on what to expect when I moved
south. How he laughed when I said

innocently one visit, “I don’t understand
it. All the people I’ve met in the
south say they have never met anyone
like me before!” Talk about a loaded
statement! We were sitting on the
porch to his shop in the evening when
I told him that. The porch is small with
a bench along the side of each railing.
We sat watching the red sun descend
in the west over the fields and vineyards
of the Niagara Peninsula. It was
one of those times to be treasured, you
just knew when it was happening that
it was a once-in-a-lifetime experience.

The stories Barclay regaled me
with. He and Murtogh did quite a bit of
traveling overseas together. Murtogh
always booked first class on sailings
and hotels. They were very involved
with the “old school” of the Musical
Box Society International. How I treasure
the time we spent trading stories.

When Murray died, Barclay worked
with Murray’s daughter Judy to sell
off his collection. This was done over
an extended period of time. The last
music box remaining in Judy’s possession
was the Mermod Frères Sublime
Harmony Piccolo box. I have a letter
going back to Oct. 6, 1960, linking this
music box to the Savauge family. Judy
loved this music box as did Barclay.

Over the years I was able to do some
minor basic repairs for Judy to keep
this beautiful box running.

Barclay was able to buy this music
box from Judy in 2001. Barclay had
a legal paper signed whereby if he
predeceased Judy the music box
would revert back to her. Barclay was
so thrilled to finally possess this music
box. I have correspondence covering
the purchase and minute details of the
box Barclay sent me over the years.

It was Nov. 30, 2005, when Judy sent
me an email informing me of Barclay’s
death. Barclay lived alone and was
pretty much estranged from his immediate
family. Judy told me he was so
afraid of dying and not being found for
days. Unfortunately, that is just what
occurred. The family arranged a short
memorial service figuring that nobody
would attend. This family was shocked
when people from all over the region
showed up. Those in attendance were
asked to say a few words about their
relationship with Barclay. Judy gave

a short speech and then read this
portion of an email I had sent her:

“I just think of the happy hours
spent at the long table in the kitchen
enjoying coffee and cookies. His
clocks were always on time and ticking.
Barclay always saved a fruitcake
made by a special friend for me. I
will treasure the remains of the last
fruitcake I have in the freezer that he
gave me in September.”

Barclay’s family descended upon

his estate like a plague of locusts.

They had no intentions of honoring

his requests of bequests to his friends

and extended family. Judy, however, is

a fighter and she took off the gloves

to regain possession of the music box.

The end result was it was returned to

her.
It was in June 2010, Judy sent me an

email which contained the following:

The initial reason I contacted you
is because I’m updating my will, and
if you’re around when I’m not, I’d
like you to have the ‘Mermod Freres
Ideal Sublime’ as well as a very odd
painting connected with it (about
which more at another time). To that
end, I need your full name, address,
phone #, email. I wasn’t going to tell
you any of this, but when Facebook
indicated you lived in Birmingham,
I got nervous, and emailed.

OK. Why you? Many reasons.
You’ve had an association with the
box over the years. You’ve repaired
bits & pieces of it a couple of times.
The box is important to me, was
important to Barclay. And Barclay
was very fond of you. (Me too). I also
believe that you were ‘fond’ of the box!
But I suppose the main reason is that
you certainly appreciate the box, and
frankly, I don’t know anyone else
who does, in the same way. It would
make me feel good to know that it has
another good home: first my father,
then me, then Barclay, me again, and
then you.

Five years later, in February 2015,
Judy contacted me via Facebook to
tell me I could pick up the music box
from her home in Canada, but I had

44 MECHANICAL MUSIC July/August 2021

The Mermod Frères Sublime Harmony Piccolo music box and the painting connected to it, in the author’s home.

July/August 2021 MECHANICAL MUSIC 45

to come as soon as I possibly could.
This meant renewing my passport for
starters.

It took a great deal of preparation
to build a crate to hold the box as it
would have to travel in the bed of my
truck and also be easily accessible in
case customs needed to do an inspection.
I departed Tuscaloosa, AL, on
May 10 and arrived in Lockport, NY,
on the 11th.

Tuesday, May 12, 2015, I slept in till

7:30 a.m. Then I took a hot shower and
did a last-minute double check of the
moving and packing supplies. Joe was
up at 8:30 a.m. and made coffee.
I took a to-go cup and tried my old
“autopilot” to get to the Lewiston
Bridge to Canada. My GPS does not
work in Canada. I had a detailed
Google map.

It had been many years since I
crossed the Canadian border. Lucky
for me, the border guard crossing into
Canada was laid back. There was no
traffic on the bridge. I had timed it just
right. I can’t lie to save my life so I had
my story all worked out.

These border guards must hear
every story in the book. When he questioned
me as to the reason for my trip
to Canada and then wondered further
why anyone not related to me would
gift me such a valuable music box, I
replied, “It’s a long-involved story.” He
smiled and said, “I’ve got lots of time!”

I explained the entire story of how
my good friend Barclay was a prestigious
antique dealer in Vineland,
Ontario, who was good friends with
Judy’s family. I went on how Barclay
brokered sales of music boxes from
Judy’s family over the years and how
he coveted this particular music box.
Judy sold Barclay the music box under
the condition, if he predeceased her,
she would get it back. Sadly, Barclay
died some six years ago. Barclay was
ostracized from his family, but they
sure scooped in to “pick the bones
clean.” Things got really ugly and this
family was not going to honor the
paperwork returning this box to Judy.

By the time I finished up my story
this guard was leaning back in his
chair and I had my arms folded on
the truck window sill. I had the guard
shaking his head at all this! I asked if

he needed to check over any of the
packing supplies I was bringing in. He
said I was fine and to just go on.

I got the music box and cabinet all
packed up. This was not the final packing
as there was a chance of a border
inspection and then I had to unload
the thing at Joe’s house. I was amazed
how I was just waved on through U.S.
customs on my return trip.

Once I got the music box set up
here in Tuscaloosa, AL, I contacted
Dave and Carol Beck about doing a
restoration. There was some comb
work that needed to be done to make
it right. They agreed to take on the job.

In early June the box was again
packed up and this time I transported
it to Atlanta, GA. It is only about a
four-hour drive but due to the traffic
and congestion it is a drive I detest.
Dave and Carol were very impressed
with the music box. They said there
should not be any surprises as it was
in good condition overall.

It only took a month for Dave and
Carol to do the restoration work on
the music box and cylinders. They did
a road trip to Tuscaloosa to drop it off
and sightsee a bit. I am thrilled at the
work that was done on it.

This music box has such a special
place in my life. I play this pretty
much daily. When I listen to this, it is
much more than just hearing beautiful
music. In my mind I can travel to so
many places and situations associated
with this instrument. On warm, quiet
summer nights I can hear this while in
my front porch swing. To daydream to
the sweet tones of this box watching
the sunset in a brilliant orange and
Tiffany blue sky is magic.

I can never thank Judy enough for
her gift of this to me. My life has been
so enriched.

Judy was a teacher before her
illness. One student she had such an
impact upon, gifted her the painting
that hangs just above the music box in
my home. It is fitting these two pieces
stay together.

On a sad note. I got a mail from Judy
on Facebook on Oct. 18, 2019.

Jamie – things happen at an unexpected
pace. Federal Govt. passed
the MAiD option in 2015 (Medical

Assistance in Dying). I qualify with
Terminal cancer & a bunch of other
things. I wanted to wait until the

U.S. election but in the last few days
things have happened and I am using
the option on Sunday. There’s no good
way to say it all. I’ve enjoyed you from
a far – so much, and wish we
had more time. Enjoy all things -and
cats! I will miss my polydactyl big
boy Jack who is a treat; however my
friend Joan is adopting him. Enjoy
all things.
After reading this the pieces fell into
place as to why Judy wanted me to do
the pick-up in 2015. She had suffered
so. Her quality of life had been pretty
grim.

I was able to get this written history
to her. She replied:

What a thrill to read this wonderful
piece, Jamie. I always thought you
should be a famous writer: your
writing is magnificent. Thank you for
all this. You have made the few days
I have left so special & meaningful.
As I said, I love the piece, the history,
the photos – all. And I will forward
this to my friend & former student,
Norm Edwards, now living in British
Columbia on his tiny boat, who
gave me the painting to go with the
box. I actually am ‘doing the deed’
on Tuesday rather than tomorrow. I
needed more time. I don’t know what
to expect, if anything, but for the most
part it’s been a good ride. Oops. Put
the emoji in the wrong place. I still
can’t do Facebook. Actually – is it
possible to send your wonderful piece
to my email so it is easier to print
out? Or is there something I don’t
know re how to do that.

I answered her back. Judy was
never one to navigate the world of
computers or the internet. This was
my final communication with Judy.

I’ve been in contact with Norm
Edwards who was so close to Judy
as a student and who gifted her the
painting.

Norm related via email the story
how he found this painting to gift to
Judy.

46 MECHANICAL MUSIC July/August 2021

“The painting I found in the Thirroul
Antique Centre in New South
Wales. Owned by Mark Rose, who’s
family were amongst the first “free
settlers” to arrive in Oz – a fact the
family were quick to inform me of.
“Not convicts”!

Mark carried on as if he were an
English gentleman who had just
stepped off the ship. The shop was his
cocoon full of fine furniture, clocks,
scientific instruments and a couple of
the music boxes, the style with the big
metal discs.

This “odd” painting was in the
shop, tucked in a corner, it wasn’t one
of his better paintings, but it spoke
to me as it was around the time that
Judy was having to battle the family
to have her father’s box returned and
there was Judy in the painting with
a music box!

The link you include is wonderful
thank you! I hadn’t seen the family
music box when I found the painting
and to now see what sort of box
“inspired” the painting completes the
picture. It seems perfect to have over
the box! Thanks for hanging it in
your home.

We will have to go antiquing
together one day! I pop into the
secondhand shops daily here in
Sidney BC – you never know what you
might find! Living on the boat limits
my collection size, most “finds” I give
to friends who I hope will appreciate
them.”

I had explained to Norm how the

music box in the painting is a repre

sentation of a “Station Box” with the

dancing dolls.
To have this kind of documentation

makes any piece special in my book.
The upside of keeping a journal is

it is not hard to research. Here is my

journal entry in regards to this music

box from Oct. 18, 2019:

Talk about “ying” and “yang” in
your life. After the drama I had

concerning the death of my friend
Bill’s dad last weekend I opened this
E-mail first thing this a.m. from my
friend Judy S who lives in St. Catherines,
Ontario.

“Quick info – Fed Govt 2015 passed
MAiD option (Medical Assistance in
Dying). I qualify but was waiting
til after US election. Sudden change,
decision yesterday – I will be dying
this Sunday. I very much treasure
you and all you are. Thank you
for taking the Mermod Freres!. Too
rushed & ill to say anything profound.
Enjoy all things.”

Judy has an autoimmune disease
which has left her in declining health
for too many years. Her quality of life
has been so horrible as of late.

I sent Judy the following reply:

Good morning Judy,

I understand your decision and
back you 100%. Have been thinking
so much of you and Barclay as of
late. Next weekend I will be acquiring
two more cylinders for the music
box which I believe were used in the
factory where they were produced. I
have coveted those cylinders since I
first heard them play over 30 years
ago. One has excerpts of Beethoven’s
7th Symphony and the other has runs
and trills of no tunes in particular. I
believe it was used as a “test cylinder”
for calibrating in the factory.

I plan to write up a detailed history
of the music box and wanted to get
permission to use you and your
family’s name in it. The Musical Box
Society has a feature in their publication
where they solicit submissions
for how you discovered different
instruments in your collection. I’ve
done up a couple of submissions. The
story of your family and friendship
with Barclay should be shared. There
are few members of the society left
who had associations with Barclay.
At 67 I’m one of the “old timers” now.

I play that box pretty much daily.
On quiet nights you can clearly hear
it on my front porch. It is such a part

of my life now. I have shared the story
behind it to many people.

I am going to get to work on that
writing today and hopefully will have
a rough draft to send off to you by this
afternoon.

You are a brave woman Judy… you
deserve peace…

One of the most profound statements
of life I’ve ever read was said
by an elderly woman in an interview
for the book, “Let Us Build Us A City,
11 Lost Towns of Arkansas.” This
woman simply said, “I like to think
in later years you will think of me.”
In the long haul that is all we can hope
for is to be remembered. You, your
family, and Barclay are remembered
whenever I play the music box. It is
one of my most treasured possessions.

I can’t thank you enough for gifting
it to me.

Know you are loved and remembered
for as long as I’m on this earth…

Love… Jamie

On a happy note the clock has been
running like gangbusters and is right
on time. Holly gave me another scare.
If I don’t see her every few hours, I
like to do a check up on her. I had not
seen her all afternoon. She was not in
any of her “usual spots.” This is when
I do a closet check. My little girl was
on the closet shelf sacked out on my
ancient rag wool sweater!

Going to get started on the Music
Box history. I’d like Judy to be able to
read at least a rough draft before she
passes on…my day has been decided
for me… so glad I have this kind of
latitude in my life to live each day as
it comes…

When I play this music box my
mind takes me to so many places to
interact with so many memories. It
is so much more than just hearing
musical sounds.

I like to think sharing the back
story of this music box it will be
appreciated more as time goes on….

July/August 2021 MECHANICAL MUSIC 47

Bob’s Symphonion

By Mark Singleton

Back in the early days of my
collecting, by a pure mix of chance
and circumstance, I was introduced to
mechanical music enthusiast and true
master of disc box restoration, Bob
Minney.

Little did I know that for the next 25
years I would be a regular visitor to
his home, which entailed a four to five
hours drive in each direction.

Bob was recently retired from
his profession as a design engineer
at Vauxhall (GM) motors in Luton,
Bedfordshire, a career which obviously
stood him in good stead for what was
one of his great pleasures: mechanical
music. He had a brusque, no nonsense
demeanor, which commanded immediate
respect. So, you knew from the
off exactly where you stood, and woe
betide anyone who didn’t play to these
old school rules.

It didn’t take long for me to realize
that behind this hard man’s exterior,
lay an extremely helpful and willing
soul, a man who would strive hard to
help, with expert restoration, knowledgeable
advice, interspersed with
relevant tales from past encounters
with both man and machine. Bob was
a recognized authority/guru/genius on
all matters relating to disc boxes, and
I lived and breathed for them (still do).
He had a great collection, and I was
trying to build one (still am): so I’m
sure you get the picture.

In the corner of Bob’s lounge/
workshop sat a big impressive-looking
Symphonion. I was so nervous on my
first visit, I hardly dared to look at it.
On my return home I quickly consulted
the Q. David Bowers “Encyclopedia of
Automatic Musical Instruments” and
looked it up. It was a Grand Monster
Automat 192. The number referred
to the number of teeth on the combs,
set in duplex fashion. It plays discs of
25¼-inch in diameter.

Upon my return to Bob’s shop some
three months later to collect a small
job he had agreed to help me with, I

plucked up my courage, cleared my
throat and said, “Excuse me, but I
couldn’t help notice that wonderful
looking machine last time I called and
wondered if I may hear it play?”

Bob gestured towards the instrument,
and I literally tripped over my
own feet as I made my way to this
machine. Looking feverishly around
for a penny, he pointed out it had a
push/pull start behind the winding
handle. With bated breath, mouth agog,
and a huge adrenalin rush, I started it,
not knowing what to actually expect.
I stood back and was blown away
by its ethereal performance. It was
soft, mellow, sonorous, with a deep
fully rounded, yet gentle bass, liquid
mid-range and a silver bells treble.

Wow! I looked over at Bob, who
gave a gentle, all knowing “What about
that then!“ type nod. I inquired if this
was the same machine credited to him
in Graham Webb’s “The Disc Musical
Box Handbook”?

“Good gracious, no!” was his swift
reply. “That was a dreadful machine.
Actually, this machine came from up
North where you live!”

“Oh?” I said encouragingly and he
proceeded to tell me the following
story.

Back in 1958, two young lads,
the Moss bothers, traveled by train
to Blackpool for a weekend trip.
Blackpool is a somewhat frothy and
often bracing seaside resort, home
to England’s answer to New York’s
Coney Island.

On alighting from the train, the
brothers set off to find accommodation
and within minutes they heard a
music box playing in a guest house.
They knocked on the door and upon
it being answered by the landlady of
the establishment, one brother simply
stated, “Excuse me, but you have a
music box playing.”

She answered that yes, she did.

“May we come in and listen?” asked
the brothers.

Again, the answer was yes. It
was rather normal in days gone by

to knock on a boarding house and
inspect the premises to be sure they
were to your suiting before handing
over any money.

After listening, and obviously
impressed, the brothers asked if it
might be for sale. It was, and after a
little haggle they agreed on the then
princely sum of 11 pounds.

At this point the Moss brothers
returned to the train station, armed
themselves with a sack truck apiece,
and forwent their planned weekend of
wine, women and song. They split the
machine in two and returned home
carrying the Symphonion a couple of
hundred miles South.

Some 5 years later, in 1963, a young
Bob Minney had to part with 40
pounds to acquire this same piece. It
was a considerable sum, I guess, back
then.

So began my quest to find a
Symphonion for myself. Along the
way, I asked just about everyone I
met within the Musical Box Society of
Great Britain. Back then it was a very
friendly society, full of old boys, happy
and willing to share their knowledge.
Many knew this type of machine and
referred to it as “The One.” It soon
became apparent to me that not only
was this case style rare, but this
particular machine was held in high
regard by all that knew her.

Many years passed before one
surfaced. It was an incredible survivor,
having sat in a small house in
the midlands where it was sent for
repair in 1926. The mainspring was
broken, as was the endless screw. It
was repaired alright, by myself, about
75 years later, and fortunately due to
its early commercial retirement all
was shipshape on the bedplate, and
it played beautifully. What was not to
like? So, I acquired it. Well, I found out
after some time that it just could not
compare to “The One!”

Upon my next visit to Bob, collecting
a job for myself, and leaving a
Polyphon bedplate for an acquaintance,
I told him of my eventual good

48 MECHANICAL MUSIC July/August 2021

Bob’s Symphonion in the author’s home where he always wanted to see it.

July/August 2021 MECHANICAL MUSIC 49

fortune in finding a Symphonion, but
explained how it just didn’t compare
to his. “Well, what did you expect?”
was his very matter of fact response.
Right then I was inspired to throw
caution to the wind, not knowing if
I would be thrown out on my ear, or
what, for that sort of thing had been
known to happen in Bob’s shop.

“It’s like this Bob, I have never
coveted anything belonging to any
man in my life, but barely a week
passes without me thinking of that
machine! I was wondering if you were
to ever consider parting with it, would
you please consider me as the next
keeper?”

He looked at me and quick on
the uptake, he cut to the quick and
replied, “Sorry. You are out of luck;
when anything happens to me, the
Moss brothers want it back. OK?”

Well, that was that!

Sometime later, out of the blue, Bob
rang me, seething, spitting feathers
and raised merry Hell with me! “What’s
this you told that chap who came to
collect the bedplate that the Symph is
yours one day! I told you . . . Etc. Etc.”
came spilling out over the phone line.

Naturally, I was shocked. I felt physically
sick, for I had said no such thing,
and told him I had merely advised this
chap to listen if the opportunity arose,
adding that I would have loved the
chance one day, but it was not to be.
A five-second eternal silence ensued.
Then he said, “OK, as long as we are
clear, I suppose that’s that then!”

I said, “Crystal, Bob, you suppose
right, and that is that!” We both hung
up with one thing evident, emotions
were running high.

Sometime later in the mid 2000s, I
called in to Bob on a social visit while
passing by, for he lived no more than
two minutes from an arterial freeway
serving London. After a little chit chat,
and quite out of the blue, his tone
changed to something more serious.

“Had the Moss brothers ’round
yesterday,” he said, nodding in the
direction of the Symphonion. “Gave

her a good thrashing, we had a most
pleasurable afternoon.”

“Oh wow, that’s great” I started to
reply, but was cut off mid-sentence.

“No, listen!” Bob said. “We had a
good chat. We are all getting old, and
they agreed they had their enjoyment
of the machine. I’ve had mine, so it’s
your machine!”

With my forehead sweating, throat
dry and mind trying to take it in,
Bob added, with a genuinely humble
request, “But do you mind if it stays
there for now.?

Well, obviously I did not mind at
all. After all he was keeper of this
machine, and I felt truly honored to be
next in line.

Later that year, I was visiting a
collection in Germany, accompanied
by a friend, John Harold, who
happened to know Bob as well. Both
of us were intrigued to hear the same
Symphonion model, that we were
assured by the owner, speaking with
great pride, was something special.
Indeed, it was a fine box, but John
took the words out of my mind when
he later turned to me with a wry smile
and said, “Obviously they never heard
Bob’s then!”

Around 2010, a couple of days before
a long-planned family trip to the U.S.,
Bob’s daughter, Marilyn, rang to inform
me of his passing. After offering my
condolences, I apologized in advance
for my inevitable non-attendance at
his memorial. She understood fully,
of course, but before hanging up she
added that the agreement I had with
her father about the Symphonion still
stood.

Of course, I would have preferred
Bob had remained on this earth longer,
but I was happy that the Symphonion
was headed back to the Blackpool
area after a 50-plus year hiatus.

Once home, out went my Symphonion
and in went Bob’s Symphonion
to much shaking of heads by family
members who thought I had lost the
plot.

Now, this machine had sat on a

carpet in Bob’s home, with a curtain
to one side, and a fabric sofa with soft
cushions immediately to the front. I
had seriously underestimated how
this altered its acoustic properties.
In my home, it sat on a traditional
suspended bare hardwood floor, quite
spartan in comparison, that acted
like a soundboard. Out went the
super smooth, mellow machine that
we all knew and loved and in came a
powerful voice akin to Pavarotti in his
heyday.

It was different again, but retained
its unique colors, tonal qualities, musical
ability and true soul.

A German collector/dealer friend
called to see me at my then place of
business to collect a large Polyphon
disc player one day and after loading
he asked, ‘“Mark, is it true you have
this machine they called The One?”

He must have spoken to a really Old
Boy along the line, because most still
alive now, know it by its current name,
Bob’s Symphonion.

After a brief discussion, he followed
me to my home and cast his “disc box
man” eye over it. Ten seconds into the
performance, with finger in the air, he
declared “Now I do understand!”

Of course, we all have our own
favorites, and one man’s meat and all
that, but at youtu.be/OmFFwT4VhYY,
you may hear Bob’s Symphonion play,
or just search for Silvertone Music
Boxes in your web browser to find this
article.

Note that the video only gives a
fair representation of the real thing
as the microphone struggles with
the complex frequencies and creates
much distortion, even from outside
the room. Anyone reading this,
however, is more than welcome to
listen to Bob’s Symphonion in person
should they find themselves in the
Blackpool area.

This article originally appeared on the
author’s website, silvertonemusicboxes.co.uk/
Please visit the website to see more content
from this author.

50 MECHANICAL MUSIC July/August 2021

In Memoriam In Memoriam
Herbert Singe, Sr. — 1926-2020

Compiled from internet sources

The family of Herbert J. “Herb”
Singe, collector, restorer, mechanic
and driver of antique cars has
announced his passing after a brief
illness in December 2020.

Herb was interested in most
anything mechanical, electrical or
the combination of the two as long as
it was more than 100 years old. This
included mechanical musical devices,
flashlights and other battery operated
lighted items, model airplane motors
and the miniature race cars that they
powered. He was a lifelong resident
of Hillside, NJ. He served in the U.S.
Navy from 1944-46.

Herb was a 70-year member of the
Horseless Carriage Club of America
(HCCA), the Antique Automobile Club
of America (AACA), and the Vintage
Motor Car Club of America. He was
a 50-year Rotarian, a Mason and
belonged to the Early Ford V-8 Club.
He was an MBSI member for many
years. Herb loved attending antique car
shows, tours and flea markets throughout
the U.S., England and France. He
participated in more than 70 AACA
Eastern Fall National Meets, beginning
with Devon, PA, in 1949 through
Gettysburg, PA, in 2020. Herb visited
all 66 Hershey Fall Car Meets. He
was eminently proud of this accomplishment.
He loved walking and later
“scootering” around old car swap
meets where he purchased mechanical
and electrical treasures from the
past 125 years.

Herb and his late wife, Margaret,
traveled extensively around America,
the Caribbean and Europe. They spent
time at their summer home at the
Jersey Shore. Herb loved to cruise

Herb Singe with his Wurlitzer 150 Band Organ in 2010.

with his family in Barnegat Bay in his
Chris Craft convertible cruiser, the
Wiki Wiki. They enjoyed meeting and
talking to their many friends over the
years. Herb was especially at home
working with his hands and tools in
his garage and driving 110-year-old
automobiles.

Herb and Margaret (and later,
their son, Herb) built the Addressing
Machine & Supply Co., which began
with Herb carrying a tool bag. They
built it into one of the most successful
companies that sold, serviced,
and rebuilt mailing machinery and
equipment. Herb’s family and his
friends were most important to
him. Herb was predeceased by his
mother, Lottie Mae; father, Herb,

a true craftsman who taught him
much about metal and woodworking
and who also made it to age 94; his
younger sister, Marilyn, and his
beloved wife and partner of 61 years,
Margaret.

Herb is survived by his loving children,
daughter Peggysue and son Herb
R. (note: subsequent to the writing of
this obituary Herb R. sadly passed
away); Herb R.’s wife, Belinda, and
Herb R. and Belinda’s children, Herb
William and Heidi, as well as many
friends and colleagues too numerous
to mention.

Herb hoped you would take to heart
what he believed: Life is for the living.
Most importantly, make the most of
your time here on Earth.

July/August 2021 MECHANICAL MUSIC 51

In Memoriam In Memoriam
Bill Harris — 1932-2021

The story of a collector and lover of mechanical music

By Kathleen and Christian Eric

William “Bill” Harris was born in
Des Lacs, ND, the oldest son of Max
and Sophie Harris. Bill was of Norwegian
descent and proud of it. He did
not have a typical carefree childhood,
but it is unlikely that he looked at it
as anything but idyllic. He lived with
his grandparents from a young age
and attended school in Des Lacs. Bill
moved with his grandparents from
Des Lacs to Baudette, MN, in the Fall
of 1941 after the crops were harvested
(which was an important consideration
in a rural community). He loved
living with his grandparents, and he
loved living in Minnesota. His grandparents
had purchased a streetcar
from the city of Duluth, MN, and made
it into their home. They placed this
home on the banks of the Rainy River.
His Grandpa, Fred, passed away when
Bill was 11 years old. A little over a
year later his Grandma died too and
Bill moved in with his father and
stepmother. This didn’t last long and
he struck out on his own. He headed
to Minnesota where he cut pulp wood
and kept up with the seasoned adult
lumber workers. This is no small
thing, as anyone connected with the
lumber industry will tell you. As a
former Oregonian, myself, I’m familiar
with the “old time” lumber trade skills
and I know that you counted yourself
lucky if you had all of your fingers at
the end of any given day.

Bill was 16 when he earned his pilot’s
license. He was a natural fit for the
Air Force, joining in 1950. Stationed
at Hamilton Air Force Base in San
Francisco, CA, he enjoyed a few warm

Bill Harris Bill and Rosanna Harris

California winters away from the frigid
temperatures of North Dakota. He kept
his pilot’s license for 72 years.

Bill was a man of many occupations.
After his military service, he returned
to North Dakota and worked for 11
years as a telegrapher for the Great
Northern Railroad. He bought and
sold agricultural steam tractors. Next,
he published a daily sheet called the
“Noon News” which was delivered
daily to a variety of restaurants in
Minot, ND. He also published a collector’s
magazine and various books,
one focused on the details of early
Winchester rifles. The printing press
for this publication was in the basement
of his family home. His young
pre-teen son, Fred, ran the press.

Bill was a collector of top-of-theline
Winchester rifles. He eventually
sold his collection to finance another
venture, a gun shop called Dakota
Firearms.

A major flood, and the additional
sadness of a divorce, prompted a
move to Denver, CO. He had intended
to make his way to Phoenix, AZ, but
his traveling money ran low before
he could get all the way to his destination.
Since he enjoyed skiing, hiking
and fishing, and Colorado had all of
these amenities, he felt like it wasn’t
a bad rest stop. While “resting” in
Denver, Bill also found himself the
fortunate winner of the Lotto. Well,
the “marital Lotto” that is. He met his
future wife, Rosanna, and as they say,
the rest is history. Those who knew
Bill know Rosanna was the love of his
life. While remaining absolute individuals,
Bill and Rosanna complimented
and supported one another in every
way. They married in 1979 and in the
ensuing years they were seldom apart.
Hollywood could not have cast a more
perfect script than when “Bill met
Rosanna.”

52 MECHANICAL MUSIC July/August 2021

Bill’s many interests led him to
finding new occupations in Colorado.
He published several magazines and a
variety of books. He bought and sold
vintage slot machines and restored
them for use in collectors’ homes. He
and his able crew of carvers produced
“slot statues” in the shape/form of a
full-size man. These statues held a
working slot machine as part of the
body form.

In addition to rifles and slot
machines, Bill had a growing collection
of nickelodeons, pianos, and
orchestrions. There came a point,
however, when, in order to grow his
burgeoning vintage slot machine
business, he and Rosanna found it
necessary to sell the piano collection.
Their Seeburg G was the prize of the
collection. Once sold, Bill thought he
would never see the machine again. In
this way, Bill and Rosanna found out
that collecting can sometimes be a
hellish pursuit, but a little of the sting
of having to sell his Seeburg G was
taken out of this transaction when the
machine was purchased by premier
restorer and collector Art Reblitz. It
always makes a collector happy to see
a cherished piece go to the right home.
Later in life, as fate would have it, while
trading one thing for another, Bill was
able to acquire another Seeburg G. His
new Seeburg was a top-notch machine
that he bought from an original owner
through a broker. Of the five pianos
in Bill’s collection this one was his
favorite.

In the late 1970s Bill began enjoying
trips to a large event in England, the
Great Dorset Steam Fair, founded in
1969. There, Bill met a 100-key Mortier
dance organ. It was 17-feet-6-inches
tall and needed a bit of open space to
perform. In 1981, while Rosanna and
Bill were attending this event together,
Bill told Rosanna he would like to own
an organ just like that Mortier. They
both knew it wouldn’t happen overnight
as they were still in the process
of growing their slot machine and
publishing businesses. As previously
mentioned, collectors always face a
choice, sometimes painful, especially
for passionate lovers of mechanical
music: do you make a living, or do you
collect yourselves into oblivion?

In 1996, Bill and Rosanna moved to
the hills of South Dakota where Bill
designed a log home, drawing from
his past experience in the multiple
trades and skills he had acquired since
living, surviving and thriving with his
beloved grandparents. He still had
the dream of owning a Mortier and
he was no spring chicken, but that
made no impact on his decisions.
He contracted with a young man
named Mark Hartman to build Bill
and Rosanna’s dream log home, one
that would also become home to their
expanding collection of European
dance organs, fairground organs, cafe
organs and orchestrions. A 90-footby-
40-foot building was constructed
with an inside ceiling height of 18
feet. It was just tall enough to fit the
Mortier dance organ with the facade
fully assembled. Bill and Rosanna
then went on a serious search to find
a Mortier. Bill, ever the overachiever,
found two and bought both of them.
To own even one of these physically
massive and musically monumental
machines would have been more than
enough for almost anyone, but as
many of the collectors in our society
know, that isn’t how collecting works.

For those of you who knew Bill, or
have enjoyed the Harris hospitality, as
well as their stunning collection, the
idea that this is the end of an era will
likely come to mind.

As Rosanna put it, “Bill was a writer,
a publisher, a salesman, a carpenter,

Rosanna and Bill Harris riding the Parker Carousel in Abilene, KS, in 2013.

a railroad man, a talker (oh yeah), a
font of knowledge and information,
restorer, collector and a seeker. He
was always interested in learning
more.”

Bill Harris passed away while
Rosanna played his favorite organs,
talking to him and recounting the
adventures they enjoyed acquiring
each of their treasures. He passed on
while listening to this music and we
assume, he now has a Mortier cranked
up playing his own particular favorites
while enjoying some beer and brats.
He’s probably wishing he had a bit
more time with his Rose.

Rest in peace you hard-headed
Norwegian.

Thank you to Rosanna Harris for
allowing me to crib from her formal
memorial, and as we both know, there
are so many more tales to tell. Perhaps
one day we will get the chance to do so.

Bill joined MBSI in 1968 when
Harvey Roehl was president of the
society so that he could attend the
convention in Binghamton, NY, that
year. Just as I was completing this
article, I heard from Rosanna who
assured us that, just as Bill would
have wanted it, she will continue to
invite interested people to see, hear
and appreciate the collection she
and Bill acquired. In fact, she said, if
one of the instruments still on their
want list comes on the market, she’ll
most likely acquire it and add to their
collection!

July/August 2021 MECHANICAL MUSIC 53

In Memoriam In Memoriam
Emery Prior — 1936-2021

By Carl and Joyce Mueller

It is with deep sadness that I
announce the passing of my friend
Emery “Driz” Prior on Apr. 9, 2021, at
home surrounded by his family. Emery
was born in Chagrin Falls, OH, in 1936
and spent his entire life in Northeast
Ohio. As a longtime member of MBSI
and the Automatic Musical Instrument
Collectors’ Association (AMICA),
Emery was an avid collector and
supporter of mechanical music,
amassing a sizable and unique collection
of outstanding pieces over the
years. He chaired various MBSI events
in Ohio and was in charge of the MBSI
Museum Committee Ohio Operation
in Northeast Ohio. He was a recipient
of numerous awards for his support
and dedication to many cultural and
civic organizations, including MBSI.

Emery spoke on numerous occasions
to these organizations about
mechanical music. He especially
enjoyed talking to school children
about mechanical music. He would
say he felt it was important to engage
young people in this hobby. His

friends from around the world. They
enjoyed leisurely days of swimming,
boating, and fishing.

One of our fondest memories was
at a picnic hosted by Emery and Tara
for some of his collector friends. This
turned into a hilarious event. After
lunch, he fired up his 1920 La France
Fire Truck, with everyone piled on the
running boards and back perch. Emery
then proceeded to drive us all through

collection was always open for fundraisers,
historical societies, and other
cultural groups. He traveled far and
wide, both here and in Europe, attending
numerous music conventions and
touring various musical collections
and events.

Emery was also an antique car
enthusiast, owning many rare and
unique examples of gas, electric
and steam automobiles. We traveled
together many miles attending car
shows and participated in numerous
car tours (runs) across the country.
One highlight was the Fall antique car
meet in Hershey, PA.

I also treasure our weekly lunch get
togethers that usually lasted well into
the afternoon.

Emery spent most of his working
career in the die cast industry. He
began as a salesman and ended up as
the owner of a company.

A highlight Emery often shared
about his family was a months-long
vacation on their Georgian Bay island
called “Ishpiming,” meaning “Heaven”
in the native Ojibway language, where
he reconnected with family and

In order for anything

A Lasting Legacy

once alive to have
meaning, its effect
must remain alive in
eternity in some way

– Ernest Becker, Philosopher
The Musical Box Society International
Throughout its history, MBSI has fostered an interest in and preservation of is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization.
automatic musical instruments. Your gift to the Endowment Fund will All donations to the Endowment
support programs that will help future generations appreciate these Fund are tax deductible.
achievements of man’s creative genius. Visit www.mbsi.org to learn more. A gift of any size is welcome.

54 MECHANICAL MUSIC July/August 2021

his hometown with sirens blaring
and riders screaming and laughing.
I am certain the townspeople who
observed this event thought that there
had been a breech in security from a
local senior citizen facility.

Later in life Emery spent many
pleasant hours researching the Prior
ancestry and genealogy. The Prior

family was among some of the earliest
settlers in Northeast Ohio, arriving in
about 1800 from New England.

Emery was truly an exceptional
American and special friend, never
complaining, always happy and positive.
He is survived by wife Tara, son
Chris (Wendi), daughter Ginny, and
grandchildren Cyrus and Dean.

Condolences

MBSI would like to offer
sincere condolences to the family
of Eugene “Gene” Saboda and his
wife, Maureen, as they mourn his
passing.

Advertise in The Mart

Have some spare parts or extra rolls taking up the space
where you should be installing your next acquisition?
Ready to trade up, but need to sell one of your current
pieces first? Get the word out to other collectors by
advertising in The Mart, an effective advertising tool at an
inexpensive price.

Go online to place your advertisement at www.mbsi.org,
fill out the form in the Mart section, or contact Russell
Kasselman at (253) 228-1634 to get started. You may also
email advertisements to editor@mbsi.org

July/August 2021 MECHANICAL MUSIC 55

Writer’s guidelines for Mechanical Music

The MBSI Publications Committee
wants to maintain and improve the
quality of its magazines. The following
guidelines are designed to help you in
preparing your articles for publication.

Title

Please include words that allow
your article to be categorized and
filed in an index of articles. You may
include a subtitle which may further
clarify the title.

Outline

Please organize your article in a
chronological, logical format. Avoid
lengthy paragraphs and sentences.

Punctuation

In most instances, quotation marks
are typed after periods and commas.
“This example has the proper format.”

Be consistent with capitalization,
numerals, names, etc. The Associated
Press Stylebook is used as a
basic reference tool for questions of
consistency. Decimal points should
be preceded by a 0 if they are only
fractional. Example: 0.25 is correct.
The editor and members of the Publications
Committee will proof read
articles for accuracy and consistency.

Footnotes and Bibliography

Provide footnotes and a bibliography
where appropriate. Provide
reference websites and a list of further
reading suggestions if available. When
quoting materials, note the numeric
footnote in the text.

Photographs

Provide digital photos whenever
possible. Try to eliminate background
clutter when taking pictures. Be sure
there is enough light or a good flash.
Take care to avoid the flash reflection
on the instruments. Shut off the date
and time recorder on your camera.
Set the camera to take photos with
the highest resolution possible. Send
in the high-resolution photos. Do not
reduce the size for the purposes of
email, instead send several emails
with a few photos in each email.

Printed photos are acceptable but not
recommended.

If photos correspond to the text to
illustrate a procedure or particular
piece of a music box, please note this
in the photograph’s file name. For
example, if you refer to Figure 1 in the
text please title the photo Figure1.jpg
to ensure the correct image appears in
the correct position on the page. If you
are not able to alter the photograph’s
title, please provide captions for
photos that clearly identify them and
where they should be positioned in
the article if that is important to the
presentation of the material.

Article Text

If possible, please submit the article
in either Microsoft Word format as a
.doc attachment or include it as text
in an email. As a last resort, a typed
document can be accepted via mail.
Do not type in all caps.

Review Process

All articles are reviewed by the
editor and the Publications Committee
chair and can be referred to one
or more members of the Publications
Committee or a recognized expert to
be checked for technical and historical
accuracy. Even though the article
is assumed to be the author’s opinion,
and thoughtful opinions are encouraged
to stimulate discussion and more
research, the author may be asked to
substantiate his/her statements.

If describing the restoration of
an antique instrument and using
materials not originally used in the
manufacture of that instrument, the
author should explain why he/she
chose to use alternative materials.

No article should be written in such
a way that it can be construed as
commercial advertising for one’s own
products, goods, or services or those
of any other individual or company.

The panel may make suggestions
which will be noted and the article
returned to the author for his/her
response. This is standard procedure
for any technical and professional
publication. The goal of the review

process is to help make every article
as good as it can possibly be and to
contain as few errors as possible. In
no manner should this process be
construed as censorship. The author
will receive a proof of the typeset and
formatted article. It should be read
carefully. After the second proof, no
changes can be made. It is understood
that the author can withdraw the
article at any time prior to publication.

Mechanical Music is published six
times per year. Materials intended
for publication should be submitted
approximately 60 days prior to the
publication date for any issue. For
example, materials to be published in
the March/April issue of Mechanical
Music (March 1 delivery date) should
be submitted on or about January 1.

The article publishing schedule is
dependent on the review process and
other obligations that are time sensitive.
Although every effort is made to
publish articles within a few months
of submission, the date of publication
is dependent on the number of articles
in process, their length, and the review
process. The editor will make every
effort to keep the author informed
about the probable publication date.
Authors may contact the editor at any
time for an update.

Thank you for your contribution(s)
to Mechanical Music. Your efforts
are of great value to this generation
and future generations of mechanical
music enthusiasts.

Send articles to:

MBSI Editor

130 Coral Court

Pismo Beach, CA 93449

Email: editor@mbsi.org

Phone: (253) 228-1634

Copy this page and keep it handy,
then look at your collection. There
certainly must be a musical piece that
you found after either searching for
it for many years or through unusual
circumstances. It could be a subject
for our popular, “The Hunt” series.
We look forward to receiving many
stories in the coming months.

56 MECHANICAL MUSIC July/August 2021

(802) 728-9694 (802) 728-9694
Music Box Company, Inc.

We restore Swiss cylinder and disc music boxes.

• Cylinders are repinned if necessary and all worn
parts are rebuilt to original specifications or better.
• Combs are repaired and tuned. Nickel plated parts
are replated as needed.
Trust your prized music box to the finest quality
restoration available. We have been accused of over
restoring! Better over than under I say!

We will pick up your music box anywhere east of the
Mississippi River, and transport it to our shop in
Randolph, Vermont, where it will be stored in a
climate-controlled area until it’s finished and returned.

We have a complete machine shop where we build Porter
Music Boxes, more than 3,000 so far. We are unique in
the industry in that we are capable of manufacturing any
part needed to restore any music box.

See our website, www.PorterMusicBox.com, to read
letters of recommendation and browse a selection of the
finest disc boxes currently being manufactured anywhere
in the world. We have twin disc models, single disc
models with 121/4” or15 1/ “ discs, and table models with
beautiful cabinets created for us in Italy. Also we can

occasions.

P.O Box 424
Randolph, VT 05060

support.

Call (802) 728-9694 or
email maryP@portermusicbox.com

The Organette Book
ISBN 978-0-9557869-5-2
colour throughout;Additional Illustrations of Models; Additions to Lists of The Organette Book
ISBN 978-0-9557869-5-2
colour throughout;Additional Illustrations of Models; Additions to Lists of
The Musical Box Society of Great Britain announces the publication of two new books
Published in September 2018

100pp Hard Back ISO A4 format [8.27” × 11.70”; Profusely illustrated in

Supplement to

colour throughout with Additional Illustrations of Models, 89 Additional Lid
The Disc Musical Box Pictures Additions to Lists of Models, Patents, Tune Lists & Serial Numbers;
Combined Index of Images in the original book and its Supplement.

Compiled and Edited by
Kevin McElhone

Originally published in 2012 and still available The Disc Musical Box

ISBN 978-0-9557869-6-9

is a compendium of information about Disc Musical Boxes, their Makers and
their Music; profusely illustrated in colour throughout with Illustrations of
each Disk Musical Box Model, and with Catalogue Scans, Lists of Models,
Patents & Tune Lists.

Supplement to

Compiled and Edited by
Kevin McElhone

100pp Hard Back ISO A4 format [8.27” × 11.70”; Profusely illustrated in

Patents, Tune Lists & Tuning Scales; A New Section on Trade Cards;
Combined Index of Images in the original book and its Supplement.

The Organette Book is a compendium of information about Organettes,
their Makers and their Music. Originally published in 2000 but now out of
print although second-hand copies are occasionally available in online
auctions.

************************************************************************************************************************
For all MBSGB Publications, please refer to the Musical Box Society of Great Britain website for further details including latest
availability, discounted prices and information on how to order. -www.mbsgb.org.uk

58 MECHANICAL MUSIC July/August 2021

Ben’s Player Piano Service
Repair and restoration of air powered mechanical music
devices of all description.
Player pianos
Reproduing pianos
Dance organs
Fairground organs
Nickelodeon pianos
Original historically
Correct techniques
And materials used
Throughout in the
Rebuilding process.
Benjamin R Gottfried
464 Dugan Road, Richfield Springs NY 13439
Bensplayerservice.com 315-858-2164
WWW.REEDERPIANOS.COM • 517-886-9447
Specializing in the Restora on and Retail of Fine Pianos
Available Reproducing Pianos:
Chickering •Marshall & Wendall •George Steck
Mason & Hamlin •Knabe •Aeolian
»QRS & AMPICO MUSIC ROLLS«
“Where Fine Pianos
Are Reborn”
Fine Art & Antique Consignments
The highest level of customer service plus private,
professional and confidential transactions.
120 Court Street, Geneseo, NY 14454 cottoneauctions.com
Call / Text: 256-702-7453
Email: four.four_time@yahoo.com
Purchasing single pieces or entire collections.
“I am still
delighted with
the machines
I bought from
you. Your prices
were fair, everything
was just as you
described it.”
– Joe… Baraboo, WI, April 2020
Browse our selection of music boxes,
music box disc, phonographs, cylinder
records and more on: 4-4time.com
4-4time.com
Ben’s Player Piano Service
Repair and restoration of air powered mechanical music
devices of all description.
Player pianos
Reproduing pianos
Dance organs
Fairground organs
Nickelodeon pianos
Original historically
Correct techniques
And materials used
Throughout in the
Rebuilding process.
Benjamin R Gottfried
464 Dugan Road, Richfield Springs NY 13439
Bensplayerservice.com 315-858-2164
WWW.REEDERPIANOS.COM • 517-886-9447
Specializing in the Restora on and Retail of Fine Pianos
Available Reproducing Pianos:
Chickering •Marshall & Wendall •George Steck
Mason & Hamlin •Knabe •Aeolian
»QRS & AMPICO MUSIC ROLLS«
“Where Fine Pianos
Are Reborn”
Fine Art & Antique Consignments
The highest level of customer service plus private,
professional and confidential transactions.
120 Court Street, Geneseo, NY 14454 cottoneauctions.com
Call / Text: 256-702-7453
Email: four.four_time@yahoo.com
Purchasing single pieces or entire collections.
“I am still
delighted with
the machines
I bought from
you. Your prices
were fair, everything
was just as you
described it.”
– Joe… Baraboo, WI, April 2020
Browse our selection of music boxes,
music box disc, phonographs, cylinder
records and more on: 4-4time.com
4-4time.com
July/August 2021 MECHANICAL MUSIC 59

A FANTASTIC AUCTION
Antique Music Boxes, Phonographs & Related ItemsAndrew & Harriet Ellis Collection
A FANTASTIC AUCTION
Antique Music Boxes, Phonographs & Related ItemsAndrew & Harriet Ellis Collection
To be held in the Barry Expo Center, on the Barry County Fairgrounds at 1350 N. M-37 Highway,
Hastings, Michigan – 4-1/2 miles northwest of Hastings on M-37 or approx. 20 miles southeast of

Grand Rapids on Beltline/M-37 to the auction location on:

Thursday, Friday & Saturday, September 2, 3 & 4, 2021Thursday starts at 1:00 P.M. following the luncheonFriday and Saturday begin at 9:00 A.M. each dayThis collection is phenomenal and the content is
staggering. Hundreds of machines, rarity afterrarity, and multiples of desirable and sought after
examples about. As found examples acquired and
accumulated by Mr. and Mrs. Ellis over the course

of five decades, makes this an offering that any

collector, museum and investor will not want to
miss.

Regretfully, Mr. Ellis passed away on February 27at the age of 87. This collection is a tribute to his
efforts to acquire and accumulate wonderful and

desirable machines in this field, along with his wife

Harriet during their 68 year marriage.

Plan on attending this terrific event. Call for your

copy of a complete catalog with over 1,000 pictures.

Rare Edison
Class M with
5” mandrel

Rare Multiphone Banjo Model
coin operated 24 cylinder
phonograph

Symphonion Eroica triple disc music
box in the Haydn Model, an extremely

hard to find example.

Steven E. Stanton

144 South Main St., P.O. Box 146 • Vermontville, MI 49096

(517) 331-8150

Phone 517-726-0181 • Fax 517-726-0060
e-mail: stantonsauctions@sbcglobal.net Michael C. Bleisch
website: www.stantons-auctions.com (517) 231-0868

Stanton’s Auctioneers & Realtors conducting auctions throughout Michigan and across the United States since 1954.
Over 7500 sales conducted and 4,000 parcels of real estate sold at auction. Call us to discuss your sale with a firm has the
experience to properly handle the job right for you. Steven E. Stanton, (517) 331-8150, Email – stevenEstanton@gmail.com

Sing a Different Tune!

Expand your library of discs! With over 9,500 discs
in stock, I’m sure to have something for your machine!

Here’s a small sampling of sizes/brands on hand:

Ariston – organette – 13” Mira – 9”, 12”, 15”, 18”
Celesta – 15” Monopol – 13”
Criterion/Olympia – 15”, 20” Polyphon – 6”, 8”, 9”, 11”, 15”, 19”, 24”
Edelweiss – 8”,12” Regina – 11”, 12”, 15”, 20”, 27”
Gem Roller Organ – 6” Stella – 9”, 14”, 15”, 17”
Grand Roller Organ – 13” Symphonion – 8” through 20”
Harmonia – 9” Thorens – 4.5”, 11”

Imperial Symphonion – 10”, 13”,14”, 15”
Kalliope – 5”, 7”, 9”, 13”, 14”,17”

Email/call me with what you’re looking for. I can provide lists with

title/cond./price for most of what’s in stock!
While listening to ‘new’ music…sit back and read a new book!

Cylinder Music Box Repair – new from the AMBC, UK – very
limited edition, only 8 in stock – no more available. -$65 + pstg.

The Music Box Makers of Switzerland – from theAMBC, UK –
tracing the history of Swiss music box makers. -$65 + pstg.

The Disc Musical Box, by K. McElhone – a fabulous reference book
with background histories, comb tuning scales, list of makers &
models, $60 + pstg. Supplement to the book with even more info!
$30. Both: $80 + pstg.

Nancy Fratti Music Boxes 315-684-9977
PO Box 400 Canastota NY 13032 USA

musicbox@frontiernet.net

FOR SALE
REGINA 151/2 MUSIC BOX. Mechanism was

THE MART

professionally restored. Bought new combs
RESTORED MUSICAL BOXES Offering a from Porter and they have been tuned and

Display Advertising Dimensions and Costs
Dimensions 1 issue 3 issues* 6 issues*
Back Cover 8.75” x 11.25” $600 $540 $510
Inside Covers 8.75” x 11.25” $450 $405 $383
Full Page 7.25” x 9.75” $290 $261 $246
Half Page 7.25” x 4.5” $160 $144 $136
Quarter Page 3.5” x 4.5” $90 $81 $77
Eighth Page 3.5” x 2.125” $50 $45 $43
Add a 10% surcharge to the prices shown above if you are not a member of MBSI.
*Display Discounts shown above are calculated as follows:
3 consecutive ads 10% Discount
6 consecutive ads 15% Discount

ALL ADS MUST BE PREPAID

We accept VISA/MC and Paypal.

ADVERTISING DEADLINES:

The 1st day of each even month: Feb., Apr., Jun, Aug., Oct. and Dec.

Display ads may be submitted camera-ready, as PDF files, or with text and
instructions. File submission guidelines available on request.

Errors attributable to Mechanical Music, and of a significant nature, will be
corrected in the following issue without charge, upon notification.

CLASSIFIED ADS

• 47¢ per word
• ALL CAPS, italicized and bold
words: 60¢ each.
• Minimum Charge: $11 per ad.
• Limit: One ad in each category
• Format: See ads for style
• Restrictions: Ads are strictly
limited to mechanical musical
instruments and related items and
services
• MBSI member’s name must
appear in ad
• Non-members may advertise at the
rates listed plus a 10% surcharge
PLEASE NOTE:

The first two words (or more
at your choice) and the member’s
name will be printed in all caps/bold
and charged at 60¢ per word.

Mechanical Music

Mechanical Music is mailed to all
members at the beginning of every
odd month — January, March, May,
July, September and November.

MBSI Advertising Statement

It is to be hereby understood
that the placing of advertisements
by members of the Society in this
publication does not constitute nor
shall be deemed to constitute any
endorsement or approval of the business
practices of advertisers. The
Musical Box Society International
accepts no liability in connection
with any business dealings between
members and such advertisers.

It is to be further understood that
members are to rely on their own
investigation and opinion regarding
the reputation and integrity of
advertisers in conducting such business
dealings with said advertisers.

variety of antique musical boxes, discs,
orphan cylinders, reproducing piano rolls &
out of print books about mechanical music.
BILL WINEBURGH 973-927-0484 Web:
antiquemusicbox.us

THE GOLDEN AGE of AUTOMATIC MUSICAL
INSTRUMENTS By ART REBLITZ.
Award-winning classic that brings historical,
musical, and technical information to life
with hundreds of large, vivid color photos.
We guarantee you’ll find it to be one of the
most interesting, inspiring, informative books
you have in your library–or your money back.
Everyone has been delighted, and some
readers have ordered several copies. Get
your copy today for $99 plus S/H. MECHANICAL
MUSIC PRESS-M, 70 Wild Ammonoosuc
Rd., Woodsville, NH 03785. (603) 747-2636.

http://www.mechanicalmusicpress.com

Each One
Reach One
New Member
installed. Plays as it should. New top reproduced.
Have receipts for work and parts.
$2,100.00. Call JON GULBRANDSON, at
(763) 923 5748

MARVELS OF MECHANICAL MUSIC -MBSI
Video. Fascinating and beautifully-made
film which explains the origins of automatic
musical instruments, how they are collected
and preserved today, and their historic
importance, MBSI members and collections
are featured. $20 USD. Free shipping in the
continental U.S. Additional postage charges
apply for other locations. Purchase now at
www.mbsi.org

SUBMIT ADS TO:

MBSI Ads
130 Coral Court
Pismo Beach, CA 93449
(253) 228-1634
Email: editor@mbsi.org

62 MECHANICAL MUSIC July/August 2021

WANTED SERVICES WANTED SERVICES
Display Advertisers

LOWREY OR HAMMOND ORGAN that plays
piano rolls or the player part, working or not.
These were made in the early 1980s. Contact
LES BEEBE, at (609) 654-2789.

SEEKING PLANS or measurement for a
Polyphon lower cabinet for 19.5 size disc.
Contact ROD MOORE, rodcrna4u@gmail.
com or (336) 337-1165 North Carolina

BOOK OR ROLL ORGAN in working condition.
Contact DAN ALBRECHT at danalbreht@
frontiernet.net or (763) 972-6202

SERVICES
REPRODUCTION POLYPHON discs; Catalogs
available for 19 5/8”, 22 1/8”, and 24
1/2”. DAVID CORKRUM 5826 Roberts Ave,
Oakland, CA 94605-1156, 510-569-3110,
www.polyphonmusic.com

Add a photo to your ad!
You know the old saying, “A photo
is worth 1,000 words!” For $30 you
can add a photo to your ad in the
Mart.
A photo makes your ad stand out
on the page and quickly draws a
reader’s interest in the item.
Email your advertisement with
photo to editor@mbsi.org or call
(253) 228-1634 for more details.
SAVE $’s on REUGE & THORENS MUSIC
BOX REPAIR & RESTORATION – MBSI
MEMBERS RECEIVE WHOLESALE PRICING.

40 + Years experience servicing all makes
& models of cylinder and disc music boxes,
bird boxes, bird cages, musical watches, Anri
musical figurines, et al. All work guaranteed.
We’re the only REUGE FACTORY AUTHORIZED
Parts & Repair Service Center for all of North
America. Contact: DON CAINE -The Music
Box Repair Center Unlimited, 24703 Pennsylvania
Ave., Lomita, CA 90717-1516. Phone:

(310) 534-1557 Email: MBRCU@AOL.COM.
On the Web: www.musicboxrepaircenter.com
Advertise in The Mart

Have some spare parts or extra
rolls taking up the space where
you should be installing your next
acquisition? Ready to trade up,
but need to sell one of your current
pieces first? Get the word out to
other collectors by advertising in
The Mart, an effective advertising
tool at an inexpensive price.

Fill out the form below and mail to
MBSI at 130 Coral Court, Pismo
Beach, CA 93449. Call (253) 2281634
with questions.

3………. Renaissance Antiques
55…….. Music Box Restorations
55…….. Miller Organ Clock
57…….. Porter Music Box Company
58…….. MBSGB
58…….. American Treasure Tour
59…….. Reeder Pianos
59…….. Cottone Auctions
59…….. Ben’s Player Piano Service
59…….. 4-4Time.com
60…….. Stanton Auctions
61…….. Nancy Fratti Music Boxes
67…….. Southeast Chapter
68…….. Marty Persky Music Boxes

Name
Phone
Email
Text of ad

Mechanical
Music
Directory
MeMbers,
MuseuMs,
& Dealers
2020 2021
ORDER EXTRA COPIES

The 2020-2021 Directory of Members,
Museums and Dealers is only $10 for
members. (International shipping is extra)

Call MBSI Administrator Jacque Beeman at

(417) 886-8839 or send a check to:
Musical Box Society International
P.O. Box 10196
Springfield, MO 65808-0196
July/August 2021 MECHANICAL MUSIC 63

OFFICERS, TRUSTEES & COMMITTEES of the
MUSICAL BOX SOCIETY INTERNATIONAL®

OFFICERS
President

Tom Kuehn
4 Williams Woods
Mahtomedi, MN 55115
kuehn001@umn.edu

Vice President

David Corkrum
5826 Roberts Avenue
Oakland, CA 94605
musikwerke@att.net

Recording Secretary

Linda Birkitt
PO Box 541
San Juan Capistrano, CA 92693
scarletpimpernel28@yahoo.com

Treasurer

Edward Kozak
3615 North Campbell Avenue
Chicago, IL 60618
ekozak1970@gmail.com

TRUSTEES

Dave Calendine
Bob Caletti
Ed Cooley
Dave Corkrum

G.Wayne Finger
Matt Jaro
Tom Kuehn
Mary Ellen Myers
MBSI FUNDS

COMMITTEES
Audit

Edward Cooley, Chair, Trustee
Dave Calendine, Trustee
Matt Jaro, Trustee

Endowment Committee

Edward Kozak, Treasurer, Chair
Edward Cooley, Trustee
Dave Calendine, Trustee
B Bronson
Wayne Wolf

Executive Committee

Tom Kuehn, Chair, President
David Corkrum, Vice President
Clay Witt, Immediate Past Pres.

G.Wayne Finger, Trustee
Mary Ellen Myers, Trustee
Finance Committee

Edward Kozak, Chair, Treasurer
Wayne Wolf, Vice Chair
David Corkrum, Vice President
Edward Cooley, Trustee
Peter Both

Marketing Committee

Bob Smith, Chair
Dave Calendine, Trustee

G.Wayne Finger, Trustee
Judy Caletti
Meetings Committee

Matt Jaro, Chair, Trustee
Judy Caletti
Tom Chase
Cotton Morlock
Rich Poppe

Membership Committee

Chair, TBD
Mary Ellen Myers, Trustee,

Southeast
Linda Birkitt, Southern California
Gary Goldsmith, Snowbelt
Christine Hopwood, Golden Gate
Julie Morlock, Southeast
Rob Pollock, Mid-America
Dan Wilson, Piedmont
Gerald Yorioka, Northwest Int’l
TBD, East Coast
TBD, Great Lakes
TBD, National Capital
TBD, Sunbelt

Museum Committee

Sally Craig, Chair
Clay Witt, Immediate Past Pres.
Glenn Crater, National Capital
Ken Envall, Southern California
Julian Grace, Sunbelt
Matt Jaro, National Capital
Rob Pollock, Mid-America
Richard Simpson, East Coast

Museum Sub-Committees

Ohio Operations
Rob Pollock

SPECIAL ACTIVITIES
Publications Back Issues:

Jacque Beeman

Regina Certificates:

B Bronson

MBSI Pins and Seals:

Jacque Beeman

Librarian:

Jerry Maler

Historian:

Bob Yates

Nominating Committee

Dan Wilson, Chair
Clay Witt, Immediate Past Pres.
Bob Caletti, Golden Gate, Trustee
Mary Ellen Myers, Trustee,

Southeast
Jonathan Hoyt, Golden Gate
Robin Biggins, Southern California
Aaron Muller, Lake Michigan

Publications Committee

Bob Caletti, Chair, Trustee
Steve Boehck
Dave Corkrum, Vice President
Christian Eric
Kathleen Eric
Terry Smythe

Publications
Sub-Committee

Website Committee
Rick Swaney, Chair
B Bronson
Don Henry
Knowles Little, Web Secretary

Special Exhibits Committee

Chair Mary Ellen Myers, Trustee,
Southeast
David Corkrum, Vice President,

Golden Gate
Donald Caine, Southern California
Jack Hostetler, Southeast
Knowles Little, National Capital
Judy Miller, Piedmont
Aaron Muller, Lake Michigan
Wayne Myers, Southeast
Rick Swaney, Northwest Int’l

MBSI Editorial Office:

Iron Dog Media
130 Coral Court
Pismo Beach, CA 93449
editor@mbsi.org

Members can donate to these funds at any time.
Send donations to: General Fund (unrestricted)
MBSI Administrator, Endowment Fund (promotes the purposes of MBSI, restricted)
PO Box 10196, Ralph Heintz Publications Fund (special literary projects)
Springfield, MO 65808-0196. Museum Fund (supports museum operations)

All manuscripts will be subject to editorial review. Committee and the Editorial Staff. are considered to be the author’s personal opinion.
Articles submitted for publication may be edited The article will not be published with significant The author may be asked to substantiate his/her
or rejected at the discretion of the Publications changes without the author’s approval. All articles statements.

64 MECHANICAL MUSIC July/August 2021

CALENDAR OF EVENTS

Date Event Location Sponsor
Aug. 30-Sept. 4, 2021 MBSI Annual Meeting Ft. Myers, FL Southeast Chapter

When will your chapter meet next? Holding a “virtual meeting?” Let us know!
Send in your information by Aug. 1, 2021, for the September/October issue.
Don’t hold your questions until the next chapter meeting. Ask them today on our Facebook discussion group

-the Music Box Society Forum.
Please send dates for the Calendar of Events to Russell Kasselman (editor@mbsi.org)

CONTACTS

Administrator Jacque Beeman handles back issues (if available) $6;
damaged or issues not received, address changes, MBSI Directory
listing changes, credit card charge questions, book orders, status of your
membership, membership renewal, membership application, and MBSI
Membership Brochures.
P.O. Box 10196
Springfield, MO 65808-0196
Phone/Fax (417) 886-8839
jbeeman.mbsi@att.net

Traveling MBSI Display
Bill Endlein
21547 NW 154th Pl.
High Springs, FL 32643-4519
Phone (386) 454-8359
sembsi@yahoo.com

Regina Certificates: Cost $5.
B Bronson
Box 154
Dundee, MI 48131
Phone (734) 529-2087
art@d-pcomm.net

Advertising for Mechanical Music
Russell Kasselman
Iron Dog Media
130 Coral Court
Pismo Beach, CA 93449
Phone (253) 228-1634
editor@mbsi.org

CHAPTERS

Snowbelt

Chair: Tracy Tolzmann
(651) 674-5149
Dues $10 to Gary Goldsmith
17160 – 245th Avenue
Big Lake, MN 55309

Southeast

Chair: Jack Hostetler
(352) 633-1942
Dues $5 to Clay Witt
820 Del Rio Way Unit 203
Merritt Island, FL 32953

Museum Donations
Sally Craig,
2720 Old Orchard Road
Lancaster, PA 17601
Phone (717) 295-9188
rosebud441@juno.com

MBSI website
Rick Swaney,
4302 209th Avenue NE
Sammamish, WA 98074
Phone (425) 836-3586
r_swaney@msn.com

Web Secretary
Knowles Little
9109 Scott Dr.
Rockville, MD 20850
Phone (301) 762-6253
kglittle@verizon.net

CHAPTERS

East Coast

Chair: Elise Low
(203) 457-9888
Dues $5 to Roger Wiegand
281 Concord Road
Wayland, MA 01778
or pay via PayPal, send to
treasurereccmbsi@gmail.com

Golden Gate

Chair: Jonathan Hoyt
jenjenhoyt@yahoo.com
Dues $5 to Dave Corkrum
5826 Roberts Ave.
Oakland, CA 94605

Japan

Chair: Naoki Shibata
81-72986-1169
naotabibito396amb@salsa.ocn.ne.jp
Treasurer: Makiko Watanabe
makikomakiko62@yahoo.co.jp

Lake Michigan

Chair: Aaron Muller
(847) 962-2330
Dues $5 to James Huffer
7930 N. Kildare
Skokie, Illinois 60076

Mid-America

Chair: Rob Pollock
(937) 508-4984
Dues $10 to Harold Wade
4616 Boneta Road
Medina, OH 44256

National Capital

Chair: Matthew Jaro
(301) 482-2008
Dues $5 to Florie Hirsch
8917 Wooden Bridge Road
Potomac, MD 20854

Northwest International

Chair: Rick Swaney
(425) 836-3586
Dues $7.50/person to Kathy Baer
8210 Comox Road
Blaine, WA 98230

Piedmont

Temp Chair: Dan Wilson
(919) 740-6579
musicboxmac@mac.com
Dues $10 to Dan Wilson
4804 Latimer Road
Raleigh, NC. 276099

Southern California

Chair: Robin Biggins
(310) 377-1472
Dues $10 to Diane Lloyd
1201 Edgeview Drive
Cowan Hgts, CA 92705

Sunbelt

Chair: Ray Dickey
(713) 467-0349
Dues $10 to Diane Caudill
4585 Felder Road
Washington, TX 77880

Copyright 2021 the Musical Box Society International, all rights reserved. Permission to reproduce by any means, in whole or in part, must be obtained in writing
from the MBSI Executive Committee and the Editor. Mechanical Music is published in the even months. ISSN 1045-795X

July/August 2021 MECHANICAL MUSIC 65

HALF PAGE
HORIZONTAL
7.25” x 4.5”
QUARTER
PAGE
3.5” x 4.5”
EIGHTH
PAGE
3.5” x 2.125”
Mechanical Music
Devoted to All Automatic Musical Instruments
Journal of the Musical Box Society International
Mechanical Music
Journal of the Musical Box Society International
Devoted to All Automatic Musical Instruments
Volume 63, No. 3 May/June 2017
Mechanical Music
Journal of the Musical Box Society International
Devoted to All Automatic Musical Instruments
Volume 63, No. 1 January/February 2017
DISPLAY ADVERTISING DIMENSIONS & PER ISSUE COSTS
Dimensions 1 issue 2-3 issues 4-6 issues
Back Cover 8.75” x 11.25” $600 $540 $510
Inside Covers 8.75” x 11.25” $450 $405 $383
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Half Page 7.25” x 4.5” $160 $144 $136
Quarter Page 3.5” x 4.5” $90 $81 $77
Eighth Page 3.5” x 2.125” $50 $45 $43
Non-members pay a 10% surcharge on the above rates
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6 consecutive ads 15% Discount
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Mechanical Music is mailed to more
than 1,500 members of the Musical
Box Society International six (6) times
per year.
PRINTING & ARTWORK SPECIFICATIONS
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ALL ADS MUST
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The Musical Box Society International
accepts VISA, Mastercard and online
payments via PayPal.
Contact MBSI Publisher Russell Kasselman at (253) 228-1634 or editor@mbsi.org
CLASSIFIED ADS
• 47¢ per word
• ALL CAPS, italicized and
bold words: 60¢ each.
• Minimum Charge: $11.
• Limit: One ad in each
category
• Format: See ads for style
• Restrictions: Ads are strictly
limited to mechanical musical
instruments and related
items and services

We’re getting our vaccine shots.
We’ve made our plans.
It’s time to make yours!
Fantastic
Collection
Tours
Don’t miss an opportunity to see the Southeast’s premier
collections of mechanical music. This is a once-in-a-lifetime
chance to see and hear these marvelous instruments, live and
in person. These are each “must see” collections.
Amazing instruments! Workshops! The Mart!
Entertainment! Ice Cream Social!
International experts! Local “open houses”
This is going to be a
GREAT convention!
Aug. 30 Sept.
4, 2021
pianos ever made), and the 1876 Dufner Barrel orchestrion with
nine barrels that is one of only three known Dufner instruments.
Also see and hear his replica Seeburg KT Special nickelodeon,
one of about 60 he manufactured in the 1980s! Tour his work-
shop and a display of mechanical music, automata and opera
Registration forms for this meeting will be
in the May/June issue of Mechanical Music.
Fort Myers, Florida
We’re getting our vaccine shots.
We’ve made our plans.
It’s time to make yours!
Fantastic
Collection
Tours
Don’t miss an opportunity to see the Southeast’s premier
collections of mechanical music. This is a once-in-a-lifetime
chance to see and hear these marvelous instruments, live and
in person. These are each “must see” collections.
Amazing instruments! Workshops! The Mart!
Entertainment! Ice Cream Social!
International experts! Local “open houses”
This is going to be a
GREAT convention!
Aug. 30 Sept.
4, 2021
pianos ever made), and the 1876 Dufner Barrel orchestrion with
nine barrels that is one of only three known Dufner instruments.
Also see and hear his replica Seeburg KT Special nickelodeon,
one of about 60 he manufactured in the 1980s! Tour his work-
shop and a display of mechanical music, automata and opera
Registration forms for this meeting will be
in the May/June issue of Mechanical Music.
Fort Myers, Florida
The JANCKO Collections

Joel and Pam Jancko’s “Backyard Museum” features a group
of buildings each with a magical display of Americana from
the Civil War through WWI. The Barn is where you will see
and hear a wide variety of automatic musical instruments,
including an Imhof & Mukle, Seeburg H, Wurlitzer CX, Double
Mills Violano, Cremona K, Weber Unica, Encore Banjo, Model
B Harp, Bruder band organ, Limonaire band organ, Bruder
monkey organ, American Photo Player and classic Mortier, as
well as a variety of cylinder and disc music boxes, organettes
and phonographs. Also walk through a service station, fire
station, bicycle shop, and cinema. In the Annex you will see
rare military artifacts (including a working Gatling gun) and
an authentic log cabin, general store, 1910 soda fountain,
game room and saloon. Outside, explore the fort. Listen to a
performance on the crown jewel of the collection – the OPUS
1616, a 3/23 Wurlitzer Theater Organ, installed in the newly
constructed dance hall.

The EDGERTON Collection

Bill Edgerton’s collection has it all -big and small. It includes
four fairground organs (Gavioli, Bruder, Limonaire and
Gasparini), a large Decap, an Ampico A piano with some
unusual music choices, several special cylinder and disc
boxes, barrel pianos and barrel organs, an Orpheus disc-playing
piano, a Piano Melodico (one of the most ornate 65-note

posters. You must see his framed artwork that smiles at you….
then it doesn’t!

The YAFFE Collection

Find a comfortable couch and enjoy Mark and Christel Ya§e’s
beautifully-appointed venue while listening to their large and
varied group of instruments, including the earliest known
Francois Nicole overture music box plus Falcone, Reymond
Nicole, F Nicole and Nicole grand format overture boxes.
Single overture boxes by Ducommon Girod, Mertert, and
Nicole and a Captains table interchangeable overture cylinder
box with 12 cylinders are on the menu. See rare and unique
automata – a drunk on the bench, a Cambodian dancer (one of
two known), a life size flute player, a Japanese mask seller and
an acrobat. Don’t forget the organs, an 84-key Mortier cafe,
112-key Mortier dance organ, 121-key DeCap dance organ plus
European orchestrions (Marenghi orchestrion, Welte style 3 in
custom case, Weber Otero, Weber violano, Weber Unika,
Popper Roland, Hupfeld universe with moving scene, Hupfeld
Helios 1/31, Phillips Paganini 3 Orchestrion), custom art case
pianos (Kanabe, Mason Hamlin and Chickering); the latest
known Hupfeld Phonolizt Violina; American nickelodeons
(Mills double violano in custom Gothic case, Encore original
(not repo) banjo, Wurlitzer, Violano, Seeburg J with bird pipes,
Nelson Wiggins 6x and 8x, Cremona J and G, Link with endless
roll). And much more!

7

Mechanical Music at its Best

Instrument Brokering & Locating / Appraisals / Inspections / Free Consultation

Mechmusic.com

11’ tall
Welte 4 Concert Violina Orchestra Wurlitzer CX with Bells Welte Brisgovia C Luxus

Four Weber Orchestrions with Animated Scenes!

Unika Maesto Otero Grandezza

Jaeger Brommer
42’er Violinopan 20’er Automaton
Seeburg KT Special
Visit: Mechmusic.com Mills Bowfront Violano
Call Marty Persky at 847-675-6144 or Email: Marty@Mechmusic.com
for further information on these and other fine instruments.

Volume 67, No. 3 May/June 2021

Mechanical Music

Journal of the Musical Box Society International
Devoted to All Automatic Musical Instruments

Volume 67, No. 3 May/June 2021

PuRchAse • sAles • consignment

of Quality Cylinder & Disc Music Boxes, Musical Clocks & Automata

For over forty years we’ve placed fine antiques in collections around the world.
Our reputation has been built upon appreciative buyers and satisfied sellers.
Pictured are a few of the musical antiques in our current and recent inventories.

496 First Street, California 93463 • Ron & Julie Palladino
Open Seven Days a Week 10-6 • 805-452-5700
www.renantiques.com

Visit the charming Danish Village of Solvang, half an hour above Santa Barbara in the beautiful Central Coast Wine Country
RENAISSANCE ANTIQUE S

Renaissance Antiques of solvang

Mechanical Music

Journal of the Musical Box Society International

Devoted to All Automatic Musical Instruments

Volume 67, No. 3 May/June 2021

Editor/Publisher

Russell Kasselman

(253) 228-1634

editor@mbsi.org

MBSI Editorial Office:

Iron Dog Media

130 Coral Court

Pismo Beach, CA 93449

editor@mbsi.org

Publications Chair

Bob Caletti

All manuscripts will be subject to editorial
review. Articles submitted for publication may
be edited or rejected at the discretion of the
Publications Committee and the Editorial
Staff. The article will not be published with
significant changes without the author’s
approval. All articles are considered to be the
author’s personal opinion. The author may be
asked to substantiate his/her statements.

Mechanical Music (ISSN 1045-795X) is published by
the Musical Box Society International, 130 Coral Court,
Pismo Beach, CA 93449 six times per year. A Directory
of Members, Museums and Dealers is published
biennially. Domestic subscription rate, $60. Periodicals
postage paid at San Luis Obispo, CA and additional
mailing offices.

Copyright 2021. The Musical Box Society International,
all rights reserved. Mechanical Music
cannot be copied, reproduced or transmitted in
whole or in part in any form whatsoever without
written consent of the Editor and the Executive
Committee.

MEMBERS: SEND ADDRESS CORRECTIONS TO:
MBSI, PO Box 10196,
Springfield, MO 65808-0196
Or, make corrections on the website at www.mbsi.org.

POSTMASTER: SEND ADDRESS CHANGES TO

MBSI, PO Box 10196,
Springfield, MO 65808-0196

MBSI NEWS
5 President’s Message
7 Editor’s Notes
8 Outreach Corner

11 Mid-Year Trustee
Meeting Minutes

14 Trustee Nominee Bio,
Richard Dutton

50 In Memoriam

Chapter Reports

51 Golden Gate

Features

16 Nickel Notes
by Matt Jaro

23 A changeable cylinder
box prototype

30 Plérodienique, a special
kind of music box

44 Organilleros, Mexico
City’s music makers

MBSI has replanted 139 trees so far as
part of the Print ReLeaf program.

On the Cover

A changeable cylinder prototype
of unknown maker is detailed
by Bill Wineburgh who recently
restored this instrument to pristine
condition. Page 23.

Plérodienique

Peter Both delves into the known
boxes of this type, providing details
on each one. Page 30.

May/June 2021 MECHANICAL MUSIC 3

MEMBERSHIP APPLICATION MEMBERSHIP APPLICATION
M
M
echanical music is a fascinating hobby! It
appeals to the artist, historian, craftsman, and

musician all at the same time. Play an automatic

musical instrument in a room full of people and all else

will stop as the machine enraptures the audience with the

sparkling melodies of yesteryear!

Mechanical music instruments are any sort of auto

matically-played machine that produces melodic sound

including discs and cylinder music boxes that pluck a steel

comb; orchestrions and organs that engage many instru

ments at once using vacuum and air pressure; player and

reproducing pianos that use variable vacuum to strike piano

wires; phonographs; and self-playing stringed, wind, and

percussion instruments of any kind.

The Musical Box Society International, chartered by the

New York State Board of Regents, is a nonprofit society

dedicated to the enjoyment, study, and preservation of

automatic musical instruments. Founded in 1949, it now

has members around the world, and supports various

educational projects.

Regional chapters and an Annual Meeting held each year
in different cities within the United States enable members
to visit collections, exchange ideas, and attend educational
workshops. Members receive six issues of the journal,
Mechanical Music, which also contains advertising space
for members who wish to buy, sell, and restore mechanical
musical instruments and related items. Members also
receive the biennial MBSI Directory of Members, Museums,
and Dealers.

The only requirements for membership are an interest in
automatic music machines and the desire to share information
about them. And you’ll take pride in knowing you
are contributing to the preservation of these marvelous
examples of bygone craftsmanship.

More Information online at www.MBSI.org, or

Call: (417) 886-8839, or

Email: jbeeman.mbsi@att.net

Copy this page, and give it to a potential new member. Spread the word about MBSI.

Last name First Name Initial

Last Name First Name Initial

Address

City State / Zip Postal Code / Country

Phone Fax E-mail

Sponsor (optional)

Membership Dues

US members (per household)……………………………………….$60
Student Membership $20

(online journal access only)

Canada…………………………………………………………………………$70
Other International………………………………………………………$75

(Add $20 for International air mail.)

Join online: www.mbsi.org/join-mbsi

Check or Money Order Payable to: MBSI Treasurer (US Funds Only)
Mail to: New Member Registration – MBSI
PO Box 10196
Springfield, MO 65808-0196

Visa/MasterCard

Exp. Date CCV

Signature

4 MECHANICAL MUSIC May/June 2021

By Tom Kuehn

MBSI President

Several items deserve attention as
we transition from spring into summer.
I will begin with some important
decisions made at the recent Trustees’
mid-year meeting held via Zoom on
March 20. See the minutes on pages
11–13.

The COVID pandemic continues
to shape many of our discussions.
The most important decision before
the board was whether to continue
planning for our annual meeting at
the end of the summer to be hosted by
the Southeast Chapter. I asked Matt
Jaro, chair of our Meetings Committee,
to conduct a brief survey of our
members who normally attend annual
meetings to determine if they would
attend an annual meeting this year if
it was conducted in a safe manner.
Results showed that approximately
2/3 would do so. There was sentiment
that not holding a meeting again
this year could lead to a decrease in
meeting attendance in the future.
Members of the Southeast Chapter
voted to continue the planning efforts
at their March 19th meeting. The next
day, the trustees voted unanimously
to continue preparations under the
assumption that the pandemic would
largely be over by the end of the
summer and additional safety precautions
would be implemented to protect
the attendees. Registration fees will be
fully refunded up to August 1st to help
alleviate members’ financial concerns.
So let’s remain optimistic that many of
us will be able to meet again at the end
of August and share a wonderful time
together.

The Trustees voted to grant $10,000
from the MBSI Endowment Fund
to the endowment fund that helps
support the Herschell Carrousel
Factory Museum for restoration and
maintenance of band organs and roll
perforating equipment. The initial
request had been made last year. The
trustees received additional clarifying

information concerning the museum’s
endowment fund that allowed the
request to be granted at this meeting.

Amendments to the society’s bylaws
and policy and procedures documents
were approved by the board. Some
changes were approved at the emergency
board meeting held last May
as a result of the cancellation of the
annual meeting last year. The substantive
changes this time completed the
changes in society operation that
would be needed should an annual
meeting be canceled or held without
a quorum. After the board approved
the changes, members of the Executive
Committee went through both
final documents very carefully before
giving their approval. Copies of both
revised documents can be found on
the “Members Only” section of our
website.

The bylaws and supplemental

material submitted by the new Japan
Chapter were approved by the board.
Naoki Shibata is the new Chapter
Chair. I sent Naoki my congratulations
for completing the last requirement
for the establishment of a new MBSI
chapter.

In other matters, the Executive
Committee agreed to a request by
our sister organization in France,
AAIMM, to reprint, in French, the
article “The Queen, the Sultan and
the Organ Clock” by Dr. Robert Penna
published in the September/October
2020 issue of Mechanical Music. The
article is scheduled to appear shortly
in the AAIMM publication, issue 118.
It is refreshing to know that our sister
organizations can collaborate in a
number of ways.

I wish all of you a safe and rewarding
summer and hope to see many of
you in Ft. Myers.

MBSI MEMBERSHIP DRIVE
EACH ONE/REACH ONE NEW MEMBER

MBSI is always interested in increasing its membership and is pleased to offer new members a $15
discount off their rst year’s membership. You are considered a new member if you have not been a
member in the past three years. This discount is also available on our website, www.mbsi.org.

Current MBSI members who sponsor a new member will receive a $5 discount off their next year’s
MBSI membership renewal for each sponsorship. Attach a copy of the discount voucher below to a
copy of the membership application form on Page 4 of this issue of Mechanical Music. Place your
name as “sponsor” on the application form.

Please make copies of these forms as needed and send the completed forms with checks to the MBSI
administrator at the address listed below.



★★
®
(INTERNATIONAL)
ORGANIZED IN 1949
DEVOTED TO ALL MECHANICAL MUSICAL INSTRUMENTS


★★
®
(INTERNATIONAL)
ORGANIZED IN 1949
DEVOTED TO ALL MECHANICAL MUSICAL INSTRUMENTS
Musical Box Society International
P.O. Box 10196
Springeld, MO 65808-0196
Phone/Fax: (417) 886-8839
Musical Box Society International
P.O. Box 10196
Springeld, MO 65808-0196
Phone/Fax: (417) 886-8839
Dues Voucher –$15
New U.S. members may join MBSI for one year at $45 (instead
of $60); Canadians $55 (instead of $70; and, other International
members at $60 (instead of $75). This certicate must accom-
pany payment and a copy of the completed membership
application from page 4 of this issue of Mechanical Music.
New Member Name(s):
Authorized by MBSI Administrator
NEW MEMBER
GIFT CERTIFICATE
New members are those who have never been members of MBSI
or those who have not been members for three years prior to
submission of this voucher.
New members are those who have never
been members of MBSI or those who have
not been members for three years prior to
submission of this certicate.

Gift Membership Name

Address, City, State, ZIP
Phone Email
Sponsor

SPECIAL OFFER: Purchase one or more rst-year MBSI gift
memberships at $45 each U.S., $55 Canadian, or $60 other International
and you will receive $5 off your next year’s MBSI membership
renewal for each “New Member” gift.

Please mail this form together with your check made payable to “MBSI” to the MBSI Administrator at the address listed
above. Memberships are $45 for U.S. residents, $55 for Canadian residents, and $60 for other International residents.

Editor’s Notes

We seem to be slowly but surely
advancing toward a time when we can
all look back at the global pandemic
restrictions on travel and public gatherings
and marvel at how we were able
to stay sane during this time. I can tell
people are itching to get out of their
homes and go anywhere, as evidenced
by the Golden Gate Chapter’s report
in this issue. Time to socialize was
mentioned in only one line of the
report, but it was clear by the pictures
showing happy faces sharing their
mechanical music and fellowship with
other enthusiasts, sometimes for the
first time in a year, that told me when
the green light is finally given, chapter
activities across the nation will ramp
up faster than we can blink.

It makes me excited to think that
this year’s annual meeting might be

MAILING ADDRESS

MBSI Editorial / Advertising
130 Coral Court
Pismo Beach, CA 93449

EMAIL ADDRESS

editor@mbsi.org

PHONE

(253) 228-1634

one of the best in some time, not for
the collections toured or presentations
given, but rather for the friendships
renewed and new connections being
formed between both long-time and
brand-new members.

I encourage everyone to stay safe
and healthy, which to me means
taking whatever time you need to
re-enter society on a level where you
feel comfortable. Once you reach that
point, however, I say get out there and
enjoy spending time with each other.
Share the music. Share the machines.
Invite new people over. Aaron Muller
has good thoughts on this in his
Outreach Corner column in this issue.
Be sure to give it a read.

Huge thanks go out to Linda Birkitt
for compiling the Mid-Year Trustee
Meeting Minutes, which is a monster

job each year. She has taken on the
task performed for so long by David
Corkrum and is really getting the hang
of it.

I can’t forget to thank our contributors
in this issue as well. Matt Jaro’s
Nickel Notes column is a roller-coaster
ride through the history of Welte-Mignon.
Bill Wineburgh details a curious
prototype changeable cylinder box
found in a storage locker. Peter Both
gives us the lowdown on the Plérodienique
style musical box and Robert
Penna introduces us to the Organilleros
of Mexico City. Enjoy!

Welcome new members!
Ellen Domeny & Brad GowinFebruary 2021
Greenbrae, CA
Elaine Pease Janey & Frank BrandonGlendale, GA Sulphur Springs, TXRandy Garner Michael Hammond
Albuquerque, NM San Francisco, CA
Sponsor: Don Caine
Greg Keefover March 2021
Centennial, CO
Philippe & Eve CrasseCarole Ann Brown
Toulouse, Haute Garonne, France Dallas, TX
Kevin & Maryann OswaldEric Johnson
Titusville, NJHenderson, NV
Rod & Linda Moore Sponsor: Don Caine
Greensboro, NC
Sponsor: Bob Caletti
William Kearns & Tom English
Tampa, FL
John Banta
Chester, PA
Ziwen Fan
Beijing, China

A Lasting Legacy

Throughout its history, MBSI has fostered an interest in and preservation of
automatic musical instruments. Your gift to the Endowment Fund will
support programs that will help future generations appreciate these
achievements of man’s creative genius. Visit www.mbsi.org to learn more.

In order for anything
once alive to have
meaning, its effect
must remain alive in
eternity in some way

– Ernest Becker, Philosopher
The Musical Box Society International
is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization.
All donations to the Endowment
Fund are tax deductible.
A gift of any size is welcome.

May/June 2021 MECHANICAL MUSIC 7

Outreach Corner Outreach Corner
By Aaron Muller

Special Exhibits Committee Member

Hello fellow members.

Many changes have come about in
the past 60 days since we published
part one of “Mixing Play with Work.”
Most significantly, vaccinations are
now being offered to help combat
COVID-19. This is great news! First and
foremost, the health benefits that all
of us will begin to enjoy will be significant.
Secondly, we may have begun
to turn the corner on a pandemic that
shook the world. For many the healing
process has just begun and for others
the sense of loss may never subside.
Let us pray for loved ones lost and
give thanks to those who sacrificed so
much in the fight against this devastating
virus. MBSI may not be the most
well-known group out there, but we
can do our part. After all, how many
organizations can lay claim to playing
the “Happiest Music on Earth”?

Undoubtedly, happiness is what
most of us are after anyway and MBSI
is perfectly positioned to provide
exactly that to a public soon to be in
search of in-person entertainment
outside their own homes. If you don’t
already have a special exhibit in mind
for the day when we are all free to
gather again in groups, now might
be the most ideal time to put one
together. It won’t take much, just pick
out your favorite machine or two and
find a way to spread the joy.

In this, the second half of my
Outreach Corner article, we will look
at exactly how to do that. The possibilities
are endless, but for now I will
share with you a few of the different
ways the Lake Michigan Chapter has
tried to make the world a happier
place. Each event we host is given the
consideration of inviting the press or
media. In the March/April 2021 issue
of Mechanical Music you saw pictures
of a newspaper article telling the story
of the “Magic of Music.” That particular
day, like many others, we made the

We saw our Special Exhibit in the Barrington Resale Mini Museum grow by a number
of instruments. Special thanks must go out to an anonymous family whose incredible
generosity made it possible for us to purchase nine additional instruments from
their private collection. We added seven new music boxes, a KT Special and this
1916 Wurlitzer 146 band organ to our ever-growing museum. The Carousel Dropper
Board is from a 1900s British Switchback. It is 9 feet long and 3 feet tall and features
a depiction (painting) of Lord Edward Roberts from the Boer war of 1899. We will be
bringing the Wurlitzer out front to play for the public on Sunday afternoons.

Mini Museum available to a group of in a few weeks earlier and told me how
kids and their chaperones. The group the class was learning about sound
came from the Christian Liberty Acad-and how it traveled through different
emy located near our resale shop in materials such as wood, glass, water
Algonquin, IL. Their teacher had come and air. I showed her how we could

8 MECHANICAL MUSIC May/June 2021

Always a good idea to have some MBSI material on hand when setting up a special exhibit. Just the basics will do. The MBSI trifold
brochures and a membership application should be enough to hand out to anyone who might be interested. These should
both contain the MBSI website address and, if possible, a link to our MBSI video.

put our elbows on the edge of a larger
Regina music box and our hands over
our ears and listen to the bass notes
resonate in our ears through bone
conduction. After trying it for herself,
she quickly asked if I wouldn’t mind
showing that fun technique to her
entire classroom of children. Not only
did the kids love it, but each group
that came after that seemed to grow
larger and larger until we had almost
one adult for every child. Sharing a
special exhibit like this is always a
two-way street. The kids were having
a great time and so was I.

In my last article, I also spoke about
utilizing new resources as they become
increasingly available. Right now, the
newest and best resource I know of
is the internet. I have compiled a list
of helpful Facebook groups that have
some very helpful people as members.
On Facebook, simply search any of
the following terms to find the group:

• Musical Box Society Forum
• Band Organs, Fairground Organ
and Street Organs
• Antique Phonograph Enthusiast
• Player Piano Enthusiast
• Mechanical Music Chat
Roadside attractions can also be a very fun and effective way to get the word out
about mechanical music instruments, especially if you have a friend who will let you
borrow the company calliope truck for your chapter meeting. We had many families
and individuals stop by for pictures and videos with the Fisher Calliope Truck. Most
of them never having seen or heard one before. Special thanks to Jeffrey Sanfilippo
and the Sanfilippo Family Foundation for letting us borrow this wonderful instrument
every few years for a chapter meeting.

May/June 2021 MECHANICAL MUSIC 9

Newcomers to the special exhibit at Barrington Resale are a A special exhibit doesn’t have to be very large. Two or three
15½-inch mahogany serpentine case Reginaphone and base machines and a fun banner can do the trick just fine.

cabinet next to a Seeburg KT Special.

• Mechanical Musical Instruments,
• Association of Musical Box
Collectors (AMBC)
• McClinsey’s House of Music
• Orchestrions of Europe
• Mechanical Musical Instrument
and Parts Sales/Wanted UK
• National Carousel Association
• Orchestrions of America
• Carousel Connoisseurs
• AMICA (Automatic Musical
Instrument Collectors’
Association)
• American Carousel Organs
• Musical Box Society of Great
Britain
• Mechanical Music Media
• Mechanical Music and Midi
Systems
• Mechanical Music Parade
• Band Organ Music, Carousel
Music, Mechanical Music
• Australian Collectors of Mechanical
Musical Instruments Inc.
• Vintage Fairground Stuff and
Organs Chat Sales and Wants
• Organists and Organ Lovers
I cannot imagine being a part of
mechanical music in today’s world
without being in touch with these
groups. Information can be shared
around the planet instantly. If I have
a question about anything related to
mechanical music, I can go to one of
my groups that most closely fits my
question and ask them.

There must be a group for everything
on Facebook. In fact, social
media comes in a lot of formats but
by far I think the most popular one is
still Facebook. The list of websites on
the internet you can find to visit is just
as endless when you search through
Google or any other search engine.
Many times, however, I have simply
started with the Facebook groups and
almost every time they will send me

a direct link to a very useful website
without all the need to search on
your own. Usually, it ends up being a
website I have never heard of before.
Access to this level of knowledge and
expertise is why I am such a strong
believer in Facebook and the new
friends I have made all over the world
because of it.

That is about all the information I
had to share with you for now. I hope
you have enjoyed reading my two-part
article and I look forward to writing
more in the future. Remember, special
exhibits can be any size and just about
any place. Check with your local
museum or historical society and
see if they will let you come in for a
day with a couple of your machines. I
like to go camping from time to time
and even bring a machine with me
for that. You never know when you
can brighten someone’s day through
mechanical music.

10 MECHANICAL MUSIC May/June 2021

MBSI Mid-Year Trustees’
Meeting Minutes

Top row, left to right: Mary Ellen Myers, Dave Calendine, Clay Witt, Bob Caletti. Second row, left to right: Tom Kuehn, Matt Jaro,

Ed Cooley, Linda Birkitt. Bottom row, left to right: Wayne Finger, David Corkrum.

Mar. 20, 2021

These minutes will be official when
approved and voted upon during the
annual meeting of the Board of Trustees
in Fort Myers, FL, in 2021.

On Mar. 20, 2021, at 9:05 a.m., the
2021 Mid-year Trustee Meeting was
called to order by President Kuehn.
The following Trustees were present:
Tom Kuehn, President presiding, Dave
Calendine, Bob Caletti, Ed Cooley,
David Corkrum, Wayne Finger, Matt
Jaro, Mary Ellen Myers and Clay Witt
(nine of nine present, a quorum).
Linda Birkitt attended as recording
secretary.

President Kuehn informed the group
that Trustee Witt will be retiring as
a trustee as of the conclusion of this
meeting, Trustee Witt acknowledged
that it was his great privilege to serve
MBSI, and that he will miss some, but
not other aspects of the position. He
then thanked this body for all their
hard work. President Kuehn thanked
him for his many years of service.

The minutes of the Sept. 4, 2020,

Trustees’ Meeting were presented
by Secretary Birkitt. Trustee Finger
moved to approve the minutes, with
corrections noted by Trustee Witt. The
motion carried and the minutes were
approved as corrected.

Old Business

Secretary Birkitt presented the
current board actions for review.

Trustee Jaro reported on the progress
of CDL – Controlled Digital Lending.
Digital Controlled Circulation is used
to circulate electronic copies of books,
but there is no software for DCC, so
circulation evolves through the honor
system. Although Jerry Maler is our
lending librarian, he reports only two
to three books have been checked
out over several years. Trustee Finger
indicated that we need a webmaster
to develop this electronic library to
provide value to the membership.
Trustee Witt suggested that Russell
Kasselman work with Trustee Caletti
to develop this electronic lending
library system.

Trustee Finger commented that
Terry Smythe deserves a response

back regarding his gift of 29 scanned
books. Smythe also has other historical
materials digitized which would be
invaluable to MBSI.

The status and possible development
and use of rack cards for
advertising MBSI at the American
Treasure Tour (A.T.T.) Museum in
Oaks, PA, was briefly re-addressed.
More information is needed on the
whereabouts of the initial content
and drawings for the proposed card
design. The use and value of these to
MBSI was also discussed.

President Kuehn then presented
the Herschell Carrousel Factory
Museum Funds request which will
be funded by our Endowment Fund.
During the discussion, Trustee Witt
noted that now MBSI has received
the additional documentation from
the museum requested by the board.
During the initial discussion, Trustee
Calendine moved that the board
approve the grant request in the
amount of $10,000. During the course
of discussion after the main motion
was seconded, Trustee Witt offered
the following motion as a substitution

May/June 2021 MECHANICAL MUSIC 11

for the main motion: “I move that we
approve a grant of $10,000 from MBSI’s
Endowment Fund to the Herschell
Carrousel Society of the Niagara
Frontier Endowment Fund to be used
for the restoration and maintenance
of band and carousel organs and roll
perforating equipment at the Herschell
Carrousel Factory Museum.” After the
amendment motion was seconded and
debated, it was adopted by a seven to
two majority via voice vote. There
being no further discussion, the main
motion was unanimously adopted as
amended.

Officers’, Administrator’s And
Committee Reports

Vice President Corkrum presented
the Vice President’s report. He
informed the trustees that he is
responsible for coordinating the
annual awards process and ensuring
timely nominations are presented to
the board at the mid-year meeting.
Additionally, he is required to create
the annual report for MBSI which is
submitted to the Board of Regents of
the University of New York by June
2021. He also gives guidance and
advice to the society’s chapters, keeps
himself informed of chapter activities,
and reviews and recommends
revisions of bylaws and policies and
procedures. The report was received.

Since Treasurer Ed Kozak was not
present, President Kuehn read the
treasurer’s report, Finance Committee
report and the Endowment Committee
report. There is no change to the
budget approved at the last meeting.
The treasurer’s report was received.

6a. Endowment Committee report.
As of Dec. 31, 2020, MBSI’s financial
statements reported the Endowment
Fund balance, a perpetual duration
asset, to be $160,270. The fund balance
increased by $4765 from the previous
year’s balance of $155,505. The
“Endowment Interest Earned Fund”
has a balance of $52,511 as of Dec.
31, 2020. Two-thirds of this amount is
available at this date for projects or
programs. The trustees are reviewing
the additional information submitted
by the Herschell Carrousel Factory
Museum, to support a donation to
their endowment fund. The report was

received.

6b. Finance Committee report. A
question from Vice President Corkrum
about museum restoration funds will
have to be postponed as there was no
museum committee representative at
the meeting who had that information.
The report was received.

President Kuehn read the Administrator’s
Report. As of Dec. 31, 2020,
MBSI totaled 1,003 memberships. This
compares to 2019’s numbers of 1,079
members. Currently, the membership
has grown to 1,073 as of Mar. 1, 2021.
Twenty-six new members between
Jul. 1, 2020, and Dec. 31, 2020, joined
MBSI. Of these 26, 20 (77 percent)
were generated via the website. For
the calendar year 2020 the grand total
was 58 new members, of which 42 (72
percent) were website generated. The
report was received.

Chair Cooley presented the Audit
Committee report. As is required by
New York statutes and regulations
which govern MBSI, our financial
statements must by reviewed annually
by an independent CPA. Cinda
Rogers, CPA, has been doing this and
has agreed to an additional contract
extension. Although two new revenue
standards were written in 2019,
they had no financial impact on our
accounting. The Audit Committee will
no longer audit the comparison of
sales items to reported income as the
monies generated were insignificant
monetarily. Treasurer Kozak’s revenue
analysis indicates that the MBSI net
membership revenue for 2020 was
$69,029. Using 2019 data, the total
estimated revenue would be $71,100.
The difference is -2.9 percent and this
percentage difference will continue
to increase annually since declining
membership impacts this analysis.

The Audit Committee audited the
returned Conflict of Interest (COI)
forms and found that nine were missing
for the current year. All Officers,
Trustees and Committee members are
required by MBSI policy to sign these
forms yearly and be conversant and
compliant with the policies governing
COIs.

The report also made suggestions
concerning setting a specific time
of year for COI statements to be

gathered and about developing easier
to use methods of transmitting them
electronically. Trustee Witt noted that
we have legal constraints and agreed
to do some research concerning what
we are allowed to do about the matters
raised and to work with the Secretary
and Vice President to determine what
might be done to reduce the annual
COI statement gathering burden. The
report was received.

The Marketing Committee Report
was presented by Trustee Finger. The
video interview project is evolving
slowly as one interview has been
completed and two are in the works. If
sufficient funds are available, a fourth
interview will be included. Trustee
Finger and the Editor of Mechanical
Music (MM) are promoting a Facebook
Forum discussion group. The
certificate program giving auction
houses the ability to award one
free year of membership when they
hold auctions is being evaluated. To
enhance membership involvement, a
quiz or puzzle related to our hobby will
appear in Mechanical Music thanks
to Judy Caletti. The committee is
looking for other ideas to make MBSI
more visible to the public and attract
more new members. The report was
received.

Chair Jaro read the Meetings
Committee Report. This year’s Annual
Meeting is in the planning stages for an
in-person meeting. The event will be
held in Fort Myers, FL, at the Crowne
Plaza Hotel between Aug. 30 and Sept.
4, 2021. Trustees Jaro and Calendine
surveyed a group of MBSI members
to see, if they were vaccinated, would
they attend the Annual Meeting. Sixty-
eight percent indicated they would, if
proper distancing and masking were
utilized. Additionally, the Southeast
Chapter voted unanimously at their
Mar. 19 meeting to move forward
with hosting the meeting. European
attendees are concerned about a
refund policy if the meeting should be
canceled. Trustee Calendine moved to
provide a full registration refund for
any reason for the Annual Meeting in
Florida, up to Aug. 1, 2021. After that
date, a case-by-case decision will be
made. Motion carried.

Dave Calendine has graciously

12 MECHANICAL MUSIC May/June 2021

agreed to serve on the Meetings
Committee, replacing the late Mary
Pollock. The report was received.

President Kuehn was asked if the
Japan Chapter will host an Annual
Meeting. He will investigate this question.
Trustee Jaro suggested that Japan
hold a Special Meeting which would
not be as expansive as an Annual
Meeting. Trustee Myers suggested that
we include Japan Chapter meetings
reports in MM.

Trustee Jaro gave the Museum
Committee report as Chair Sally Craig
was not present. The Guitarophone
and the PAPA JANO donations are now
on display and working at the A.T.T.
The repair cost for the Guitarophone
was completed. Due to Covid-19,
the A.T.T. Museum was closed most
of this past year. Final Inventory
reconciliation is still open regarding
the Barry Johnson donation to MBSI
for the A.T.T. Museum until all items
have been received. This item requires
annual review until 2023 as per Board
Action. The report was received.

The Nominating Committee Report
was read by President Kuehn as Chair
Dan Wilson was unavailable. Trustee
Witt is resigning as a trustee as of
Mar. 20, 2021. His position will remain
open until the election during the next
annual meeting. Richard Dutton has
been nominated to begin his first four-
year term as a trustee at the upcoming
annual meeting.

The Nominating Committee’s
recommendation for officers and
trustees to be approved by the board
for presentation to the members for
election at the 2021 MBSI Annual
Meeting is as follows:

• David Corkrum to serve a
two-year term as President
• Matt Jaro to serve a one-year
term as Vice President
• Richard Dutton to serve his first
four-year term as a Trustee
• Tom Kuehn to serve an additional
two-year term as a Trustee per
the bylaws
• Ed Kozak to serve another
one-year term as Treasurer
• Linda Birkitt to serve another
one-year term as Recording
Secretary

The report was received.

President Kuehn asked for a motion
to approve the committee’s slate of
officers and trustees. Trustee Witt
moved to approve the new slate of
officers and trustees. The motion
carried.

Special Exhibits committee chair
Mary Ellen Myers presented her
committee’s report. The Special
Exhibits committee has been
hampered somewhat by Covid19;
however, with Chair Myers’
innovations, she has surmounted the
problem. A new Outreach Corner in
Mechanical Music was initiated in
the November/December 2020 issue
of Mechanical Music with an article
written by Wayne Myers. Aaron Muller
has also written one article and plans
to write a follow-up article for the next
issue. Jack Hostetler has reported that
the Christmas Show at the Villages in
Florida is scheduled for the weekend
before Christmas, subject to pandemic
restrictions that might be in effect.
The report was received.

Publications Committee Chair
Caletti presented the committee’s
report. He noted that our editor had
been able to convert our journal to a
text version on the website going back
as far as 2015. These text versions can
be translated to other languages on
the website and used by non-English
speakers along with the images in
the printed version. The report was
received.

The editor’s report was presented by
Trustee Caletti. Per the editor, advertising
revenue and pages are moving
both up and down in Mechanical
Music. New advertisers in Mechanical
Music can now receive free ads on
the MBSI website that may encourage
more advertising. Several new authors
submitted articles for Mechanical
Music this past year. The report was
received.

The Website Sub-Committee Report
was presented by Chair Rick Swaney.
MBSI now has a Facebook Forum. It
is a Facebook group with easy posting
procedures. Currently there are 335
members in the Facebook Forum.

The emphasis of the Facebook Forum
is to increase membership renewal.
There are also plans to redesign the
MBSI website’s homepage to improve
interest in the site. The report was
received.

New Business

Bylaws and Policies and Procedures
documents were updated by the President’s
Special Committee consisting
of Vice President Corkrum, Trustee
Finger and chaired by Trustee Witt.
President Kuehn requested a motion
to approve the updated Bylaws and
P&P documents as recommended by
the committee. Trustee Calendine so
moved with the correction of the date
of the mid-year meeting from Mar. 19,
to Mar. 20, 2021. The motion carried
unanimously.

President Kuehn presented the
Japan Chapter’s draft of their bylaws
and supplemental material. Trustee
Witt stated that in Article ll on amendments
to the bylaws, the amendments
should be approved by MBSI before
they go into effect for the Japan
Chapter. A motion was requested to
approve the Japan Chapter bylaws and
supplemental material. Vice President
Corkrum so moved. The motion was
approved unanimously.

President Kuehn stated that the
Membership Committee Chair has
been vacant since Rob Pollock vacated
the position. President Kuehn had tried
to find a chair for this committee, but
without success. Trustee Myers noted
that four chapters have no members
on this committee. She suggested two
potential candidates. The search for a
Chair of the Membership Committee
will continue.

The Trustees entered a closed
session to evaluate nominations for
MBSI awards.

Trustee Calendine moved, seconded
by Trustee Cooley, to adjourn the
meeting. The motion passed. The
Mid-Year Trustees’ Meeting adjourned
at 2:30 p.m.

Respectfully submitted on Mar. 26, 2021
Linda Birkitt
Recording Secretary

May/June 2021 MECHANICAL MUSIC 13

MBSI Trustee Nominee Richard Dutton

I was first exposed to mechanical
music when I was only a small boy.
In 1953, when I was six years old, my
father brought home a Concert roller
organ and 30 rollers (“cobs”) which
he had bought at a roadside auction
on Long Island, NY, for $6. The case
was dark brown with age and the
stenciling barely visible, but the organ
itself played well. I was immediately
fascinated with it and, because no one
else in the family cared about it as
much as I did, it became a plaything of
mine growing up. I played each one of
the cobs many, many times and knew
every note of every tune and each tune
by name (except for the titles of tunes
on two cobs without labels, which I
did not learn until many years later).
Often, I would drag the organ around
the way other children carry a favorite
toy and I would play it for my friends
on the picnic table in our backyard.

By the time I reached my teens, I was
less interested in the organ, and after
I went away to college, it spent many
years in the cellar before I took it to
Rita Ford’s music box shop in New
York City, NY, in 1977 and had one of
her repairmen completely overhaul it.
At that time, I became seriously interested
in acquiring additional cobs to
play on it, but (in the days long before
eBay) I had no idea where to look for
them. Rita sold me a few and I was
able to buy a few more from a woman
who at that time had a music box
shop up in Westchester County, NY. I
bought a larger number from a fellow
out on Long Island who, I somehow
found out, at that time bought and
sold roller organs and repaired them
in his basement.

Then, more than a decade later, in
the mid-1990s, I heard from an antique
dealer I had contacted about cobs that
there was a mechanical music show
being held in Bound Brook, NJ, and
when I went to it my whole perspective
on roller organ cobs changed.
While I had always thought that my
roller organ was very special and rare,
I found that there were a number of
other people around who had them

and that there were even people who
specialized in cob roller organs and
had large numbers of cobs for sale,
such as the late Alvin Moersfelder in
Wisconsin (who had driven all the way
to Bound Brook in his old Cadillac,
loaded up with roller organs and cobs,
catching naps at rest stops on the
way). At that point, I began acquiring
any cobs I could find that I did not
have, sometimes buying large lots of
them, sight unseen, often with organs,
keeping the cobs I needed and trading
the duplicates for others I could add
to my collection. I met more and more
people in the mechanical music realm
as one transaction led to another
and, with the advent of eBay, I began
buying cobs and organs in online
auctions as well. In my “wheeling and
dealing” I eventually completed nearly
500 transactions and expanded my
collection to more than 1,000 different
cobs, all but about a dozen of the
1,050-plus 20-note cobs known to have
been made.

As I acquired cobs, often in large
batches that included many without
a label containing a legible number or
title, I found that I had a special ability
to remember tunes and associate them
with titles and then numbers so that,
after a while, I was able to recognize
hundreds of tunes on the roller organ
and identify cobs immediately upon
hearing them played. As a result of
this, people all over the world send
me cobs or recordings of cobs with
missing, partial or illegible labels for
me to identify by ear. Sometimes, they
even call me and play them for me
over the phone.

In 2002, at the “mart” at an annual
meeting of MBSI in Chicago, IL, I had
the opportunity to buy a Grand roller
organ, the larger, much scarcer 32-note
model that plays 13-inch cobs, and I
immediately went back to my roller
organ contacts to acquire as many
different Grand cobs as I could find. I
now have all but four of the 160 Grand
cobs known to have been made.

The records I kept of my hundreds
of transactions involving roller organ

Richard Dutton

cobs provide a large volume of data
about the frequency with which the
various cobs have turned up. I have
organized this data and assigned each
cob a “scarcity rating” of either “most
common” (MC), “very common” (VC),
“common” (C), “less common” (LC),
“scarce” (S), “very scarce” (VS) or
“no known copy” (N). The rating of
“most common” was given to just five
cobs that turn up many times more
than the others. Perhaps these were
manufactured in much larger quantities
because they were included with
an organ as a “starter package.” At the
other extreme are cobs of which I am
unaware of any existing copy. Of these
14, all but four are Spanish or Polish
titles.

I have always been interested in
the music on the roller organ as
well, the hymns because of my own
religious background and long-standing
interest in hymnology, and the
popular songs, dance tunes, classical
pieces, etc. because of my general
fascination with the “roller organ era”
and the prevailing popular culture of
that time. My love and appreciation
for the music stem in part from the
fact that so many of the cobs contain
appealing, harmonious, full arrangements
of very pretty tunes. It was a
remarkable accomplishment for the
Autophone Company of Ithaca, NY,
the manufacturer of all cob roller
organs and cobs, to put hundreds and

14 MECHANICAL MUSIC May/June 2021

hundreds of musical pieces popular in
the mid-1880s through the early 1920s
onto pinned cobs and it is a joy for me
to crank through them and listen to
them.

The late Todd Augsburger generously
provided me space on his roller
organ website, rollerorgans.com, for
my long-standing and ongoing project,
Dutton’s Roller Organ Cob Handbook,
which includes statistical information
about the relative scarcity of the various
roller organ cobs and combines it
with details concerning the individual
tunes—how they came to be written,
who performed or popularized them,

what role they played in the culture of
the times, etc.—as well as providing
references to sources of sheet music
for anyone interested in finding lyrics
or playing the tunes on their own
musical instruments.

I have now, after more than 13
years, completed my individual write
ups about the pieces on all but about
20 of the 1,200-plus 20-note and Grand
cobs and I hope to add to the website
my paragraphs about the remaining
ones shortly.

Professionally, I am a retired lawyer
who spent more than 32 years at
the same large Wall Street law firm

practicing in the area of wills, trusts
and estates. I graduated from Yale
College, received a master’s degree
in Celtic Languages and Literatures at
Harvard, specializing in Irish literature
and folklore (including traditional
music; consistent with my interest
in reed instruments, I play the Anglo
concertina), but instead of completing
my Ph.D. thesis there I returned to
Yale for law school.

I currently live with my wife of 36
years, Marlene, in Little Egg Harbor,
NJ, a nautical community in the southern
part of the New Jersey shore on
the edge of the Pine Barrens.

Interesting Tidbits

A piano specially constructed for use by the bedridden. This photo is reported to be taken in Great Britain around
1935. Image provided by the Dutch National Archives / Spaarnestad Collection / Photographer unknown. For a
variety of other interesting historical photos, feel free to visit https://beeldbank.spaarnestadphoto.com/

May/June 2021 MECHANICAL MUSIC 15

Nickel Notes

By Matthew Jaro

A Music Trade Press Reader’s
History of the Welte-Mignon – Part Two

In the last exciting episode of And the following week this Sale of Welte Stock
Nickel Notes, Edwin Welte went back appeared on Page 21. On Mar. 22, 1919, (after the end of
to Germany to serve in the German the war) this appeared on Page 22 of
army in 1914. An agreement was MTR.
reached between Welte and the Auto
Pneumatic Action Company with the
evil George W. Gittins as president
of Kohler and Campbell (the parent
company of Auto Pneumatic).

Now, the U.S. declares war on
Germany and I left the reader to
wonder what would happen to Edwin
Welte’s business interests in the U.S.

The Alien Property Custodian

On Jun. 29, 1918, the following
appeared on Page 20 in the Music
Trade Review (MTR).

16 MECHANICAL MUSIC May/June 2021

The advertisement at left appeared on Page 23 of the
Mar. 22, 1919, issue.

Gittins Steps In

In May 1924, the article at the bottom of this page
appeared in the Music Trades.

Notice that Gittins did not waste any time in buying the
Welte Company from Mitchell – gee, do you think this was
planned all along? According to Doug Hickling (September
1971 AMICA Bulletin):

Gittins considered it a serious personal affront that Kohler
had failed to name him as an executor of his will and had
instead named Richard W. Lawrence, who was at that time President
of Autopiano Company and a relative newcomer to the
family of Kohler businesses. Friction immediately developed

May/June 2021 MECHANICAL MUSIC 17

between Gittins and Lawrence with
the result that Gittins was let go,
Lawrence replacing him as President
of Kohler & Campbell.

Thereafter, in 1917, Gittins
acquired control of the Estey Piano
Company, which had a large factory
at 133rd Street and Lincoln Avenue,
Bronx, New York.

When, in 1919, the Alien Property
Custodian auctioned certain Welte
patents and the controlling shares
of the stock of M. Welte &Sons, Inc.,
Lawrence sent an underling to the
sale with limited authority to bid
on the Welte assets. Lawrence’s
agent was outbid, however, by a
group of businessmen who, having
paid $100,000 to the Alien Property
Custodian for the property, promptly
sold their acquisition to George W.
Gittins. Gittins thus gained control,
not only of the Welte physical assets
and patents, but of the right of M.
Welte &Sons, Inc., to receive royalties
from the manufacturers of reproducing
piano mechanisms, including a
payment of $30,000.00 a year from
the Auto Pneumatic Action Company
under the terms of the Licensee agreement
under which Auto Pneumatic
built and marketed the Welte-Mignon
(Licensee) reproducing piano mechanism.
Since Auto Pneumatic was one
of the Kohler industries, Gittins’ coup
must have been particularly galling
to Lawrence.

The Factory Sale

The article above appeared in
August of 1919, in MTR on Page 25.
Notice that Gittins bought the entire
Welte enterprise including patents for

$100,000 and sold the factory alone for
$150,000 a few months later.

So now, in December 1919, it was
apparently time for a little flag-waving,
and Gittins, the new president of
Welte announces:

This passage seems so self-serving
to me. Gittins had nothing to do with
the tradition of Welte. He got the business
for next to nothing and he talks
about American ownership.

Moving Right Along

Things get pretty complex and intertwined
at this point.

On Feb. 7, 1920, an arrangement
was consummated where M. Welte
and Sons, Amphion Piano Player
Company and Kohler Industries (for
the Auto Pneumatic Company) would
control all of the Welte reproducing
piano patents. (The American Piano
Company owned Amphion). The
music rolls would be cut from the vast
Welte library. Kohler got a recording
piano from Welte so that new rolls
could be recorded (the DeLuxe Reproducing
Roll Corp.). Kohler would be
building a new roll plant.

At the same time, the Amphion
Piano Player Company is ready to
market a reproducing piano invented
by Lewis B. Doman. Note that Doman
was involved in the Stoddard Ampico
system.

Also, the American Piano Company

(Ampico) has admitted the validity of
the Welte Bockisch patents.

In March 1920, Gittins formed a new
corporation named the Welte Mignon
Corp. and from now on M. Welte and
Sons would be known as the Welte
Mignon Corporation with a capitalization
of $1 million.

In a lawsuit trial, a woman who
bought a Welte licensee piano was
told by a Welte representative that she
did not have an original Welte. She
sued on the grounds that the piano she
bought was misrepresented. The trial
showed that the mechanisms were
identical, with the exception of the
tracker bar and therefore she had no
grounds to complain.

The article below appeared in the
Mar. 20, 1920, issue of MTR, Page 27.

Further News

On Sept. 17, 1921, the Aeolian Corp.
after being sued for infringement of
the Welte patents, settled out of court
and agreed to pay royalties to Welte.

On Nov. 5, 1921, the Auto-Pneumatic
Company began recutting the original
Welte Mignon to the standard nine
holes per inch format. (More on the
roll formats later).

It must have been painful for Edwin
Welte to have all of his assets in the
United States seized. Notice that the
article below from Jun. 11, 1927, says
they are descendants and does not

18 MECHANICAL MUSIC May/June 2021

mention anything about their contribution
to the success of the company.

In one respect, he was an enemy
combatant, having enlisted in the
German army, but on the other hand,
he was talking about becoming an
American citizen, and I think he was
really just caught in the middle. I don’t
think he ever received compensation
for the seized business, and it must
have been hard to visit the Welte
studios years later.

Receivership

Now it seems like Mr. Gittins has
run the company into the ground.
It can’t pay its debts and is placed
in receivership. It looks like Gittins
overextended the business, since he
acquired six subsidiaries a few months
earlier.

An article in the Nov. 26, 1927, issue
on Page 29 reported the news.

To summarize some of the events
that follow: The appointed receivers
wanted to sell the Estey piano business
in order to free up cash to pay
the creditors. They did this in March
1928. At the same time, the good old
Auto Pneumatic Action Company was
quick to point out that they were doing
fine and they were not associated
with the original Welte Company – so

customers should continue to buy the
licensee pianos without worry.

The receivership was finally ended
with a reorganized Welte-Mignon
Company.

On Jan. 5, 1929, William C. Heaton
resigned as sales manager of Welte
Mignon. He had held the position only
since the spring. He quickly found a
job as manager of sales for the Fada
Radio Corporation. Earlier, Heaton
was president of the Auto Pneumatic
Action Company. It’s funny how
people’s fortunes changed. Since Auto
Pneumatic was responsible for the
licensee business, maybe Gittins was
hoping to attract customers back to
the original Welte-Mignon Company.

The End of the Line

By February 1929 Welte-Mignon was
back in receivership. This time, the
explanation was that the company had
to be protected from small lawsuits.

On Jul. 15, 1929, Donald F. Tripp
(a Wall Street financier) bought the
Welte organ business for $79,000 at
auction – that’s less than it would cost
you to buy one organ today. The new
company was named the Welte-Tripp
Organ Company.

Tripp moved the organ business into
a modern new plant at Sound Beach,
CT, but there was no production for
over a year. Mr. Tripp lost his considerable
fortune in the continuing slide
of the stock market and was forced
to liquidate his assets to pay off creditors.
He sold the business to the W.W.
Kimball Company on Jul. 1, 1931, for
the sum of $35,000. Kimball marketed
the organ as the Kimball-Welte but
did not record any new rolls. Installations
continued into the late 1930s.
After World War II, Kimball worked
on developing electronic organs and
abandoned the pipe organ business
(according to Doug Hickling).

In February 1930, the Krakauer
Brothers bought the contents of the
Welte Factory, which included several
hundred unfinished grand pianos.
The name Welte-Mignon was sold by
the receivers to a group that would
become known as the Welte-Mignon
Piano Corporation. They continued to
install Welte mechanisms in people’s
pianos.

They ran the ad above until 1931
and then there was no more heard
from them. The most important Welte
patents expired in the 1930s.

Loose Ends

What ever happened to our friends
in the pneumatic action business?
Remember that Kohler and Campbell
owned the businesses.

In the October 1930 Presto, this
article appeared on Page 31.

What happened to our friend
Gittins? He was squeezed out of the
corporation by the receivers and his
common stock was worthless. Further,
in March 1931, Presto reported:

What about all the rolls? In 1932, the
MTR had the following classified ad.

As far as the German interests were
concerned, in 1931 the Welte firm in
Germany turned out its last repro-
ducing instrument and Edwin Welte

May/June 2021 MECHANICAL MUSIC 19

resigned.

Finally, in 1932, the notice above
appeared in the Zeitschrift für Instrumentbau
(ZI).

It announces that the Welte firm
went into receivership.

Edwin Welte

During World War II, the retired
Edwin Welte worked on an idea for
an electronic organ, but it did not get
support.

In 1947 Richard Simonton struck
up a friendship with Edwin Welte and
they exchanged about 150 letters.

The Welte factory was destroyed by
Allied bombs during World War II and
living conditions in Post-War Germany
were harsh.

“Our fine old city [of Freiburg] was
within 20 minutes time and without
any defense by an aerial attack to 2/3
destroyed, with it also completely the
factories of M. Welte and sons with
everything in it.

My private house was saved. I
live now in three rooms of it, with
my wife and daughter. The rest of
the house is occupied [requisitioned
without rent] by a French officer and
his family.” 4-30-47

“The French officer cut off the
radiators of my apartment to save
coal for the first floor. Naturally there
is only one furnace in my house and
no stoves. Heavy snowfall today and
the rooms ice cold. SO I write this
letter in the kitchen where we have
a kitchen-hearth which is heatable
with coal or wood. Mrs. Welte is just
running around in the town to find

somebody to place a little stove in
the bedroom. I do not think that such
things do happen in the American or
English zone.” 11-18-47

“We cannot escape our destiny,
when we see and hear about the lives
of other people we are satisfied again.
The conditions here in regard to food,
clothing and housing are intolerable.
We have an excellent archbishop in
Freiburg, who does everything possible
to help. He showed a great deal
of courage during the Nazi-period.”
11-18-47

The Welte Rolls

In order to end this article on a
happier note, I would like to say a few
words about the rolls. The Aeolian
DuoArt was the only system that never
changed encoding schemes. Ampico
had the A and B systems, although
these were largely compatible with
each other. Welte, on the other hand,
had quite an evolution.

The first system was the T-100
rolls or “red Welte rolls.” These rolls
were 127/8 inches wide and had 100
holes with 80 playing notes, motor
speed controls and assorted control
channels. These rolls had no tempo
markings because the motor could be
sped up by means of the two lock and
cancel signals.

The instruments made in Germany
and imported to America before
World War I used red rolls. The Welte
Artistic Player, made in America prior
to the war, used pianos such as Mason
& Hamlin and Krakauer that also used
the red rolls.

The T-98 or “green Welte rolls” were
the standard 11¼ inches wide with
nine holes to the inch. There were a
full 88 playing notes and 10 control
notes. Instead of lock and cancels, the

green rolls used chain perforations
for the control. This made it the only
reproducing system that could play
a piano’s full 88 key compass. All the
green rolls run at the same speed. The
green Welte mechanisms were never
marketed in America.

The Welte-Mignon “licensee rolls”
were the standard 11¼ inches wide
with nine holes to the inch with 80
playing notes and 18 control channels.
The licensee rolls’ use of the lock and
cancel required two channels for each
function and therefore there are only
80 playing notes.

The licensee rolls were primarily
made by the Deluxe Reproducing
Roll Corp. (a subsidiary of the Auto
Pneumatic Action Company). Many of
the original Welte rolls were recoded
and reissued to play on the licensee
pianos. See image on the facing page.

This concludes my marathon writing
sessions to produce this two-part article.
I find the story to be fascinating.
There has been much written about
the history of nickelodeons but not
much about the reproducing pianos
in the last 40 years. I hope my minor
effort goes some way to alleviating
this deficiency.

Please contact me with questions or
comments. I have tried to be accurate,
but I may have made some mistakes
or rash judgments. Please tell me!!

Email Matt Jaro at mjaro@verizon.
net if you would like any information
about style “A”, “G”, “4X”, “H” or “O” rolls.
Also, comments and suggestions for this
column will be appreciated.

Reprinted with permission of the
author and The Automatic Musical
Instrument Collectors’ Association
(AMICA). Originally printed in the
September-October 2015 issue of The
AMICA Bulletin.

20 MECHANICAL MUSIC May/June 2021

May/June 2021 MECHANICAL MUSIC 21 May/June 2021 MECHANICAL MUSIC 21

22 MECHANICAL MUSIC May/June 2021 22 MECHANICAL MUSIC May/June 2021

A Changeable Cylinder Box Prototype

Questions remain as to who made this particular musical box as it has markings indicating Jaccard but has no definitive

provenance.

By Bill Wineburgh

Not too long ago I restored an interesting
changeable cylinder musical
box. It came out of a storage unit in
nearby Yonkers, NY. It had belonged
to a recently deceased collector (of
many things) whose daughter needed
to clear out the storage unit. It has a
unique design that is unlike any I have
ever seen. I would like to share it with
you.

A Jaccard / Cuendet / Abrahams
Prototype

The subject piece has a grain-
painted case with side handles and
transfer borders made to look like
inlaid wood trim and color floral decorations
on the lid and front to also
look like inlays. There is a drawer in

the base that can hold three cylinders.
The design is quite like those by B H
Abrahams of Ste Croix, Switzerland
and London, England, who was also
the London agent for Jules Cuendet.

It came with three cylinders that
measure 13 inches in length and 21/8
inches in diameter. Two of the cylinders,
numbered 60702 and 60712, have
accompanying tune sheets. The third
cylinder is numbered 60704 and has
no tune sheet. Each cylinder plays six
airs.

The two tune sheets are the “terrace
at right” design, seen as Sheet No.
6 in H.A.V. Bulleid’s book “Tune
Sheets” and is used by Jules Cuendet
in his catalog. The tune sheets are
marked “Lith. Picard-Lion Geneve”
on the lower left and “DEPOSÉE” on
the lower right. The tune names are

typewritten rather than written in pen.

The bedplate is forged with “Jaccard
BRS” on the underside (which Jaccard
brothers?). It has numerous holes that
have been filled in where it may have
once been prepared to use for another
set-up (1).

The comb has 93 teeth (92 playing)
and gamme number ‘1766’ on the bass
lead, referring to the comb’s tuning,
and the comb base (plinth) is marked
for tuning to exclude the highest treble
tooth and has a “J” and “99” (or “66”?)
impressed in the underside (again,
which Jaccard?).

The cylinder drive and locking
mechanisms are unique to this mechanism
and are unlike any I have seen.
The mechanism matches a patent by
Eugène Félix Jaccard of Ste Croix,
Switzerland. The German patent is

May/June 2021 MECHANICAL MUSIC 23

Completely restored and ready for play, this unique musical box includes a drawer to hold three cylinders.

No. 42511, dated Feb. 22, 1888, and the

U.S. patent is No. 382,879, dated May
15, 1888. The Swiss patent is No. 421,
dated Dec. 14, 1888. Illustrations from
the American patent accompany this
article.
The cylinder drive mechanism
works using an indented groove in a
drive plate that is turned by a double
spring barrel and governor control
mechanism. The cylinders have a pin
extending from the left end of the
cylinder that fits into that groove. As
with any interchangeable cylinder

box, at the tune’s end, the comb teeth
are aligned with the break in the
pinning, allowing the user to change
the cylinder without damage to the
cylinder pins. Changing these cylinders
demands some caution as there
are no “handles” on the cylinder ends
with which to lift the cylinder. Later
interchangeable musical boxes such
as those by Mermod Frères and others
incorporated handles or extended
cylinder shafts to allow lifting the
cylinder up and off the mechanism
without fear of damaging the cylinder

pins (2).

The tail stock has an indented steel
bar at its left end that marries with
the pointed pin on the right end of the
cylinder shaft. The steel bar is spring
tensioned within an iron housing that
is part of the cast bedplate. The right
end of the steel bar is bored to hold
a perpendicular steel rod that can
be rotated towards the front of the
mechanism along a curved lip in the
cast housing in order to release the
cylinder tail stock. The top of the rod
has a knurled cap that can be removed

24 MECHANICAL MUSIC May/June 2021

Restored bedplate and cylinder installed. Caution is required when changing tunes as the cylinder has no handles.

The left end of cylinder no. 60712 with
rod extended to catch the drive gear. The right end of cylinder no. 60712.

The cylinder drive notch and drive mechanism. Patent images for this technology
are shown on pages 28 and 29 of this issue.

when removing the wooden start/
stop and change/repeat cover. I noted
that the curved lip was worn from
repeated movement of the release rod
and needed some repair in order to
work as intended (3).

So, who made this? There are no
numbers or other marks anywhere
on the bedplate or works to help
identify the maker. We know it was
made after 1888 as that is the date of
the E.F. Jaccard patent and none of
the listed tunes were published after
that year. The bedplate casting is by
one of the Jaccards. The tune sheets
are Cuendet’s design and the case is
a typical Abrahams design used in
Britannia, Imperial disc boxes as well
as in cylinder boxes. Phillipe, Jules &
Charles Cuendet, Ami, Charles, Justin
and other Jaccards, from Ste Croix
and L’Auberson, and Barnett H. Abra-
hams of Ste Croix, the London agent
for Cuendet, seem to be the players.

A Similar Prototype by L’Épée

David Evans wrote an article in the
Winter 2019/2020, Issue 19, of Mechanical
Music World, published by the
Association of Musical Box Collectors
(AMBC), about a L’Épée experimental
changeable cylinder movement. The
similarities and differences to the
example that I recently restored are
most interesting.

A patent for the L’Épée mechanism
was issued to James Yates Johnson
dated Oct. 14, 1887, about four months

May/June 2021 MECHANICAL MUSIC 25

The cylinder pin holder shown with the cylinder removed.

A closeup of the cylinder pin holder in the released position.

Jaccard BRS as seen on the bedplate, but no indications are
made as to what set of Jaccard brothers made it.

The cylinder pin holder extended as it would normally be while
playing the musical box.

earlier than Jaccard’s German patent
referenced earlier.

The differences between the L’Épée
prototype described by Evans and
the piece described in this article lie
in both the cylinder drive mechanism
and in the tail stock design. The drive
mechanism is reversed from one to
the other, and the tail stock in the
Jaccard design adds the internal
tension spring to better hold the cylinder
in place and a steel shaft to release
the cylinder from above the fall board.
Both designs use a typical snail cam
on the right end of the cylinder and a

coil spring on the left end of the cylinder
shaft to help steady the cylinder
on its shaft.

Competition Among Makers

At the time these patents and
prototypes were made, the German
disc musical box manufacturing was
severely impacting Swiss cylinder
box sales. As a result, the Swiss and
French cylinder box manufacturers
were struggling to compete. One way
to do that was to add more music to
the fixed number of tunes on pinned
cylinders. This was done in several

ways. One method was to either make
the distance between the tooth tips
further apart to allow more pins to be
placed between them and thus more
tunes to be pinned on a cylinder, or to
use only every other tooth in a comb by
clipping off the tip of alternate teeth.
Another method was to pin two tunes
in a single rotation, thus doubling the
number of (albeit shorter) tunes on
a cylinder. Fat cylinders were also
employed (having a larger diameter)
that would allow for a longer program
or for two tunes of more normal
length in one rotation. The revolver

26 MECHANICAL MUSIC May/June 2021

A sideways letter J and the number 99 are impressed into the comb plinth, but it is not clear which Jaccard cast this piece.

Markings on the comb plinth (shown before restoration) indicate that the highest treble piece is to be excluded when tuning.

box provided a very complicated Competition among the cylinder My observations and research lead
and expensive way to do this as well. box makers must have been fast and me to believe that this piece was a
Further, and appropriate to this arti-furious and new ideas likely spread prototype for a mechanism that was
cle, providing additional cylinders was quickly among them. That might never put into production for at least
also tried, using either changeable or account for the similarities between the three reasons noted at (1), (2) and
interchangeable cylinders. the L’Épée and Jaccard designs. (3) above, as well as the likely high

May/June 2021 MECHANICAL MUSIC 27

One of the two typewritten tune sheets that came with the musical box.

An image from American Patent No. 382,879 showing a cylinder change mechanism.

28 MECHANICAL MUSIC May/June 2021

Another image from American Patent No. 382,879, this time
showing the cylinder drive mechanism.

In this image you can see the additional holes in the bedplate
that were later filled in as if the bedplate had been originally
used in a different configuration.

An example of a B H Abrahams musical box that somewhat
resembles the box detailed in this article.

cost of manufacturing it. I attribute it to one of the Cuendets,
likely in the 1890s, as an attempt to make a changeable
cylinder box to compete with other cylinder box makers as
well as with the German disc musical boxes. If any reader
knows of another movement like this, please let me know.
Perhaps further research can help nail down the maker.

Samples of the music may be heard at:

https://youtu.be/OsqURW0xCvw

https://youtu.be/vYuY8eZEJro

Smartphone users may scan the QR codes at right to go
directly to the videos.

More online
Smartphone users can scan the QR code above to be
taken directly to videos showing the box in this article
playing tunes.
May/June 2021 MECHANICAL MUSIC 29

PlérodieniquePlérodienique Plérodienique
A special kind
of music box

Text by Peter Both

(Translated by Deepl.com and corrected by

Carol and David Beck, and Alison Biden)

Photos from various sources

Plérodienique 9735, located at Museum Speelklok, Utrecht.
The exterior of the case features boulle inlays, a technique
named after André Charles Boulle who introduced it in the
first half of the 17th century. Here this technique was used
on ebonized ground by inlaying engraved brass, ivory and
mother-of-pearl.

For every collector and enthusiast of mechanical
music there are extraordinary objects. One of them is
the Plérodienique. Unfortunately, one rarely gets to
see and hear them.

Rediscovery

From the very beginning the name had something
mysterious about it. It is composed of ancient Greek,
here phonetically rewritten as “pleres” which translates
to “abundantly equipped, densely populated,” and
“dienekes” which translates to “continuous, continuous,
connected, uninterrupted.” An inquiry about the
origin and meaning of the word Plérodienique was
answered like this in Mechanical Music in 1963:

“Dear Mrs. Fabel

With reference to your inquiry on the word Plérodienique,
I am pleased to inform you that, since I do
not consider myself an expert, I contacted the French,
the Swiss Embassy and the Music Department of the
Library of Congress here in Washington D.C. and it
comes to this: “Plero” is a word of Greek origin
meaning “many” [and] “dienique”
is just a word ending. Therefore,
Plérodienique could mean
many sounds, fullness, full
volume or the name or type of a
of a music box. Also the following
address was furnished for technical
information – The Chambre Suisse
d’Horlogerie, La Chaux-de-Fonds,

Switzerland. I hope to have helped a
little. Sincerely,
Maria A. Balanger”

As early as 1938, L.G. Jaccard
wrote the following in a series of
articles on “The Origin and Devel

opment of the Music Box” in the
magazine Hobbies, thus encouraging
the first generation of American
collectors to specifically search for

this type:

“Plérodienique
In about 1878 Albert Jeanrenaud

invented a new type of rechange
cylinder, the ‘’Plérodienique.” It may
be considered the most perfect of long
tune music boxes ever made and is
capable of playing, without interruption,
one tune of six revolutions. The
chief characteristic of this piece is that tunes of
unequal length can be played on the six revolutions.

The cylinders are about twenty inches long and thirty-
six lines in diameter and require about two hundred
prongs on two combs of equal length. Similar to the
Sublime Harmonie type. The cylinder was made in two
sections on a common shaft, with a coil spring between
them, pushing each section against its respective “limacon”.
When the first revolution is ended, section one
stops and changes, meanwhile section two continues to
play. After the change takes place it resumes playing
and gives time for section two to go through the same
process of stopping and changing of revolution; the two
sections are now in position to play simultaneously.
The music will cease to play at the sixth revolution if
set at “stop.” Regardless of the oncoming of the popular
tune sheet music box, the phonograph and the player
pianos, this beautiful piece retains its unique position
because of its unusual mechanism.”

It is not surprising that many of the 18 researched
boxes known today were once owned by MBSI
co-founders. Again and again, more details were
sought after, as the following excerpts from Mechanical
Music show. As early as July 1960 in the article
“Simple ways to determine the age of music boxes”
written by Marguerite Fabel, we read the following,
among others:

“Remember that Interchangeable Music Boxes were
not invented until 1878, and also by this time the
different combinations of music were in use, Sublime
Harmony, Piccolo, Tremolo, and all sorts of combinations
of these. By this time the music box industry had
really advanced and the larger table boxes and elaborate
models were much in evidence.

It is well to remember too, that nickel plating was

not discovered until 1878, so boxes with it are apt to be

from 1880 on.

The Longue Marche, the music box with the long
playing capacity was made in 1876. The Revolver type,
1878, the Plérodienique (split cylinder) 1878, this box
was capable of playing tunes of unequal length. In 1886
the Ideal Interchangeable Boxes were started, there are
a lot of these, and they produce quite pleasing music. By
this time too, boxes wound with cranks on the outside,
and we now begin to find disc boxes.”

In 1963 Murtogh Guinness wrote an article with
questions that still occupy us today:

“Plérodienique or telescope music box”

“It would be interesting to know how many of our
members own a Plérodienique; it is said that there are
five or six known; that would make them seem rare, but
as to how many were made, it would be harder to know,

May/June 2021 MECHANICAL MUSIC 31

Plérodienique No. 21296, located at the Bayernhof Museum, Pittsburgh, PA.

unless some records ever turn up.

Anyone might easily pass one by
not knowing what it was unless they
had seen one, or had a description.

Roughly, the combs are like a
Sublime Harmony the cylinders made
in two halves, on one shaft, usually a
small band round the middle fills the
gap between the two halves. There is a
star wheel snail tune changer at each
end; a spring in the middle between the
two halves of the cylinder, keeps both
halves pressed against their snails;
an important point to understand in
the operation of this mechanism, is
that snails are not set in exactly the
same place at both ends, one being
further round the cylinder than the
other, by a very small amount, so that
while one half of the cylinder is being
pushed inwards, and not playing;
after both ends have changed, they

play together, as in most musical
boxes. The advantage of this system
is, that since one half changes while
the other is playing, it makes possible
continuous playing of music, for as
many revolutions as the cylinder was
made for, or for several shorter pieces.
If anyone is on the lookout for one,
things to look for are: a band round
the middle of the cylinder, (Fig. 1).
and a tune changing snail at each
end.” (Fig. 2)

Fig. 1, showing the band at the middle
of a cylinder.

Fig. 2, showing the tune changing snails
at either end of the cylinder.

32 MECHANICAL MUSIC May/June 2021

Present

My wife and I were soon made
aware of these music boxes and
wanted to listen to them at every
available opportunity. Unfortunately
for us, we have never been able to
hear the instrument exhibited at CIMA
(Musée du CIMA [Centre International
de la Mécanique d’Art], Sainte-Croix,
Switzerland) until now. It remained
under lock and key during all our
visits. Another one, in the Nethercutt
Collection in San Sylmar, CA, was not
played during our visit either as it had
been damaged in an earthquake. We
were lucky to hear one at Francis and
Esther Crawford’s home and at the
Morris Museum. At the 2019 MBSI
Annual Meeting, I attended Alison
Biden’s talk titled “Sleeping Beauties:
A Happy Ending or Grimm Fairytale.”
On this occasion Alison presented
the Plérodienique of the Pitt-Rivers
Collection, which unfortunately is
stored in the museum’s depot and will
remain hidden from the public for the
time being. I further learned that Alison
was looking for information about
the Plérodienique. When we recently
added a music box of this type to our
collection ourselves, I contacted her
and we decided, together with Dave
and Carol Beck, to look for more
information. We also wanted to find
the whereabouts of all the known
instruments. The research with the
help of many collectors and museums
has resulted in the following.

The manufacturer of the Plérodienique
is listed as Paillard & Cie.
of Ste-Croix, Switzerland, although
a single insert cylinder music box
(Seewen) is signed “G. Mermod
& Bornand, Successeurs d’Albert
Jeanrenaud” and the “Rosenberg
box” is often referred to as the only
Mermod Plérodienique. Jearenaud
was the inventor of the system but his

U.S. patent of 1882 is assigned to M.J
Paillard & Co, New York. It could also
happen that the sales agent used his
name as a trademark (for example J.
Manger).
Details and contradictions

We distinguish basically two different
types. On the one hand there
are the Plérodienique boxes with

Plérodienique No. 11025 in the collection of Peter and Jacqueline Both.

a fixed cylinder. The Museum fuer
Musikautomaten in Seewen and the
Nagamori Culture Foundation each
have an example in their collection.
The cylinder is about 42 centimeters
long with a diameter of 6.5 centimeters
and it plays six revolutions in just
under 6 minutes. On the other hand,
there are the Plérodienique music
boxes with interchangeable cylinders
in two sizes, 42 centimeters and 53.5
centimeters with a diameter of 5.5
centimeters and 6.5 centimeters,
respectively. The cases were individually
manufactured according to taste.
Probably, they were not only made in
Ste Croix, but also in England. The
exact release date of the first boxes
of this genre is by no means clear.
According to Arthur W.J.G. Ord-Hume,
a Plérodienique was presented at the
1862 London Industrial Exhibition. A

closer study of the sources, however,
reveals that John E.T. Clark already
wrote in his book, published in 1948,
that Messers Paillard of Ste. Croix
presented a very large and elaborate
music box with a greatly improved
cylinder exchange system in London
in 1862. It was the largest and most
complicated music box ever seen in
this country, with six telescopic interchangeable
cylinders. Clark examined
this instrument and further notes that
the cylinder was 53 centimeters long
and “The Barber of Seville” could be
heard on one and on another “Invitation
à la Valse.” Although both works
were composed long before, one
must assume that Clark was mistaken
about the date and that the whole
thing probably took place 15–20 years
later. Probably, Ord-Hume’s statement
was also based on Clark’s dating. It is

May/June 2021 MECHANICAL MUSIC 33

hard to imagine that all Plérodieniques
still in existence are attributed to
the period between 1880 and 1890,
implying that it took 20 years before
this type was built in larger numbers.
Paillard’s company history would also
contradict this. According to Laurent
Tissot, the Paillard brothers were
bankrupt on Apr. 3, 1861. During the
subsequent liquidation it turned out
that Marius-Justin Paillard from New
York was also involved in the bankruptcy
because of some real estate.
It was agreed to continue producing
music boxes and to establish a rescue
company called C. Paillard & Cie. in
1865. The new company flourished
not least because of Amédée Paillard’s
inventions, such as a new, simpler
exchangeable cylinder system, the
Sublime Harmonie and the so-called
revolver system. The Plérodienique
was another such new development.
In 1873, it was possible to pay back the
debts and the Paillard brothers were
rehabilitated at the court in Grandson
in 1874. Be that as it may, it is very
difficult to find reliable time sources.
Patent offices were partly established
later: France in 1792 (1900), USA in
1836, England in 1852, Germany in
1877 and Switzerland in 1888. Other
music box patents can be found from
1869 on.

Jere Ryder of the Morris Museum
recalls the following incident that
supports this thesis.

“I recall about 40 years ago,
during a visit to Guinness’ residence
by Speelklok Exec. Dir. Dr.
Jan Jaap Haspels, Jan Jaap related
to Murtogh & ourselves the story of
after having purchased their piece,
they proceeded to remove the heavy
mirror inside the lid, because the

backing material had been chafing
against the silvered side so much
so as to create heavy wear & silver
losses. As they removed the mirror,
hand fulls of old account ledger paper
fell out. To their surprise & pleasure,
they were original business debtor’s
journals, sort of an original version of
local business credit reports, a TRW of
their day. They were all from & about
London businesses & craftsmen, who
owed how much, when & to whom.

Murtogh, Jan Jaap & ourselves
looked at Murtogh’s mirror and sure
enough, there were distinct demarcation
lines of paper edges, wearing at
the mirrors rear silvered side. After
a brief discussion, we went ahead
& removed the mirror & discovered
exactly the same London debtors
journals used as packing on this
box. I seem to recall they were dated
between 1882-84, but can’t be certain.
Murtogh saved these brittle papers in
a drawer at the house, but upon his
passing they were sadly all tossed
out by contractors clearing “old stuff”
deemed unimportant.”

We have recently learned that the
papers actually still exist and have
been examined and preserved in
England with Murtogh Guinness’s
permission and will be returned to the
Morris Museum in due course.

Thanks to the long playing time of
about 6 minutes, the Plérodienique
music boxes were suitable for playing
longer pieces of music, especially
overtures, complex pieces that could
be arranged artfully. It is not surprising
that the William Tell Overture is part
of the repertoire in almost every copy.
Unfortunately for us, we have not yet
been able to make an inventory of all
the music pieces of all 18 examples.

This research is not always easy, but
thanks to colleagues, the various
museums and the internet, one can
get a lot of information within a short
time. It would be nice if readers of this
article would provide me with even
more information. By the way, there
must be two more examples. One with
a fixed cylinder, which was offered in
an auction as lot number 162.

As stated in the catalog it plays an
overture (probably Der Freischütz)
and Tales from the Vienna Woods.
According to a contemporary witness,
more than 30 years ago the movement
was separated from the case, installed
in a crystal case and sold to the Middle
East. The other specimen, the Horie
Orgel Museum Plérodienique in Chippendale
Barley twist style with seven
large cylinders (53.5 centimeters by

6.5 centimeters), was offered for sale
in 1996. Please do not hesitate to point
out any errors in my research or to
share your findings with me.
Outlook

Unfortunately, due to their complexity
and the length of the music pieces,
these music boxes are rather less
suitable for a museum tour and are
thus usually relegated to inactivity
in a quiet corner, in contrast to the
specimens in private collections.
However, the Museum of Music
Automatons in Seewen is planning
a special exhibition, “Jeu continu…
Swiss Music Boxes in a Class of their
Own” from Oct. 1, 2021 to Apr. 24,
2022, with masterpieces from its own
collections and those of other collections
in Switzerland and abroad. I am
convinced that music box lovers will
be delighted.

References

Special thanks go to the following persons
and institutions who helped with information
and thus made this article possible:

Alison Biden, Dave and Carol Beck, Raphael
Lüthi (Museum für Musikautomaten in
Seewen), Jere Ryder (Morris Museum, New
Jersey), Marieke Lefeber (Museum Speelklok,

Utrecht), Norm Dolder, Dwight Porter, Bob
Yates, Johan Goyvaerts, Michel Bourgoz, Denis
Margot, Reto Breitenmoser, Laurence Fisher,
Jean-Marc Lebout, Ralph J. Schultz, Lawrence
Crawford, Mark Yaffe, Marty Persky, Paul
Bellamy, Kyle B. Irwin (Nethercutt Collection),
David Worrall, Hana Matsuura, Bonhams NY,
Taizou Murakami, Joji Funakijo, Sachiko
Kawano, Mechanical Music, MBSGB, SFMM,
“The Musical Box” by Arthur W.J.G. Ord-Hume,

“Origin and Development of the Music Box” by

L.G. Jaccard 1938, “Musical Boxes, A History
and an Appreciation” by John E.T. Clark,
published in 1948, “The Curious History of
Music Boxes” by Roy Mosoriak, published in
1943, E. Paillard & Cie, S.A. “Une Entreprise
Vaudoise,” by Laurent Tissot, published in
1987.
34 MECHANICAL MUSIC May/June 2021

Listing of the Plérodienique music boxes known to us
(and their repertoire, as far as known):

1. Bayernhof Plérodienique No. 21296 (Bayernhof-Museum, Pittsburgh, PA)
A large music box with three existing cylinders 53.5 pieces each and the third cylinder plays two pieces with

centimeters by 6.5 centimeters. Two cylinders play three a total playing time of 6.5 minutes per cylinder.
Of course, this music box also has an eventful history
in the U.S., which can be traced back to Lloyd Kelly
(founding member and first vice president of MBSI and
also former owner of the brand “Regina Music Box”).
In 1948 Kelly sold the movement and cylinders to a
collector in Kentucky who later resold it to the American
restorer and collector couple Carol and Dave Beck. The
Becks completely overhauled the movement and passed
it on to Norman Dolder and Bill Griffin in Florida. These
two commissioned Dwight Porter, of Porter Music Box
Co., to make a new case for the previously loose musical
movement, modeled on the box in the CIMA in Ste-Croix.
The completed music box was finally sold this year to the
Bayernhof Museum in Pittsburgh, PA (former residence
of Charlie Brown). Unfortunately for us researchers, we
do not know the music repertoire yet.

2. Beck Plérodienique No. 198829 (8833) (Private collection)
An elegant piece of
medium size inlaid
mahogany case on
table. There are eight
cylinders measuring
42 centimeters by 5.5
centimeters, which
play a total of 13
pieces. An original
melody card with the
inscription “Nouveau
Système — Ouvertures
Completes” by

P.V.F. is preserved. A
nickel-plated plate
next to the playing plate shows the following engraving:
Paillard Vaucher & Co. / Manufacturers, / Ste. Croix / & /
London. / P.V.F.
The table with curved black legs has two drawers, each
with space for four cylinders. The music box was bought
by Clarence Fabel (founding member and first treasurer
of MBSI) in 1948 in an antique store in the Georgetown
neighborhood of Washington, D.C. It was later repaired
by him. After Clarence passed away, his wife, Marguerite,

sold it to Carol and Dave Beck in 1993. The repairs they
made to this machine were to clean the mechanism
(except for all the cylinders), replace one tooth and
damper the combs. They also built a safety check which
is an exact replica of the ones on Paillard music boxes.

Cyl. Program

1 Les Diamants De La Couronne, Ouverture, Auber

2 Semiramis, Ouverture, Rossini

3 Fra Diavolo, Ouverture, Auber

4 Le Barbier de Seville, Ouverture, Rossini

5 Invitation à la Valse, Weber

6 Freischütz, Ouverture, Weber& Geschichten aus dem
Wienerwald, Valse, Strauss

7 Norma, Casta Diva, Bellini & Il Travatore, Miserere,
Verdi & Pardon de Ploermel, Ombre Legere, Meyerbeer

8 Les Noces d’Olivette, Valse, Audran & Les Contes
d’Hoffmann, Barcarolle, Offenbach & Orphée aux
Enfers, Galop, Offenbach

May/June 2021 MECHANICAL MUSIC 35

3. Both Plérodienique No. 11025 (private collection)
Display piece in English
oak case, on carved chest of
drawers with pediment. Ten
cylinders of 42 centimeters
length and 5.5 centimeters
diameter, a total of 16 pieces
of music. No tune card available,
but the repertoire is
widely known and includes
Chopin and Liszt. The
music box was owned by
the unknown first owner in
England until the 1920s and
was sold to a Dyke family
at that time. Since 1974 the machine was no longer
playable. In Spring 2020, Belgian dealer Johan Goyvaerts
acquired the rare object. He made the musical work
playable again by a first restoration measure. By lucky
coincidence, we, Jacqueline and Peter Both, were able to
secure the rare piece for our collection. Michel Bourgoz
carried out further restoration work last summer, so that
the music box now plays perfectly again. Exceptional is
the Longue-Marche drive with four coupled spring housings.
Although made by Paillard, a plaque by J. Manger /

Geneva London decorates the inside of the lid.

Cyl. No. Program
1 11257 Les Diamants de la Couronne, Ouverture,
Auber
2 11258 Wilhelm Tell, Ouverture, Rossini
3 11259 Fra Diavolo, Ouverture, Auber
4 11260 Semiramis, Ouverture, Rossini
5 11261 Grand Valse Brillante, Chopin & Mazurka No.
5 Chopin
6 11262 La Radieuse, Valse Op. 72, Gottschalk & ???
unknown
7 11263 Rigoletto, Bella Figlia dell’Verdi & ???
unknown
8 11264 Olivette, Valse, Audran & Les Contes
d’Hoffmann, Barcarolle, Offenbach & Athalia
March, Mendelssohn
9 11265 Leonore, Ouverture No. 3, Beethoven
10 11266 Ungarische Rhapsodie No. 2, Schiller Marsch,
Meyerbeer & Liszt

4. Musée des Arts et Sciences (MAS) de Ste-Croix Plérodienique No. 104914 (exhibited at the Musée
CIMA, Ste Croix)
Imposing, curved music box table in Louis XV style.
Two existing cylinders 53.5 centimeters by 6.5 centimeters.
According to tradition it is the last Plérodienique
ever made by Paillard. The technical design with a
centrifugal governor for speed regulation suggests that
this movement was only made around 1900, which is
considerably later than the other known Plérodieniques.
Until 1960, this music box was part of the company’s own
product collection. After that, the music box went to the
local museum of Sainte-Croix (MAS). Two tune cards
with the music program of the corresponding cylinders
are available.

Cylinder 1 # 18540: Freyschutz, Ouverture, von Weber
& Geschichten aus dem Wienerwald, Valse, Strauss

Cylinder 2 # 13204 Rhaposdie Hongroise, Liszt & Hochzeitsmarsch,
Mendelssohn

36 MECHANICAL MUSIC May/June 2021

5. Crawford Plérodienique No. 6999 (private collection)
Francis and Esther Crawford,
founding members of MBSI in
1949 and parents of the current
owner Lawrence, purchased this
exceptional piece in the 1940s
from Lloyd Kelly of Hannover, MA.
It has four cylinders of 42 centimeters
length and 5.5 centimeters
in diameter. This is the only Plérodienique
with a reference to an
English patent Sublime Harmonie
1874, a rather early Plérodienique
with interchangeable cylinders.
The Crawfords are collectors of
the first order who kept Jaccard’s
articles and collected many
exceptional music boxes.

6. Musée d’Art et d’Histoire de Genève Plérodienique No. 18761
Music box in a very simple design, it was part of the
estate of Etienne Blyelle. Originally without a table; it
comes with five cylinders of 53.5 centimeters length and

6.5 centimeters diameter and zither.
The tune cards assign the music box the number
12230. The number 18761, on the other hand, is stamped
into a holder of the mechanism. The musical repertoire

is also nothing unusual. Something special, however, are
the recordings of Etienne. In 1994, he described how
he played two of his cylinders on the Seewen box and
vice versa to check whether the cylinders were indeed
“interchangeable”.

The five cylinders play the following 10 pieces

Cyl. No. Program
1 13202 Le Pardon de Ploermel, Ombre légère, Meyerbeer
& Il Trovatore, Choeur des forgerons,
Verdi & Il Trovatore, Stride la vampa, Verdi &
La Norma, Casta Diva, Bellini
2 16790 Les Diamants de la Couronne, Ouverture,
Auber
3 18537 Le Barbier de Seville, Ouverture, Rossini
4 18541 Valse Brillante, No. 1 Op 18, Chopin & Johns
Mazurka No. 5, Chopin
5 18763 Rigoletto, Quatuor, Verdi & Ernani, Septuor,
Verdi

May/June 2021 MECHANICAL MUSIC 37

7. Guinness Plérodienique No. 10277 The Murtogh D. Guinness collection of mechanical musical instruments
and automatons, Morris Museum, Morristown, NJ
Extraordinary music box table, made around 1885, in
the style of Napoleon III, with inlays in chased brass,
mother-of-pearl and tortoiseshell (boulle technique) and
gilded applications. In my opinion, together with the twin

from Utrecht, the most beautiful case of a Plérodienique.
The preserved tune card from P.V.F. also points out the
constructive peculiarities of the musical work:

“Le seul Système permettant de jouer des Ouvertures
entières sans interruption” and “Nouveau Système
perfectionné. Jouant des Ouvertures completes.”

There are six cylinders of 42 centimeters length and

5.5 centimeters diameter with nine different melodies:
Cyl. Program

1 Freyschütz, Ouverture, Weber & Geschichten aus dem
Wiener Wald, Waltz, Strauss

2 Le Barbier de Seville, Ouverture, Rossini

3 Sémiramis, Ouverture, Rossini

4 Guillaume Tell, Ouverture, Rossini

5 La Norma, Cavatine, Bellini & Il Trovatore, Miserere, Verdi &
Pardon de Ploermel, Ombre légère, Meyerbeer

6 Invitation à la Valse, rondo-valse, Weber

8. Kiyosato Moeginomura Plérodienique (Kiyosato Moeginomura Museum) No. 18762
Unfortunately for me, I only know this music box from
an article that appeared in Mechanical Music in 1995,
in which the author Coulson Conn praised the Plérodienique
by Joji Funaki and Jun Natori for a cylinder with
the music of Gilbert & Sullivan. The music pieces were:

• March of the Peers from “Iolanthe”
• If You Go In trio from “Iolanthe”
• Tit Willow from “Mikado”
• I Have a Song To Sing, Oh! from “Yeomen of the
Guard
I hope to learn more soon. It must be a later copy,
since Yeomen of the Guard was not composed until 1888.

38 MECHANICAL MUSIC May/June 2021

9. Nagamori Rechange Plérodienique (Nagamori Culture Foundation Collection)
This example comes on a desk / ladies’ secretary Louis

XV. It once belonged to Dr. Byron Merrick (founding
member and first president of MBSI).
Byron’s collection was sold in 1986 at Wolf’s Gallery
in Cleveland, OH. This piece was purchased by Graham
Webb for Mr. Namura in Japan. After the closure of
the Orugoru no Chiisana Hakubutsukan Museum, the
collection was sold to Shigenobu Nagamori, founder and
chairman of Nidec-Sankyo, which manufactures music
boxes, among other things. A new museum for music
boxes is planned in Kyoto and should be ready and
house the collection in 2021, which is unfortunately not
accessible at the moment.

There are six cylinders of 42 centimeters length and

5.5 centimeters diameter with nine different melodies:
Cyl. Program

1 Les Diamants de la Couronne, Overture, Auber

2 Guillaume Tell, Overture, Rossini

3 La Norma, Bellini & Il Trovatore, Miserere, Verdi & Sémiramis,
Rossini

4 Rhapsodie hongroise, Liszt & Schiller Marche, Meyerbeer

5 Les Huguenots, Bénédiction, Meyerbeer & Bahn frei, Polka,
Strauss & La Fiammina Mazurka & Petersburg Champagne
Galop

6 Olivette Valse, Audran & Les Contes d’Hoffmann, Barcarolle,
Offenbach & Athalia Marche, Mendelssohn

10. Nagamori Plérodienique with fixed cylinder (Nagamori Culture Foundation Collection)
This music box probably corresponds in type and
execution to that of Seewen: the tune card of the Pail-
lard company mentions, in addition to the designation
“Sublime Harmonie Piccolo / Système Plérodienique
jouant sans Interruption en 6 Tours,” the only piece
played by this music box is “Les Diamants de la
Couronne,” an overture by D.F.E. Auber, composed in
1841. The cylinder is not interchangeable in this work.
May/June 2021 MECHANICAL MUSIC 39

11. Nethercutt Plérodienique (The Nethercutt Collection, Sylmar, CA)
A beautiful specimen, the case was probably
completely rebuilt because the box was damaged in an
earthquake. We know very few details as the museum is
not very willing to give information. The restorer, David
Wells, said the complete mechanism is nickel plated.
12. Pitt Rivers Plérodienique No. 24190 (Pitt Rivers Museum, Oxford)
This Plérodienique is unfortunately not accessible to
the public. The Pitt-Rivers Museum in Oxford, England,
is part of Oxford University and has housed its anthropological
and archaeological collection since 1884. No
wonder that mechanical music does not enjoy top priority.
The music boxes are stored in a depot and will be
moved further in the course of the reorganization of the
museum. Nevertheless, it is worthwhile to have a look at
some details of this box.

According to museum staff, there are two versions of
the museum catalog that are not 100 percent consistent.
The box was acquired in 1943 (i.e. during the Second
World War) from the estate of an A.J.A. Symons; at
that time two different catalogs were kept in case one
of them was destroyed by enemy action. A separate
museum piece consists of a chest of drawers (not
matching the actual music box), which contains further
Plérodienique cylinders. It is assumed that they belong to
this mechanism. Since they are inaccessible, neither the
melodies nor the exact number are known. The number
on the ends of the cylinders that were visible seem to
correspond to the number on the end of the cylinder in Mozart, Wenzel Mueller. Indeed, when Mozart’s works
situ in the box. According to the catalogs, there could be were first catalogued by Ludwig von Koechel in the early
three or six additional cylinders to those listed on the 1860s, he was unsure of the authenticity and assigned it
tune card attached to the inside of the lid. Chilcott and to an annex in his catalogue published at the time.
Co. in Bristol, England, were the sales agents. Before

A.J.A. Symons, the music box belonged to a Colonel
Cyl. Program

H. Biden, who ordered it in Bristol and whose heirs
1 Kyrie (6 turns)

subsequently sold it to A.J.A. Symons. The case is simple
and not dissimilar to that of the Plérodienique in Geneva 2 Gloria (4 turns) & Qui Tollis (2 turns)
and Seewen. It comes with six cylinders measuring 53

3 Quoniam (4¼ turns) & Cum sancto spiritu (1¾ turns)

centimeters long and 6.5 centimeters diameter.

4 Credo (1¼ turns) & Et incarnatus est (2 turns) & Et

The tune plaque for this Plérodienique declares the

resurrexit (2¾ turns)

music on its six cylinders are arrangements of Mozart’s
12th Mass. Today, however, following detailed study and 5 Sanctus (1 turn) & Benedictus (5 turns)
research, this Mass is now considered by the musical

6 Agnus Dei (2¼ turns) & Dona nobis (3 ¾ turns)

authorities as being the work of a contemporary of

40 MECHANICAL MUSIC May/June 2021

13. Rosenberg Plérodienique No. 15229 (private collection)
An exceptional piece in a carved case of solid mahogany
wood, with matching table. Cases of this kind are
automatically associated with the late Idéal Interchangeable
Music Boxes by Mermod Frères, which were very
often sold in similar cases in America. Here too, Mermod
is mentioned as the manufacturer, but this seems highly
doubtful. It is also stated that the music box was sold
around 1894 by Samuel Troll (Geneva).

There are four cylinders with a length of 53.5 centimeters
for the music box. I do not know the pieces. The
music box is owned by S. Rosenberg and once belonged
to Mark Yaffe and before him to Marty Roenigk, who
acquired it from a household liquidation.

14. Seewen Interchangeable Plérodienique 16783 (Museum für Musikautomaten, Seewen)
The museum founder and collector Heinrich
Weiss-Stauffacher acquired his large Plérodienique via

H.P. Kyburz from the English collector Jack Donovan,
ca. 1978–1980. Originally, this music box was probably
accompanied by a table with a drawer for the exchangeable
cylinders. There are two cylinders 53.6 centimeters
by 6.7 centimeters. Cylinder two contains tunes from the
opera “Dorothy by Cellier” but the music on the other
cylinders is not yet identified. The music box is listed
in the inventory of the Museum of Music Automatons
under the number MMA 71697.
15. Seewen Plérodienique fixed Cylinder 12257 (Museum für Musikautomaten, Seewen)
The Museum of Music Automatons in Seewen also
owns a beautiful simple Plérodienique with a fixed
cylinder and at the same time the only known music
box whose tune sheet states, “G. Mermod & Bornand,
Successeurs d’Albert Jeanrenaud.” The carefully
hand-labeled sheet does not give any information about
the music played. The cylinder of this music box has
the dimensions 42.1 centimeters by 6.2 centimeters and
plays two pieces at the usual six revolutions. The first
one is not yet determined, the second is the “Olivette –
Valse” from the opera “Les Noces d’Olivette von Edmond
Audran,” composed in 1879, which can be heard on
numerous Plérodieniques. It also features an artistically
chiseled Zither. The music box is listed as MMA 71696 in
the inventory of the Museum of Music Automatons.

May/June 2021 MECHANICAL MUSIC 41

16. Utrecht Interchangeable Plérodienique 9735 (Museum Speelklok, Utrecht)
The exterior of the case in Napoleon III style is inlaid
with boulle inlays, a technique named after André
Charles Boulle who introduced it in the first half of the
17th century. Here this technique was used on ebonized
ground by inlaying engraved brass, ivory and mother-of-
pearl. This extremely luxurious music box has a large
musical repertoire due to the many additional cylinders
that are safely stored in its drawers. There are three
versions of the tune card.
This Plérodienique was the star of the Sotheby’s
Belgravia auction on Jun. 9, 1977, and fetched a record
price of approximately 60,000 Swiss Francs (or $64,943
U.S. dollars).
At Museum Speelklok there are nine cylinders of 42
centimeters length and 5.5 centimeters diameter with 14
different pieces of music.
Cyl. Program
1 Les Diamants de la Couronne, Overture
2 Le Barbier de Séville Overture
3 Sémiramis Overture
4 Fra Diavolo Overture
5 Invitation à la Valse
6 Guillaume Tell Overture
7 1. La Norma Casta Diva; 2. Il Trovatore Miserere; 3.
Dinorah, Ombre Légère
Cyl. Program
8 1. Les Noces d’Olivette Waltz; 2. Contes d’Hoffmann
Barcarole; 3. Orphée aux Enfers Galop
9 1. Valse Brillante, Chopin 2. Mazurka, Chopin
17. Virginia Plérodienique (Virginia Musical Museum, Williamsburg, VA)
The Museum purchased the music box from an
industrialist, the founder of the first Smithfield Ham Co.,
who bought it from the fourth-generation nephew of
President James Madison. The case is very similar to the
Nagamori box. Although there is only one cylinder left,
the still existing original piece list allows us to present
all the titles.

Cyl. Program

1 Maritana, 3 Stücke, Wallace

2 Il Trovatore, 4 Stücke, Verdi

3 Erminie, 3 Stücke, Jakobowski

4 Dorothy, 3 Stücke, Cellier

5 Ungarische Rhapsodie, Liszt & Schiller, Marsch,
Meyerbeer

6 Le Barbier de Seville, Ouverture, Rossini

42 MECHANICAL MUSIC May/June 2021

Museum of Music Automatons to host
Plérodienique special exhibition

Manufacturers along the Swiss
Jura arc once produced large and
exceptional music boxes, either for
exhibitions or on order. Technical
innovations made it possible to
play long pieces of music without
interruption – a novelty in those
days. The “Plérodienique” category
of music boxes, together with music
boxes featuring “hélicoïdal” and
“semi-hélicoïdal” tracking, are true
masterpieces of Swiss manufacture
that quicken the pulse of collectors
and enthusiasts around the globe. The
elegant musical furniture of the Belle
Époque offered a blend of precision
mechanics and particularly impressive
musical performance encased in
a dignified exterior.

The Museum of Music Automatons
in Seewen near Basel, Switzerland,
is the first in the world to showcase
the diversity of these rare exhibits
in a remarkable special exhibition
beginning Oct. 1, 2021 and extending
through Apr. 24, 2022.

Outstanding items from the museum’s
collection will be supplemented
by loans from private collectors and
museums in Europe. The exhibition
marks the first time some of the items
will be on public display.

An international collectors’ meeting
will be held at the Museum of Music
Automatons on Oct. 2, 2021, in partnership
with the Swiss Friends of
Mechanical Music SFMM.

The international collectors’
meeting will provide an opportunity
for visiting – and experiencing in the
presence of recognized experts – the
Museum of Music Automatons and,
in particular, the special exhibition
titled, “Jeu continu…” Rounding out
the event will be brief presentations,
talks and a glimpse of the museum’s
extensive collection.

A program, information and registration
for the collectors’ meeting
in Seewen can be found at www.
musikautomaten.ch or request
information by email from musikautomaten@
bak.admin.ch

Detail of a large « Plérodienique » musical box, C. Paillard & Cie., Sainte-Croix c.
1890MMA-71697 (© Seewen Museum of Music Automatons)

Large musical box on matching table with interchangeable
cylinders for continuous playing
(semi-hélicoïdal system). François Conchon,
Geneva c. 1894MMA-97706 (© Seewen Museum of
Music Automatons).

May/June 2021 MECHANICAL MUSIC 43

Organilleros

The Organ Grinders of Mexico

By Dr. Robert Penna, Ph.D

magine you are on vacation and decide to travel
outside the United States. As you wander the
streets in this foreign land, you note how different
things are from your hometown. Few signs are
written in English and passersby are speaking in
a language you recognize but cannot understand.
As you follow the map graciously provided by
your hotel clerk, you walk the labyrinth streets
to each historic location in the old town when
suddenly you hear the high-pitched sounds of an
out-of-tune street organ. More interested in seeing
and hearing this instrument, you delay your visit
to yet another cathedral and follow the sounds.

An organillero plays for passing crowds at a tourist
attraction in Mexico City. Photo by Marco Antonio
Gómez/Flickr

Organilleros ply their trade on the
streets of Mexico City. Above,
Photo by Israel Gonzalez/Flickr. Right,
Photo by Organilleros de Mexico/
Facebook.

There in the plaza directly across
from a venerable old church stands
a uniformed man patiently grinding
away at a barrel organ. Certainly, this
must be Europe, the birthplace of
player street organs and pianos, but
no, this is Mexico City.

Wearing an official cap and dressed
in a beige uniform with a Mexican flag
emblazoned on his chest and a red
silhouette of a bullfighter on his back,
the organillero patiently turns a crank
as the crowds walk around him. Few
seem to stop and even fewer toss him
a coin or two for his efforts. Once quite
popular, Mexico City’s organ grinders
are no longer in vogue and almost
certainly only tolerated by the public.

At the end of the 19th century, most
barrel organs in Mexico were imported
from Germany and were an instant hit

May/June 2021 MECHANICAL MUSIC 45

An organillera walks home, instrument slung across her back after a days work.
Photo by Organilleros de Mexico/Facebook

with the wealthy. Often used for entertainment
at private parties, they were
looked upon as the height of fashion.
As time progressed, the barrel organ
music became prized by the general
public as well. Organ grinders made
their way through the streets and were
welcomed by all.1

Many believe that the first barrel
organs arrived when European
circuses came to entertain in Mexico.2
Others believe the first organs were
a gift from the German government
to Mexican president Porfirio Diaz
who held office from 1876–1911.
Later, many instruments were made
in Central and South America.3 At
first, these organs were handed out as
bonuses to reward political favorites
and, perhaps later, to veterans who
had suffered the loss of a limb.

One of the earliest examples of
veterans gaining barrel organs is noted
by Alexander Buchner. He explained
that often barrel organs were given to
amputee veterans so they could earn a
living. This practice appeared as early
as the Seven Years War (1756–1763)
and was especially encouraged in the
German-speaking regions of Europe.
Empress Maria Theresa of Austria
was the first to authorize permits to
crank a Leierkasten (barrel organ) in
public. In 1810, Prussia copied Austria
and issued permits as well.4 American
Union veterans of the Civil War who

had suffered the loss of limbs sometimes
received barrel organs from
church and civic groups to help them
support themselves.5

In the United States, the practice
of organ grinders disappeared almost
entirely as politicians helped pass laws
outlawing their use. The most famous
of these bans was passed by New York
City Mayor Fiorello Henry LaGuardia
who dismissed them as public
nuisances.6 One of his reasons for
the ban was that the playing of these
instruments endangered children by
placing them close to automobile traffic.
He also argued that organ grinders
encouraged begging, and, as the vast
majority of the organ grinders in
New York were Italian, they were the
pawns of Mafia gangsters who rented
them their instruments and locations.7

In Mexico, the practice of organ
grinders had been held in esteem until
fairly recent days. Many of the younger
people fail to see the heritage of and
craft in the organ grinder’s work.
Money formerly given them is now
provided to street acts such as mimes,
musicians, superhero costumed characters
and street acrobats. Not so long
ago, however, the organ grinders of
Mexico were a respected part of the
culture actually receiving government
health and housing benefits.8 Unfortunately
for their ilk, this was one of
the first perks taken from them. Yet,

Above: An organillero is ignored by
most of the crowd around him. Photo by
Eduardo Meza Soto/Flickr

even today, they remain licensed and
unionized.

The decline in donations and
government support has had a negative
impact on the organilleros. In the
past, grinding was a respected occupation,
one that would be a lifelong
vocation and would see instruments
and even locations handed down
through a family. Organilleros often
worked in pairs; while one played a

46 MECHANICAL MUSIC May/June 2021

Right: An organillero seeks tips from
passersby on the street. Photo by
Eduardo Meza Soto/Flickr

barrel organ, the other would solicit
donations or tend to a merrily dressed
monkey. Nowadays, the organilleros
struggle to make a living. The cost of
repair of the instruments has become
high and many cannot afford the basic
maintenance. This is why the organ
sounds one hears on the streets are
often much out of tune and also a
reason why so many instruments are
no longer owned outright but merely

May/June 2021 MECHANICAL MUSIC 47

rented.

At first the barrel organs played
European music, mostly waltzes
and operatic overtures, but over the
years, Mexican tunes became the
norm. Songs such as “Cielito Lindo”
and “Volver, Volver” were demanded
by the public. And, of course, the
organilleros complied. One waltz
which is a perennial favorite and will
be instantly recognized by most with
different titles is “Sobre las Olas,”
written in 1888 by Juventino Rosas. It
can be heard played on a poorly tuned
barrel organ at https://www.youtube.
com/watch?v=mAry89RLvVA and on a
restored German organ at https://www.
youtube.com/watch?v=9R9I_Oop9Ds.

Many do not realize the pride in
their work felt by these grinders.
They work in hot weather carrying a
heavy instrument and constantly turn
the lever in rhythm appropriate to the
song. No matter how tired or heated
they get, the grinding must remain
consistent.

One local critic of the organilleros
complained that the songs are
endlessly repeated, out of tune, and
dated. He expressed the opinion
that the noises they make should be
banned by the government. Yet many,
especially older citizens, love the
nostalgic atmosphere they create and
praise the grinders’ hard work.9

Reports indicate that there are
fake organ grinders sneaking into the
profession. These are frowned upon
by the professionals. These imposters
carry empty organ cases with a CD

A uniformed organillero plays with his hat out for tips in Mexico City. Photo by
Angélica Portales/Flickr. Facing page, Photo by Alfredo Peñaloza/Flickr

Footnotes:

1 Cocking, Lauren. “Meet Mexico
City’s Street Organ Grinders,” Culture
Trip, June 7, 2017. https://theculturetrip.
com/north-america/mexico/articles/
meet-mexico-citys-street-organ-grinders/

2 “Mexico City’s Organ Grinders Defying
the Changing Times, Keep on Playing”, EFE
News, April 1, 2019 https://www.youtube.com/
watch?v=vsJRz-HuPpo

3 Cocking, Lauren. “Meet Mexico
City’s Street Organ Grinders,” Culture
Trip, June 7, 2017. https://theculturetrip.
com/north-america/mexico/articles/
meet-mexico-citys-street-organ-grinders/

player inside. They merely mimic the
actions of the true organilleros.

Fortunately for these true grinders,
during the late 1990s and the early
2000s, the Mexico City Government
launched a project to restore the

4 Buchner, Alexander 1959. Mechanical
Musical Instruments, translated by Iris
Urwin. London: Batchworth.

5 Penna, Robert “The Barrel Organ and the
Disabled Civil War Veteran,” MBSI Journal,
Musical Box Society International Journal,
May/June 2018

6 Penna, Robert “Organ Grinders, the Mayor
and Cartoons of the 1930’s,” MBSI Journal,
Musical Box Society International, January/
February 2018

7 Yavner, Louise “Why La Guardia Put an
End to Organ Grinding,” letter to the editor
of The New York Times, January 5, 1982. Ms.

historic city center. The plan also
called for preserving the organ grinders
as an institution. Perhaps there
is hope that this fascinating piece of
culture will continue to endure for
both locals and foreign visitors.

Yavner was the president of the La Guardia
Centennial and his former Commissioner of
Investigation.

8 Markowitz, Martin “Mexico’s Organ
Grinders dwindle in Popularity,” CCTV-America
report, https://www.youtube.com/
watch?v=YZlykOmm8ag

9 Ahmed, Azam, “Mexico City’s Organ
Grinders Once Beloved, Feel Shunned,” New
York Times, September 12, 2016. https://
www.nytimes.com/2016/09/13/world/
americas/mexico-city-organ-grinders.
html?smid=fb-nytimes&smtyp=cur&fbclid=IwAR3kGaH4CBmmw_
OyBbuj6LpmAlbtXOhXcNeTKJXvllnY0MbuDFPoUcHXCkQ

48 MECHANICAL MUSIC May/June 2021

May/June 2021 MECHANICAL MUSIC 49

In Memoriam In Memoriam
Don Lundry – 1936-2021

By Paul Senger

I am sad to announce the passing
of National Capital Chapter member
Donald “Don” W. Lundry of Locust
Grove, VA, at home, at the age of 84 on
Sunday Feb. 14. Don loved activities
with MBSI and Automatic Musical
Instrument Collectors’ Association and
was an avid collector of music boxes
and player pianos. Don and Peggy
“Peg” Lundry were regular attendees
at chapter events, annual meetings,
and were major contributors to the
2011 MBSI Annual Meeting including
serving as a tour bus captains. Don
was always cheerful with wonderful
stories, jokes and mischiefs.

Don had been dealing with multiple
illnesses, privately at home for about a
year, with the help of doctors, in-home
health aides, hospice, and his loving
wife of 12 years, Peg.

Don’s many interests included
reading, bridge, music, and travel.
Don’s love of books and reading,
particularly science fiction, led him
to join the New York Science Fiction

Society in the early 1970s. He chaired
multiple science fiction conventions
around the world. Most recently, Don
joined the county library board as
their Member-at-Large. As a bridge
player he reached LifeTime Bridge
Master status. His travels included
a European honeymoon on a Vespa
motorbike and multiple cruises.

Over the years he worked for IBM,
General Electric, and other firms as a
software engineer and manager. Don
served his country as a U.S. Army
Reservist in the Signal Corps for
approximately 30 years achieving the
rank of colonel. He was particularly
proud of his graduation from the U.S.
Army War College.

Previously, Don was married to
Grace Campbell Lundry for 40 years
before her passing in 2003. Don is
survived by his wife Peg and his three
children, 10 grandchildren and three
sisters.

Don will return to Illinois, to his
birthplace for a private burial.

Our condolences go out to Peg and
the family.

Bus Captains Don and Peg at the 2011
Annual Meeting.

Peg and Don at the 2014 MBSI Annual
Meeting.

Andy Ware – 1943-2021

It is with great sadness that we friends.
report the death of long-time Sunbelt After owning and operating a phar-
Chapter member Andy Ware. macy in California and a wholesale

Andy and Frances made the long greenhouse in Florida, Andy and Fran-
trek from Boerne, FL, to almost every ces retired to Boerne, where Andy had
Sunbelt meeting. He will certainly be space and time to pursue his hobbies
missed. of mechanical musical instruments,

Our thoughts and prayers are with plants, antique clocks and Model T
Frances and the rest of his family and Fords.

Frances and Andy Ware at a 2020
Sunbelt Chapter meeting.

MBSI has also learned that Henry Childs has passed away. Our most sincere condolences are extended to his family.

50 MECHANICAL MUSIC May/June 2021

Golden Gate Chapter

Chair: Jonathan Hoyt
Reporters: Chuck and Peggy Shoppe
Photographers: Marc Kaufman, Chuck
and Peggy Shoppe, Bob and Judy
Caletti, Alan and Mary Erb

Mar. 21, 2021 – Zoom

A small, but mighty, group of Golden
Gate Chapter members had a Zoom
chapter meeting on Sunday, Mar. 21.
We began with a discussion of the
joint Musical Box Society International/
Automatic Musical Instrument
Collectors’ Association convention set
for 2022, followed by a brief business
meeting led by Jonathan Hoyt, and
then the real fun started.

There was plenty of socializing as
we gathered together for the first time
in more than a year. The music started
with a virtual trip to Minnesota and the
viewing of a video documentary from
the Kiven Lukes collection. He shared
many pristinely-restored instruments
including a Steinway grand reproducing
piano, a Seeburg cabinet piano,
a 27-inch Regina changer, a cylinder
music box, a roller organ, and other
musical instruments in his collection.
When his collection outgrew his
house, he built a very large hall/music
room where friends could gather to
share the enthusiasm and music.

Our chapter members shared their
treasures too. Marc Kaufman played
his rare Sirion 19-inch disc shifting
upright music box. Gordon Ulrickson
played a lovely early key-wind cylinder
box. Chuck and Peggy Shoppe played
a Decap self-playing accordion and a
newly acquired 18½-inch Mira console
grand music box. We were also joined
by Alan and Mary Erb! It was the first
time many of us had seen Alan and
Mary since they moved to Nevada.
They played a large upright Regina
27-inch disc box and a small barrel
organ. Bob and Judy Caletti played a
Boogie Woogie song on their Seeburg
H with a recently added MIDI system.

All in all, it was a great meeting!

Above: Chuck and Peggy Shoppe’s
Decap accordion, alongside a Kalliope
musical box.

Left: Alan Erb plays a small barrel organ
from his collection.

(More photos on Page 52)

Closed and open views of Chuck and Peggy Shoppe’s newly-acquired 18½-inch Mira console disc box.

Marc Kaufman’s rare 19-inch Sirion
upright disc-shifting music box.

Bob Caletti with his Seeburg H, playing a Boogie Woogie tune.

52 MECHANICAL MUSIC May/June 2021

Photography tips

When taking photos at your chapter meeting or other
MBSI gathering, remember these simple tips to get great
images for the rest of the membership to enjoy.

1. If someone is looking at a musical instrument, ask them
to turn and look at you while you take the picture. It’s
always better to see someone’s face rather than the
back of their head.
2. When taking a picture of a person and a musical instrument,
ask the person to step slightly to the side of the
instrument so that you can capture their face and the
instrument at the same time. It’s great to see people
enjoying wonderful instruments, but it’s even better
when the beauty of the instrument isn’t blocked by
bodies.
3. Try to get people “in action” while they are enjoying the
music. Some of the most natural smiles and enjoyable
photos happen when people aren’t aware they are being
photographed.
4. Don’t be afraid to snap a shot with your cell phone
camera. This is a great way to capture a spontaneous
photo and most cell phone cameras take photos that are
large enough to reproduce in the magazine.
Advertise in The Mart

Have some spare parts or extra rolls taking up the space
where you should be installing your next acquisition?
Ready to trade up, but need to sell one of your current
pieces first? Get the word out to other collectors by
advertising in The Mart, an effective advertising tool at an
inexpensive price.

Go online to place your advertisement at www.mbsi.org,
fill out the form below, or contact Russell Kasselman at

(253) 228-1634 to get started. You may also email advertisements
to editor@mbsi.org
May/June 2021 MECHANICAL MUSIC 53

* Wurlitzer Style 153 Duplex
Military Band Organ
* Cremona K * Wurlitzer Style C Decap Dance Organ
* Nicole Frères Overture Music Box
* Hupfeld Universal * Mills Violano Virtuoso
Grand Deluxe
Biedermeier Style 34 Ruth & Söhne
Fairground Organ

* Bontems Bird Cage
Automatons Weber Unika

www.dutchauctioncompany.com www.swissauctioncompany.com * Instruments marked with (*) are from the
mail: retonio@dreamfactory.ch Retonio: +41 79 5301111 Jerry Doring Collections. Located in LA.

Swiss
Music Box
with 24
Cylinders
“Trois-Corps” Bureau
with 10 cylinders
* 80-key Baby Taj Mahal

RINGBAAN NOORD 5 • TILBURG • THE NETHERLANDSSATURDAY • 19 JUNE • 2021
RINGBAAN NOORD 5 • TILBURG • THE NETHERLANDSSATURDAY • 19 JUNE • 2021
• AUCTION FOR MECHANICAL MUSIC INSTRUMENTS AND AMAZING COLLECTIBLES
• FLOOR AND INTERNET BIDDING WITH LIVESTREAM
• CONSOLIDATED SHIPPING TO THE US & ASIA
• VISIT WWW.DUTCHAUCTIONCOMPANY.COM FOR MORE INFO & CATALOG ORDER
www.dutchauctioncompany.com

The Organette Book
ISBN 978-0-9557869-5-2
colour throughout;Additional Illustrations of Models; Additions to Lists of The Organette Book
ISBN 978-0-9557869-5-2
colour throughout;Additional Illustrations of Models; Additions to Lists of
The Musical Box Society of Great Britain announces the publication of two new books
Published in September 2018

100pp Hard Back ISO A4 format [8.27” × 11.70”; Profusely illustrated in

Supplement to

colour throughout with Additional Illustrations of Models, 89 Additional Lid
The Disc Musical Box Pictures Additions to Lists of Models, Patents, Tune Lists & Serial Numbers;
Combined Index of Images in the original book and its Supplement.

Compiled and Edited by
Kevin McElhone

Originally published in 2012 and still available The Disc Musical Box

ISBN 978-0-9557869-6-9

is a compendium of information about Disc Musical Boxes, their Makers and
their Music; profusely illustrated in colour throughout with Illustrations of
each Disk Musical Box Model, and with Catalogue Scans, Lists of Models,
Patents & Tune Lists.

Supplement to

Compiled and Edited by
Kevin McElhone

100pp Hard Back ISO A4 format [8.27” × 11.70”; Profusely illustrated in

Patents, Tune Lists & Tuning Scales; A New Section on Trade Cards;
Combined Index of Images in the original book and its Supplement.

The Organette Book is a compendium of information about Organettes,
their Makers and their Music. Originally published in 2000 but now out of
print although second-hand copies are occasionally available in online
auctions.

************************************************************************************************************************
For all MBSGB Publications, please refer to the Musical Box Society of Great Britain website for further details including latest
availability, discounted prices and information on how to order. -www.mbsgb.org.uk

56 MECHANICAL MUSIC May/June 2021

(802) 728-9694 (802) 728-9694
Music Box Company, Inc.

We restore Swiss cylinder and disc music boxes.

• Cylinders are repinned if necessary and all worn
parts are rebuilt to original specifications or better.
• Combs are repaired and tuned. Nickel plated parts
are replated as needed.
Trust your prized music box to the finest quality
restoration available. We have been accused of over
restoring! Better over than under I say!

We will pick up your music box anywhere east of the
Mississippi River, and transport it to our shop in
Randolph, Vermont, where it will be stored in a
climate-controlled area until it’s finished and returned.

We have a complete machine shop where we build Porter
Music Boxes, more than 3,000 so far. We are unique in
the industry in that we are capable of manufacturing any
part needed to restore any music box.

See our website, www.PorterMusicBox.com, to read
letters of recommendation and browse a selection of the
finest disc boxes currently being manufactured anywhere
in the world. We have twin disc models, single disc
models with 121/4” or15 1/ “ discs, and table models with
beautiful cabinets created for us in Italy. Also we can

occasions.

P.O Box 424
Randolph, VT 05060

support.

Call (802) 728-9694 or
email maryP@portermusicbox.com

We’re getting our vaccine shots.
We’ve made our plans.
It’s time to make yours!
Fantastic
Collection
Tours
Don’t miss an opportunity to see the Southeast’s premier
collections of mechanical music. This is a once-in-a-lifetime
chance to see and hear these marvelous instruments, live and
in person. These are each “must see” collections.
Amazing instruments! Workshops! The Mart!
Entertainment! Ice Cream Social!
International experts! Local “open houses”
This is going to be a
GREAT convention!
Aug. 30 Sept.
4, 2021
pianos ever made), and the 1876 Dufner Barrel orchestrion with
nine barrels that is one of only three known Dufner instruments.
Also see and hear his replica Seeburg KT Special nickelodeon,
one of about 60 he manufactured in the 1980s! Tour his work-
shop and a display of mechanical music, automata and opera
Registration forms for this meeting will be
in the May/June issue of Mechanical Music.
Fort Myers, Florida
We’re getting our vaccine shots.
We’ve made our plans.
It’s time to make yours!
Fantastic
Collection
Tours
Don’t miss an opportunity to see the Southeast’s premier
collections of mechanical music. This is a once-in-a-lifetime
chance to see and hear these marvelous instruments, live and
in person. These are each “must see” collections.
Amazing instruments! Workshops! The Mart!
Entertainment! Ice Cream Social!
International experts! Local “open houses”
This is going to be a
GREAT convention!
Aug. 30 Sept.
4, 2021
pianos ever made), and the 1876 Dufner Barrel orchestrion with
nine barrels that is one of only three known Dufner instruments.
Also see and hear his replica Seeburg KT Special nickelodeon,
one of about 60 he manufactured in the 1980s! Tour his work-
shop and a display of mechanical music, automata and opera
Registration forms for this meeting will be
in the May/June issue of Mechanical Music.
Fort Myers, Florida
The JANCKO Collections

Joel and Pam Jancko’s “Backyard Museum” features a group
of buildings each with a magical display of Americana from
the Civil War through WWI. The Barn is where you will see
and hear a wide variety of automatic musical instruments,
including an Imhof & Mukle, Seeburg H, Wurlitzer CX, Double
Mills Violano, Cremona K, Weber Unica, Encore Banjo, Model
B Harp, Bruder band organ, Limonaire band organ, Bruder
monkey organ, American Photo Player and classic Mortier, as
well as a variety of cylinder and disc music boxes, organettes
and phonographs. Also walk through a service station, fire
station, bicycle shop, and cinema. In the Annex you will see
rare military artifacts (including a working Gatling gun) and
an authentic log cabin, general store, 1910 soda fountain,
game room and saloon. Outside, explore the fort. Listen to a
performance on the crown jewel of the collection – the OPUS
1616, a 3/23 Wurlitzer Theater Organ, installed in the newly
constructed dance hall.

The EDGERTON Collection

Bill Edgerton’s collection has it all -big and small. It includes
four fairground organs (Gavioli, Bruder, Limonaire and
Gasparini), a large Decap, an Ampico A piano with some
unusual music choices, several special cylinder and disc
boxes, barrel pianos and barrel organs, an Orpheus disc-playing
piano, a Piano Melodico (one of the most ornate 65-note

posters. You must see his framed artwork that smiles at you….
then it doesn’t!

The YAFFE Collection

Find a comfortable couch and enjoy Mark and Christel Ya§e’s
beautifully-appointed venue while listening to their large and
varied group of instruments, including the earliest known
Francois Nicole overture music box plus Falcone, Reymond
Nicole, F Nicole and Nicole grand format overture boxes.
Single overture boxes by Ducommon Girod, Mertert, and
Nicole and a Captains table interchangeable overture cylinder
box with 12 cylinders are on the menu. See rare and unique
automata – a drunk on the bench, a Cambodian dancer (one of
two known), a life size flute player, a Japanese mask seller and
an acrobat. Don’t forget the organs, an 84-key Mortier cafe,
112-key Mortier dance organ, 121-key DeCap dance organ plus
European orchestrions (Marenghi orchestrion, Welte style 3 in
custom case, Weber Otero, Weber violano, Weber Unika,
Popper Roland, Hupfeld universe with moving scene, Hupfeld
Helios 1/31, Phillips Paganini 3 Orchestrion), custom art case
pianos (Kanabe, Mason Hamlin and Chickering); the latest
known Hupfeld Phonolizt Violina; American nickelodeons
(Mills double violano in custom Gothic case, Encore original
(not repo) banjo, Wurlitzer, Violano, Seeburg J with bird pipes,
Nelson Wiggins 6x and 8x, Cremona J and G, Link with endless
roll). And much more!

WWW.REEDERPIANOS.COM • 517-886-9447
Specializing in the Restora on and Retail of Fine Pianos
Available Reproducing Pianos:
Chickering •Marshall & Wendall •George Steck
Mason & Hamlin •Knabe •Aeolian
»QRS & AMPICO MUSIC ROLLS«
“Where Fine Pianos
Are Reborn”
WWW.REEDERPIANOS.COM • 517-886-9447
Specializing in the Restora on and Retail of Fine Pianos
Available Reproducing Pianos:
Chickering •Marshall & Wendall •George Steck
Mason & Hamlin •Knabe •Aeolian
»QRS & AMPICO MUSIC ROLLS«
“Where Fine Pianos
Are Reborn”
4-4time.com

“I am still
delighted with
the machines
I bought from
you. Your prices

Purchasing single pieces or entire collections.
were fair, everything
was just as you
described it.”
– Joe… Baraboo, WI, April 2020
Browse our selection of music boxes,
music box disc, phonographs, cylinder
records and more on: 4-4time.com
Call / Text: 256-702-7453
Email: four.four_time@yahoo.com

Ben’s Player Piano Service
Repair and restoration of air powered mechanical music
devices of all description.
Player pianos
Reproduing pianos
Dance organs
Fairground organs
Nickelodeon pianos
Original historically
Correct techniques
And materials used
Throughout in the
Rebuilding process.
Benjamin R Gottfried
464 Dugan Road, Richfield Springs NY 13439
Bensplayerservice.com 315-858-2164
May/June 2021 MECHANICAL MUSIC 59

A FANTASTIC AUCTION
Antique Music Boxes, Phonographs & Related ItemsAndrew & Harriet Ellis Collection
A FANTASTIC AUCTION
Antique Music Boxes, Phonographs & Related ItemsAndrew & Harriet Ellis Collection
To be held in the Barry Expo Center, on the Barry County Fairgrounds at 1350 N. M-37 Highway,
Hastings, Michigan – 4-1/2 miles northwest of Hastings on M-37 or approx. 20 miles southeast of

Grand Rapids on Beltline/M-37 to the auction location on:

Thursday, Friday & Saturday, September 2, 3 & 4, 2021Thursday starts at 1:00 P.M. following the luncheonFriday and Saturday begin at 9:00 A.M. each dayThis collection is phenomenal and the content is
staggering. Hundreds of machines, rarity afterrarity, and multiples of desirable and sought after
examples about. As found examples acquired and
accumulated by Mr. and Mrs. Ellis over the course

of five decades, makes this an offering that any

collector, museum and investor will not want to
miss.

Regretfully, Mr. Ellis passed away on February 27at the age of 87. This collection is a tribute to his
efforts to acquire and accumulate wonderful and

desirable machines in this field, along with his wife

Harriet during their 68 year marriage.

Plan on attending this terrific event. Call for your

copy of a complete catalog with over 1,000 pictures.

Rare Edison
Class M with
5” mandrel

Rare Multiphone Banjo Model
coin operated 24 cylinder
phonograph

Symphonion Eroica triple disc music
box in the Haydn Model, an extremely

hard to find example.

Steven E. Stanton

144 South Main St., P.O. Box 146 • Vermontville, MI 49096

(517) 331-8150

Phone 517-726-0181 • Fax 517-726-0060
e-mail: stantonsauctions@sbcglobal.net Michael C. Bleisch
website: www.stantons-auctions.com (517) 231-0868

Stanton’s Auctioneers & Realtors conducting auctions throughout Michigan and across the United States since 1954.
Over 7500 sales conducted and 4,000 parcels of real estate sold at auction. Call us to discuss your sale with a firm has the
experience to properly handle the job right for you. Steven E. Stanton, (517) 331-8150, Email – stevenEstanton@gmail.com

FOR SALE
CIRCA 1990s Reuge musical movements

THE MART

never used, in original packaging, pristine

RESTORED MUSICAL BOXES Offering a condition: two 4/50 (45008 & 45079); one

variety of antique musical boxes, discs, 3/72 (37213); and one 3/144 (314403)..

orphan cylinders, reproducing piano rolls & Contact DAVID CROTHERS, at dwcboxes@

out of print books about mechanical music. me.com or 267-280-2376

BILL WINEBURGH 973-927-0484 Web:

Display Advertising Dimensions and Costs
Dimensions 1 issue 3 issues* 6 issues*
Back Cover 8.75” x 11.25” $600 $540 $510
Inside Covers 8.75” x 11.25” $450 $405 $383
Full Page 7.25” x 9.75” $290 $261 $246
Half Page 7.25” x 4.5” $160 $144 $136
Quarter Page 3.5” x 4.5” $90 $81 $77
Eighth Page 3.5” x 2.125” $50 $45 $43
Add a 10% surcharge to the prices shown above if you are not a member of MBSI.
*Display Discounts shown above are calculated as follows:
3 consecutive ads 10% Discount
6 consecutive ads 15% Discount

ALL ADS MUST BE PREPAID

We accept VISA/MC and Paypal.

ADVERTISING DEADLINES:

The 1st day of each even month: Feb., Apr., Jun, Aug., Oct. and Dec.

Display ads may be submitted camera-ready, as PDF files, or with text and
instructions. File submission guidelines available on request.

Errors attributable to Mechanical Music, and of a significant nature, will be
corrected in the following issue without charge, upon notification.

CLASSIFIED ADS

• 47¢ per word
• ALL CAPS, italicized and bold
words: 60¢ each.
• Minimum Charge: $11 per ad.
• Limit: One ad in each category
• Format: See ads for style
• Restrictions: Ads are strictly
limited to mechanical musical
instruments and related items and
services
• MBSI member’s name must
appear in ad
• Non-members may advertise at the
rates listed plus a 10% surcharge
PLEASE NOTE:

The first two words (or more
at your choice) and the member’s
name will be printed in all caps/bold
and charged at 60¢ per word.

Mechanical Music

Mechanical Music is mailed to all
members at the beginning of every
odd month — January, March, May,
July, September and November.

MBSI Advertising Statement

It is to be hereby understood
that the placing of advertisements
by members of the Society in this
publication does not constitute nor
shall be deemed to constitute any
endorsement or approval of the business
practices of advertisers. The
Musical Box Society International
accepts no liability in connection
with any business dealings between
members and such advertisers.

It is to be further understood that
members are to rely on their own
investigation and opinion regarding
the reputation and integrity of
advertisers in conducting such business
dealings with said advertisers.

antiquemusicbox.us

THE GOLDEN AGE of AUTOMATIC MUSICAL
INSTRUMENTS By ART REBLITZ.
Award-winning classic that brings historical,
musical, and technical information to life
with hundreds of large, vivid color photos.
We guarantee you’ll find it to be one of the
most interesting, inspiring, informative books
you have in your library–or your money back.
Everyone has been delighted, and some
readers have ordered several copies. Get
your copy today for $99 plus S/H. MECHANICAL
MUSIC PRESS-M, 70 Wild Ammonoosuc
Rd., Woodsville, NH 03785. (603) 747-2636.

http://www.mechanicalmusicpress.com

Each One
Reach One
New Member
REGINA 151/2 MUSIC BOX. Mechanism was
professionally restored. Bought new combs
from Porter and they have been tuned and
installed. Plays as it should. New top reproduced.
Have receipts for work and parts.
$2,100.00. Call JON GULBRANDSON, at
(763) 923 5748

SYMPHONION TWIN DISCS 19 sets of 11
7/8” discs for Symphonion table model twin
disc machine. $600.00. Regina 20 3/4” discs
in good to fair condition. Lot of 12 discs,
$300.00. Contact ART MUELLER, at amuellerjr@
verizon.net or (410) 564-8987.

MILLS VIOLANO – Seriously consider this

SUBMIT ADS TO:

MBSI Ads
130 Coral Court
Pismo Beach, CA 93449
(253) 228-1634
Email: editor@mbsi.org

62 MECHANICAL MUSIC May/June 2021

one! Choice playing condition, sounds great,
holds tune well, looks great, roll library.
Price reduced to sell, $18,950: CARL FREI
CONCERT FAIR ORGAN, plays Gavioli G4
scale arrangements by Carl Frei, Prinsen, Van
Boxtel, Gustav Bruder. 1600 meters of books
alone valued at $30M+ including overtures,
musicals, popular, waltzes, marches. Nine
carved figures. Has been indoors for past
40 years. Big organ sound. Need to move,
so must sell. Price reduced to $99,500. Call
for more details. HERB BRABANDT (502)
425-4263, johebra3@twc.com

SEEBURG GREYHOUND Dog Race nickelodeon.
Completely restored. Excellent
condition. https://www.youtube.com/
watch?v=YscJpQHTzJI Contact BILL
KAVOURAS, at deekav@aol.com or call
352-527-9390

MARVELS OF MECHANICAL MUSIC – MBSI
Video. Fascinating and beautifully-made
film which explains the origins of automatic
musical instruments, how they are collected
and preserved today, and their historic
importance, MBSI members and collections
are featured. $20 USD. Free shipping in the
continental U.S. Additional postage charges
apply for other locations. Purchase now at
www.mbsi.org

Add a photo to your ad!
You know the old saying, “A photo
is worth 1,000 words!” For $30 you
can add a photo to your ad in the
Mart.
A photo makes your ad stand out
on the page and quickly draws a
reader’s interest in the item.
Email your advertisement with
photo to editor@mbsi.org or call
(253) 228-1634 for more details.
WANTED
LOWREY OR HAMMOND ORGAN that plays
piano rolls or the player part, working or not.
These were made in the early 1980s. Contact
LES BEEBE, at (609) 654-2789.

COINOLA “X” or C-2. Also Regina 216 music
box with bells. Contact DON KROENLEIN, at
fbac@one-eleven.net or (217) 620-8650

SEEKING PLANS or measurement for a
Polyphon lower cabinet for 19.5 size disc.
Contact ROD MOORE, rodcrna4u@gmail.
com or (336) 337-1165 North Carolina

SERVICES
REPRODUCTION POLYPHON discs; Catalogs
available for 19 5/8”, 22 1/8”, and 24
1/2”. DAVID CORKRUM 5826 Roberts Ave,
Oakland, CA 94605-1156, 510-569-3110,
www.polyphonmusic.com

SAVE $’s on REUGE & THORENS MUSIC
BOX REPAIR & RESTORATION – MBSI
MEMBERS RECEIVE WHOLESALE PRICING.

40 + Years experience servicing all makes
& models of cylinder and disc music boxes,
bird boxes, bird cages, musical watches, Anri
musical figurines, et al. All work guaranteed.
We’re the only REUGE FACTORY AUTHORIZED
Parts & Repair Service Center for all of North
America. Contact: DON CAINE -The Music
Box Repair Center Unlimited, 24703 Pennsylvania
Ave., Lomita, CA 90717-1516. Phone:

(310) 534-1557 Email: MBRCU@AOL.COM.
On the Web: www.musicboxrepaircenter.com
Advertise in The Mart

Have some spare parts or extra rolls
taking up the space where you should be
installing your next acquisition?
Get the word out to other collectors by
advertising in The Mart, an effective
advertising tool at an inexpensive price.
Email your ad to editor@mbsi.org or call

(253) 228-1634 to place your ad for the
July/August 2019 issue.
Add a photo to your ad!

Photos are only $30 extra per issue.

Email editor@mbsi.org or
call (253) 228-1634 for more details.

Display Advertisers

3………. Renaissance Antiques
53…….. Music Box Restorations
53…….. Miller Organ Clock
54…….. Dreamfactory
55…….. Dreamfactory
56…….. MBSGB
56…….. American Treasure Tour
57…….. Porter Music Box Company
58…….. Southeast Chapter
59…….. Reeder Pianos
59…….. Cottone Auctions
59…….. Ben’s Player Piano Service
59…….. 4-4Time.com
60…….. Stanton Auctions
61…….. Nancy Fratti Music Boxes
67…….. Marty Persky Music Boxes
68…….. Morphy Auctions

Mechanical
Music
Directory
MeMbers,
MuseuMs,
& Dealers
2020 2021
ORDER EXTRA COPIES

The 2020-2021 Directory of Members,
Museums and Dealers is only $10 for
members. (International shipping is extra)

Call MBSI Administrator Jacque Beeman at

(417) 886-8839 or send a check to:
Musical Box Society International
P.O. Box 10196
Springfield, MO 65808-0196
May/June 2021 MECHANICAL MUSIC 63

OFFICERS, TRUSTEES & COMMITTEES of the
MUSICAL BOX SOCIETY INTERNATIONAL®

OFFICERS
President

Tom Kuehn
4 Williams Woods
Mahtomedi, MN 55115
kuehn001@umn.edu

Vice President

David Corkrum
5826 Roberts Avenue
Oakland, CA 94605
musikwerke@att.net

Recording Secretary

Linda Birkitt
PO Box 541
San Juan Capistrano, CA 92693
scarletpimpernel28@yahoo.com

Treasurer

Edward Kozak
3615 North Campbell Avenue
Chicago, IL 60618
kozak@seldenfox.com

TRUSTEES

Dave Calendine
Bob Caletti
Ed Cooley
Dave Corkrum

G.Wayne Finger
Matt Jaro
Tom Kuehn
Mary Ellen Myers
MBSI FUNDS

COMMITTEES
Audit

Edward Cooley, Chair, Trustee
Dave Calendine, Trustee
Matt Jaro, Trustee

Endowment Committee

Edward Kozak, Treasurer, Chair
Edward Cooley, Trustee
Dave Calendine, Trustee
B Bronson
Wayne Wolf

Executive Committee

Tom Kuehn, Chair, President
David Corkrum, Vice President
Clay Witt, Immediate Past Pres.

G.Wayne Finger, Trustee
Mary Ellen Myers, Trustee
Finance Committee

Edward Kozak, Chair, Treasurer
Wayne Wolf, Vice Chair
David Corkrum, Vice President
Edward Cooley, Trustee
Peter Both

Marketing Committee

Bob Smith, Chair
Dave Calendine, Trustee

G.Wayne Finger, Trustee
Judy Caletti
Meetings Committee

Matt Jaro, Chair, Trustee
Judy Caletti
Tom Chase
Cotton Morlock
Rich Poppe

Membership Committee

Chair, TBD
Mary Ellen Myers, Trustee,

Southeast
Linda Birkitt, Southern California
Gary Goldsmith, Snowbelt
Christine Hopwood, Golden Gate
Julie Morlock, Southeast
Rob Pollock, Mid-America
Dan Wilson, Piedmont
Gerald Yorioka, Northwest Int’l
TBD, East Coast
TBD, Great Lakes
TBD, National Capital
TBD, Sunbelt

Museum Committee

Sally Craig, Chair
Clay Witt, Immediate Past Pres.
Glenn Crater, National Capital
Ken Envall, Southern California
Julian Grace, Sunbelt
Matt Jaro, National Capital
Richard Simpson, East Coast

Museum Sub-Committees

Ohio Operations
Emery Prior

SPECIAL ACTIVITIES
Publications Back Issues:

Jacque Beeman

Regina Certificates:

B Bronson

MBSI Pins and Seals:

Jacque Beeman

Librarian:

Jerry Maler

Historian:

Bob Yates

Nominating Committee

Dan Wilson, Chair
Clay Witt, Immediate Past Pres.
Bob Caletti, Golden Gate, Trustee
Mary Ellen Myers, Trustee,

Southeast
Jonathan Hoyt, Golden Gate
Robin Biggins, Southern California
Aaron Muller, Lake Michigan

Publications Committee

Bob Caletti, Chair, Trustee
Steve Boehck
Dave Corkrum, Vice President
Christian Eric
Kathleen Eric
Terry Smythe

Publications
Sub-Committee

Website Committee
Rick Swaney, Chair
B Bronson
Don Henry
Knowles Little, Web Secretary

Special Exhibits Committee

Chair Mary Ellen Myers, Trustee,
Southeast
David Corkrum, Vice President,

Golden Gate
Donald Caine, Southern California
Jack Hostetler, Southeast
Knowles Little, National Capital
Judy Miller, Piedmont
Aaron Muller, Lake Michigan
Wayne Myers, Southeast
Rick Swaney, Northwest Int’l

MBSI Editorial Office:

Iron Dog Media
130 Coral Court
Pismo Beach, CA 93449
editor@mbsi.org

Members can donate to these funds at any time.
Send donations to: General Fund (unrestricted)
MBSI Administrator, Endowment Fund (promotes the purposes of MBSI, restricted)
PO Box 10196, Ralph Heintz Publications Fund (special literary projects)
Springfield, MO 65808-0196. Museum Fund (supports museum operations)

All manuscripts will be subject to editorial review. Committee and the Editorial Staff. are considered to be the author’s personal opinion.
Articles submitted for publication may be edited The article will not be published with significant The author may be asked to substantiate his/her
or rejected at the discretion of the Publications changes without the author’s approval. All articles statements.

64 MECHANICAL MUSIC May/June 2021

CALENDAR OF EVENTS

Date Event Location Sponsor
Aug. 30-Sept. 4, 2021 MBSI Annual Meeting Ft. Myers, FL Southeast Chapter

When will your chapter meet next? Holding a “virtual meeting?” Let us know!
Send in your information by Jun. 1, 2021, for the July/August issue.
Don’t hold your questions until the next chapter meeting. Ask them today on our FaceBook discussion group

-the Music Box Society Forum.
Please send dates for the Calendar of Events to Russell Kasselman (editor@mbsi.org)

CONTACTS

Administrator Jacque Beeman handles back issues (if available) $6;
damaged or issues not received, address changes, MBSI Directory
listing changes, credit card charge questions, book orders, status of your
membership, membership renewal, membership application, and MBSI
Membership Brochures.
P.O. Box 10196
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Phone/Fax (417) 886-8839
jbeeman.mbsi@att.net

Traveling MBSI Display
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Advertising for Mechanical Music
Russell Kasselman
Iron Dog Media
130 Coral Court
Pismo Beach, CA 93449
Phone (253) 228-1634
editor@mbsi.org

CHAPTERS

Snowbelt

Chair: Tracy Tolzmann
(651) 674-5149
Dues $10 to Gary Goldsmith
17160 – 245th Avenue
Big Lake, MN 55309

Southeast

Chair: Jack Hostetler
(352) 633-1942
Dues $5 to Clay Witt
820 Del Rio Way Unit 203
Merritt Island, FL 32953

Museum Donations
Sally Craig,
2720 Old Orchard Road
Lancaster, PA 17601
Phone (717) 295-9188
rosebud441@juno.com

MBSI website
Rick Swaney,
4302 209th Avenue NE
Sammamish, WA 98074
Phone (425) 836-3586
r_swaney@msn.com

Web Secretary
Knowles Little
9109 Scott Dr.
Rockville, MD 20850
Phone (301) 762-6253
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CHAPTERS

East Coast

Chair: Elise Low
(203) 457-9888
Dues $5 to Roger Wiegand
281 Concord Road
Wayland, MA 01778
or pay via PayPal, send to
treasurereccmbsi@gmail.com

Golden Gate

Chair: Jonathan Hoyt
jenjenhoyt@yahoo.com
Dues $5 to Dave Corkrum
5826 Roberts Ave.
Oakland, CA 94605

Japan

Chair: Naoki Shibata
81-72986-1169
naotabibito396amb@salsa.ocn.ne.jp
Treasurer: Makiko Watanabe
makikomakiko62@yahoo.co.jp

Lake Michigan

Chair: Aaron Muller
(847) 962-2330
Dues $5 to James Huffer
7930 N. Kildare
Skokie, Illinois 60076

Mid-America

Chair: Rob Pollock
(937) 508-4984
Dues $10 to Harold Wade
4616 Boneta Road
Medina, OH 44256

National Capital

Chair: Matthew Jaro
(301) 482-2008
Dues $5 to Florie Hirsch
8917 Wooden Bridge Road
Potomac, MD 20854

Northwest International

Chair: Rick Swaney
(425) 836-3586
Dues $7.50/person to Kathy Baer
8210 Comox Road
Blaine, WA 98230

Piedmont

Temp Chair: Dan Wilson
(919) 740-6579
musicboxmac@mac.com
Dues $10 to Dan Wilson
4804 Latimer Road
Raleigh, NC. 276099

Southern California

Chair: Robin Biggins
(310) 377-1472
Dues $10 to Diane Lloyd
1201 Edgeview Drive
Cowan Hgts, CA 92705

Sunbelt

Chair: Ray Dickey
(713) 467-0349
Dues $10 to Diane Caudill
4585 Felder Road
Washington, TX 77880

Copyright 2021 the Musical Box Society International, all rights reserved. Permission to reproduce by any means, in whole or in part, must be obtained in writing
from the MBSI Executive Committee and the Editor. Mechanical Music is published in the even months. ISSN 1045-795X

May/June 2021 MECHANICAL MUSIC 65

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Mechanical Music
Devoted to All Automatic Musical Instruments
Journal of the Musical Box Society International
Mechanical Music
Journal of the Musical Box Society International
Devoted to All Automatic Musical Instruments
Volume 63, No. 3 May/June 2017
Mechanical Music
Journal of the Musical Box Society International
Devoted to All Automatic Musical Instruments
Volume 63, No. 1 January/February 2017
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7

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Volume 67, No. 2 March/April 2021

Mechanical Music

Journal of the Musical Box Society International
Devoted to All Automatic Musical Instruments

Volume 67, No. 2 March/April 2021

PuRchAse • sAles • consignment

of Quality Cylinder & Disc Music Boxes, Musical Clocks & Automata

For over forty years we’ve placed fine antiques in collections around the world.
Our reputation has been built upon appreciative buyers and satisfied sellers.
Pictured are a few of the musical antiques in our current and recent inventories.

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Open Seven Days a Week 10-6 • 805-452-5700
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Editor/Publisher

Russell Kasselman
(253) 228-1634
editor@mbsi.org

MBSI Editorial Office:

Iron Dog Media
130 Coral Court
Pismo Beach, CA 93449
editor@mbsi.org

Publications Chair

Bob Caletti

All manuscripts will be subject to editorial
review. Articles submitted for publication may
be edited or rejected at the discretion of the
Publications Committee and the Editorial
Staff. The article will not be published with
significant changes without the author’s
approval. All articles are considered to be the
author’s personal opinion. The author may be
asked to substantiate his/her statements.

Mechanical Music (ISSN 1045-795X) is published by
the Musical Box Society International, 130 Coral Court,
Pismo Beach, CA 93449 six times per year. A Directory
of Members, Museums and Dealers is published
biennially. Domestic subscription rate, $60. Periodicals
postage paid at San Luis Obispo, CA and additional
mailing offices.

Copyright 2021. The Musical Box Society International,
all rights reserved. Mechanical Music
cannot be copied, reproduced or transmitted in
whole or in part in any form whatsoever without
written consent of the Editor and the Executive
Committee.

MEMBERS: SEND ADDRESS CORRECTIONS TO:
MBSI, PO Box 10196,
Springfield, MO 65808-0196
Or, make corrections on the website at www.mbsi.org.

POSTMASTER: SEND ADDRESS CHANGES TO

MBSI, PO Box 10196,
Springfield, MO 65808-0196

Mechanical Music

Journal of the Musical Box Society International

Devoted to All Automatic Musical Instruments

Volume 67, No. 2 March/April 2021

MBSI NEWS

5 President’s Message
7 Editor’s Notes
8 Outreach Corner

49 In Memoriam

Features

15 Nickel Notes
by Matt Jaro

21 La Cracovienne, a
key-wind music box by
an unknown maker

25 The origins of the A D
Cunliffe Musical Box
Register

28 Farny Wurlitzer
addresses the American
Theatre Organ Society,
Part 2

47 The mechanics of a
child’s musical rocking
chair

MBSI has replanted 132 trees so far as
part of the Print ReLeaf program.

On the Cover
A 33/56 Konzert Drehorgel by
Christian Wittmann Orgelbau.
Read about Gordie Davidson’s
experiences cranking for crowds
and find out why he likes Christian
Wittmann’s organs so much. (Photo
by Sue Brown) Page 40.
La Cracovienne

Paul Bellamy discusses the details
of a pre-1860 key-wind music box
in his collection. Page 21.

March/April 2021 MECHANICAL MUSIC 3

MEMBERSHIP APPLICATION MEMBERSHIP APPLICATION
M
M
echanical music is a fascinating hobby! It
appeals to the artist, historian, craftsman, and

musician all at the same time. Play an automatic

musical instrument in a room full of people and all else

will stop as the machine enraptures the audience with the

sparkling melodies of yesteryear!

Mechanical music instruments are any sort of auto

matically-played machine that produces melodic sound

including discs and cylinder music boxes that pluck a steel

comb; orchestrions and organs that engage many instru

ments at once using vacuum and air pressure; player and

reproducing pianos that use variable vacuum to strike piano

wires; phonographs; and self-playing stringed, wind, and

percussion instruments of any kind.

The Musical Box Society International, chartered by the

New York State Board of Regents, is a nonprofit society

dedicated to the enjoyment, study, and preservation of

automatic musical instruments. Founded in 1949, it now

has members around the world, and supports various

educational projects.

Regional chapters and an Annual Meeting held each year
in different cities within the United States enable members
to visit collections, exchange ideas, and attend educational
workshops. Members receive six issues of the journal,
Mechanical Music, which also contains advertising space
for members who wish to buy, sell, and restore mechanical
musical instruments and related items. Members also
receive the biennial MBSI Directory of Members, Museums,
and Dealers.

The only requirements for membership are an interest in
automatic music machines and the desire to share information
about them. And you’ll take pride in knowing you
are contributing to the preservation of these marvelous
examples of bygone craftsmanship.

More Information online at www.MBSI.org, or

Call: (417) 886-8839, or

Email: jbeeman.mbsi@att.net

Copy this page, and give it to a potential new member. Spread the word about MBSI.

Last name First Name Initial

Last Name First Name Initial

Address

City State / Zip Postal Code / Country

Phone Fax E-mail

Sponsor (optional)

Membership Dues

US members (per household)……………………………………….$60
Student Membership $20

(online journal access only)

Canada…………………………………………………………………………$70
Other International………………………………………………………$75

(Add $20 for International air mail.)

Join online: www.mbsi.org/join-mbsi

Check or Money Order Payable to: MBSI Treasurer (US Funds Only)
Mail to: New Member Registration – MBSI
PO Box 10196
Springfield, MO 65808-0196

Visa/MasterCard

Exp. Date CCV

Signature

4 MECHANICAL MUSIC March/April 2021

By Tom Kuehn

MBSI President

As we March into spring, we leave
winter, and hopefully the worst of
the pandemic, behind us. Although
many normal activities have been
put on hold, our hobby continues in
other ways. I want to bring two recent
developments to your attention.

The first is the release of the book,
“The Reblitz-Bowers Encyclopedia
of American Coin-Operated Pianos
and Orchestrions and Related Instruments”
by Art Reblitz and Q. David
Bowers. (See Book Review, Page
12.) As many of you know, this book
has been in the works for several
years. The layout was performed by
Terry Smythe who brought a draft
of the manuscript with him when he
attended our last annual meeting in
Rockville, MD, more than 18 months
ago, to receive the MBSI Literary
Award. The draft appeared to fill
one-half of a suitcase. The list of credits
and acknowledgments covers three
pages and is a veritable who’s who in
mechanical music in America. The
authors include some new wrinkles
such as a numerical scheme for accurately
cataloging instruments. Many
obscure firms and their products are
included in a publication such as this
for the first time. I offer my congratulations
to all who played a role in this
significant new publication.

It may be of interest to note that
the heyday of the American coin
piano industry lasted only about 25
years, from around 1903 to 1928. The
“Encyclopedia of Automatic Musical
Instruments” by Q. David Bowers was
first printed in 1972, nearly 50 years
ago. That’s twice the length of time as
the duration of the original industry.

The second development is the
advent of presentations streamed live
via Zoom. One example, The Wonders
of Mechanical Music and Carousels, is
available on the first Monday of every
month. These online show and talk
sessions were initiated last summer

by the Carousel Organ Association of
America (COAA) to partially compensate
for the lack of organ rallies. Our
own East Coast Chapter is one of the
co-sponsors.

The presentations are free to anyone
who wishes to attend, but they require
advance registration. The initial focus
was on organs and carousels but has
expanded to include most other types
of mechanical musical instruments.
Some of the past presentations can be
accessed on YouTube, including one
where Arnold Chase demonstrates
some of the instruments in his collection.
Close-up and interior views are
provided that would not normally be
seen by visitors.

The speaker for February’s presentation
was none other than MBSI
Trustee Matt Jaro, who gave an informative
talk on nickelodeon music that

included audio recordings from three
of Matt’s own Seeburg machines. At
least 130 people were in attendance.
I suggest you look at the schedule
of future presentations to determine
what topics interest you and volunteer
if you would like to make a presentation
yourself.

On a more administrative note, the
next meeting of the Board of Trustees
is scheduled to be held on Mar. 20
via Zoom. MBSI officers, trustees
and preparers of the various reports
have been notified well in advance. I
promised to provide a virtual lunch to
all attendees.

The sun may be coming out from
behind the clouds, and as I look ahead,
I see what appears to be clear weather
and calm seas. Hopefully, this is not a
mirage and not too distant. I wish all
of you the best. Stay safe, be well.



★★
®
(INTERNATIONAL)
ORGANIZED IN 1949
DEVOTED TO ALL MECHANICAL MUSICAL INSTRUMENTS


★★
®
(INTERNATIONAL)
ORGANIZED IN 1949
DEVOTED TO ALL MECHANICAL MUSICAL INSTRUMENTS
Musical Box Society International
P.O. Box 10196
Springeld, MO 65808-0196
Phone/Fax: (417) 886-8839
Musical Box Society International
P.O. Box 10196
Springeld, MO 65808-0196
Phone/Fax: (417) 886-8839
MBSI MEMBERSHIP DRIVE
EACH ONE/REACH ONE NEW MEMBER
MBSI is always interested in increasing its membership and is pleased to offer new members a $15
discount off their rst year’s membership. You are considered a new member if you have not been a
member in the past three years. This discount is also available on our website, www.mbsi.org.
Current MBSI members who sponsor a new member will receive a $5 discount off their next year’s
MBSI membership renewal for each sponsorship. Attach a copy of the discount voucher below to a
copy of the membership application form on Page 4 of this issue of Mechanical Music. Place your
name as “sponsor” on the application form.
Please make copies of these forms as needed and send the completed forms with checks to the MBSI
administrator at the address listed below.
Dues Voucher –$15
New U.S. members may join MBSI for one year at $45 (instead
of $60); Canadians $55 (instead of $70; and, other International
members at $60 (instead of $75). This certicate must accom-
pany payment and a copy of the completed membership
application from page 4 of this issue of Mechanical Music.
New Member Name(s):
Authorized by MBSI Administrator
NEW MEMBER
GIFT CERTIFICATE
New members are those who have never been members of MBSI
or those who have not been members for three years prior to
submission of this voucher.
New members are those who have never
been members of MBSI or those who have
not been members for three years prior to
submission of this certicate.
Gift Membership Name
Sponsor
Address, City, State, ZIP
Phone Email
Please mail this form together with your check made payable to “MBSI” to the MBSI Administrator at the address listed
above. Memberships are $45 for U.S. residents, $55 for Canadian residents, and $60 for other International residents.
SPECIAL OFFER: Purchase one or more rst-year MBSI gift
memberships at $45 each U.S., $55 Canadian, or $60 other Interna-
tional and you will receive $5 off your next year’s MBSI membership
renewal for each “New Member” gift.


★★
®
(INTERNATIONAL)
ORGANIZED IN 1949
DEVOTED TO ALL MECHANICAL MUSICAL INSTRUMENTS


★★
®
(INTERNATIONAL)
ORGANIZED IN 1949
DEVOTED TO ALL MECHANICAL MUSICAL INSTRUMENTS
Musical Box Society International
P.O. Box 10196
Springeld, MO 65808-0196
Phone/Fax: (417) 886-8839
Musical Box Society International
P.O. Box 10196
Springeld, MO 65808-0196
Phone/Fax: (417) 886-8839
MBSI MEMBERSHIP DRIVE
EACH ONE/REACH ONE NEW MEMBER
MBSI is always interested in increasing its membership and is pleased to offer new members a $15
discount off their rst year’s membership. You are considered a new member if you have not been a
member in the past three years. This discount is also available on our website, www.mbsi.org.
Current MBSI members who sponsor a new member will receive a $5 discount off their next year’s
MBSI membership renewal for each sponsorship. Attach a copy of the discount voucher below to a
copy of the membership application form on Page 4 of this issue of Mechanical Music. Place your
name as “sponsor” on the application form.
Please make copies of these forms as needed and send the completed forms with checks to the MBSI
administrator at the address listed below.
Dues Voucher –$15
New U.S. members may join MBSI for one year at $45 (instead
of $60); Canadians $55 (instead of $70; and, other International
members at $60 (instead of $75). This certicate must accom-
pany payment and a copy of the completed membership
application from page 4 of this issue of Mechanical Music.
New Member Name(s):
Authorized by MBSI Administrator
NEW MEMBER
GIFT CERTIFICATE
New members are those who have never been members of MBSI
or those who have not been members for three years prior to
submission of this voucher.
New members are those who have never
been members of MBSI or those who have
not been members for three years prior to
submission of this certicate.
Gift Membership Name
Sponsor
Address, City, State, ZIP
Phone Email
Please mail this form together with your check made payable to “MBSI” to the MBSI Administrator at the address listed
above. Memberships are $45 for U.S. residents, $55 for Canadian residents, and $60 for other International residents.
SPECIAL OFFER: Purchase one or more rst-year MBSI gift
memberships at $45 each U.S., $55 Canadian, or $60 other Interna-
tional and you will receive $5 off your next year’s MBSI membership
renewal for each “New Member” gift.

Editor’s Notes

By Russell Kasselman

MBSI Editor/Publisher

If there’s one good thing about
people being stuck inside because of
a pandemic, it seems to be that the
inspiration to write strikes more folks
more often than it ever has before in
my time editing this journal.

It is fantastic to see writers who
haven’t contributed to Mechanical
Music before bringing their material
to the pages of this magazine and
working with me to revise and refine
their articles to get them in the best
shape possible for presentation to you.
I thank them for their patience with
me and I’m grateful to have gotten to
know each of them a bit better.

This issue we welcome Gordie

MAILING ADDRESS

MBSI Editorial / Advertising
130 Coral Court
Pismo Beach, CA 93449

EMAIL ADDRESS

editor@mbsi.org

PHONE

(253) 228-1634

Davidson writing the cover article.
Gordie shares his love of busker
organs and his experience over 40
years playing for crowds in a wide
variety of places. Careful, though, it
might make you itch for the pre-pandemic
days when we could actually
travel with much less worry.

Aaron Muller, author of the Outreach
Corner column for this issue, is also
a first-time contributor with a great
message that should be quite encouraging
for anyone just starting out
in the hobby. Check it out and take
some time to think about how you got
started, or who/what got you inspired.
If you feel like it, write it up and send
it in. We’d all love to hear it.

Of course this journal wouldn’t
be what it is without our regular

contributors. Matt Jaro, Alison Biden,
Robin Biggins and Paul Bellamy all
bring solid articles to this issue covering
a variety of topics. I want to thank
each of them for their consistency
and willingness to take so much of
their time to research and write about
subjects that can hold our interest so
strongly.

If you have an interest in writing
something for the journal, please get
in touch. My contact information is
just above. Get in touch and we can
chat a bit about it.

Welcome new members!
December 2020 January 2021
Kelly Jameson Sari Melamed
Akron, OH Beverly Hills, CA
Gary Kinnunen Sponsor: Don Caine
Richland, WA Anne Weinkauf
Ed Neal Indianapolis, IN
Oxford, NC Sponsor: Don Caine
Christian Wittmann Orgelbau Otmar & Gabriele Seemann
Wolfsgraben, Austria Vienna, Austria
Sponsor: Gordie Davidson Adam Lenkin
Bruce Norden Bethesda, MD
Bettendorf, IA Sponsor: Ronald Lenkin
Parker Maas
Decatur, IN
Craig Lenkin
Rockville, MD
Sponsor: Ronald Lenkin
James & Robin Dryden
Moorestown, NJ
Jerry & Ann Maske
Sullivan, ME
Linda & Thomas Talcott
Willoughby Hills, OH
William Schutz
Traverse City, MI

A Lasting Legacy

Throughout its history, MBSI has fostered an interest in and preservation of
automatic musical instruments. Your gift to the Endowment Fund will
support programs that will help future generations appreciate these
achievements of man’s creative genius. Visit www.mbsi.org to learn more.

In order for anything
once alive to have
meaning, its effect
must remain alive in
eternity in some way

– Ernest Becker, Philosopher
The Musical Box Society International
is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization.
All donations to the Endowment
Fund are tax deductible.
A gift of any size is welcome.

March/April 2021 MECHANICAL MUSIC 7

Outreach Corner Outreach Corner
Mixing play with work

By Aaron Muller

Special Exhibits Committee Member

Hello fellow members. This is
the first part of a two-part article I’ll
be writing for our new “Outreach
Corner” column. Please let me start
by sending a heartfelt thank you to
Special Exhibits Committee Chair and
MBSI Trustee Mary Ellen Myers (and
her husband Wayne) for inviting me
to join this committee. I am a strong
believer in face-to-face contact with
people when it comes to our hobby.
Live exhibits are perfect for that and
I have already been active in this
area for many years. This committee
seems like a perfect fit for me and I
look forward to making a meaningful
contribution to our members through
the work it does.

What I have to say picks up right
where Mary Ellen and Wayne’s previous
column entitled “What’s in the
Box” left off, since I believe most of
us collectors have in common the
fact that we love sharing and showing
mechanical music to those who have
never seen it before. And, let’s face it,
most of us get excited when it’s our
turn to talk about our two favorite
subjects, ourselves and our stuff.
Most collectors I’ve talked with would
agree that show and tell is probably
the most fun part of our hobby.

I’ll admit, I fit that bill perfectly! In
fact, I like to share my collection with
others so much that I brought it into
work with me. How does the old saying
go? “Love what you do and you’ll never
work a day in your life.” That saying
couldn’t ring more true for me. It was
quite easy to convince myself I was
doing the right thing since all I had to
do was whisper things to myself like,
“after all, I have to be there anyway,
so why not have some fun.” Another
of my favorite lines was, “It won’t take

Jasper Sanfilippo with Aaron Muller.

8 MECHANICAL MUSIC March/April 2021

A view of the mini museum featuring Aaron Muller’s collection that he has set up in his Barrington Resale store.

up much space and people will love
it.” And then there was the idea that
“Other stores have attractions inside
of them, why can’t I have one?” It’s
not like I’m building a theme park or
Gander Mountain or anything.

You see how easy that was? A little
justification, and I was off to the
races. Now, before I get too far ahead
of myself, I think some of you might
like a bit more information so you
can answer questions like “who is this
guy?” and “where did he come from?”
Some of you may even be wondering
“why should I read any further?”
Well, please allow me to make my
introductions.

I am a small business owner and
the immediate past chair of the Lake
Michigan Chapter (2018–2019). About
10 years ago I was invited to join MBSI
by a couple of people whose names

might sound a little more familiar
to you, Jasper Sanfilippo and Marty
Persky. Jasper first introduced me to
mechanical musical instruments and
his collection in 1994. Marty, as the
curator of that collection, was (and
is), in my eyes, the man to know if
you’re trying to learn something about
mechanical music. I felt like I was
surely in the right place at the right
time when I met him. I desperately
wanted to learn and Marty (perhaps
slightly reluctantly at first) wanted
to teach. To say I feel lucky to have
gotten to know Marty would definitely
be an understatement. Without him I
don’t think I would’ve gotten half the
enjoyment I receive from this hobby.

The news hit me hard in January
2019 when it was reported Jasper
had passed away. It was a sad day
for mechanical music enthusiasts

indeed, but we soon took hope when
we learned that Jasper and his family
had ensured a legacy that will last
for generations to come through the
Sanfilippo Family Foundation. In my
mind, Jasper and his wife, Marian, set
the example of how to use automatic
and mechanical musical instruments
as the ultimate special exhibit, one that
can and will touch the lives of countless
people. When I think back about
it, I realize that it wasn’t Jasper and
Marian’s shared passion for collecting
these marvelous musical instruments
that inspired me; rather it was their
desire to bring other people along
with them so others could enjoy it too.
What we can learn from Jasper and
Marian is that for most of us, building
a collection might not entirely satiate
our desire to enjoy the machines and
the music because we also need other

March/April 2021 MECHANICAL MUSIC 9

people to enjoy it with. For me, this
could not be more true.

It was Jasper and Marian’s example
that inspired me to include an exhibit
of my collection as part of my business
and workplace. My story and
collection, like that of most members,
is a bit more modest than the Sanfilippos’,
but it doesn’t mean I’m any less
enthusiastic about it. In my short time
as a member, I’ve seen a number of
collections that are larger than mine
and many that have more flashy or
expensive pieces. I mostly focus on
introducing beginners to our hobby
using beginner level machines. If they
get involved and choose to advance
into membership in MBSI and then
start attending events, I know they
will quickly find bigger and more elaborate
collections are waiting for them
to explore.

Which brings me to another saying,
“it’s not the size of your organ, but
rather how you use it, that matters.” I
like to look at it this way, my collection
is not necessarily very valuable, but
the good times I have and the friends
I share it with are priceless. After all,
when we share mechanical music
with others what we really share with
them is happiness. We refer to the
wonderful sounds our machines make
as “the happiest music on earth” for
a reason. Something joyful happens
inside us the moment we hear these
musical marvels begin to play.

I know I keep talking about bringing
my collection to work with me, but
I bet you are wondering what’s in
my collection. Well, my collecting
career began when my grandmother
left behind a small Polyphon disc
music box. Being the youngest of
five grandchildren, and with nobody
else in the family wanting it, the box
was left to me. It was sometime in
the mid 1980s when it actually came
physically into my possession. It sat
around for another decade or so until
I met Jasper and attended a few MBSI
events. That was when I got interested
enough to take a look at my Polyphon
box and see if I could get it running.

It turned out to be an easy fix and
in 15 minutes I had my first repaired
and running vintage music box. It was
so exciting to listen to something that

A local newspaper wrote up an article about fourth-graders getting a tour of the mini
museum in Aaron Muller’s store.

no one had heard for decades. I’m
sure it was broken for 30 or 40 years,
probably more.

It wasn’t until about 2013 that I
officially joined MBSI. By then I had
collected 25 or 30 low budget Victrolas,
a couple more music boxes and,
thanks to someone with the initials

J.B. (another member of the Sanfilippo
group that I will identify later), my
first Seeburg style L nickelodeon. All
of this, combined with some pretty
nice artwork and accessories, would
be the beginning of what would
eventually become the Free Mini
Museum, Educational and Historical
Center for Mechanical Musical Instruments
at Barrington Resale, or the
F.M.M.E.H.C.M.M.I. for short. It’s OK
to laugh, it’s supposed to be funny!
I started my business, Barrington
Resale, in 2001. It took me 12 years to
slowly put together my collection the
way it exists today. Many hours after
work and late nights were spent refurbishing,
reconditioning and repairing
mostly middle of the road, entry level
collector machines. Mostly I collected
what I could afford to purchase on the
side while still keeping the business
running. I ended up with various
models of phonographs, four different
types of roll-playing pianos, a few
cylinder and disc-playing music boxes
and one buildup orchestrion from
1994, called the “Maccordion.” It was
nothing any swanky auction house
would get too excited about for sure,
but it was mine and everything was
finally in working condition. When

10 MECHANICAL MUSIC March/April 2021

Another view of Aaron Muller’s mini museum classroom where he seeks to expose people to mechanical music for the first time.

I decided to display it, I realized my
only problem was, I had never done an
exhibit setup before. Everything was
basically just in a pile in the back of
my shop and that wouldn’t do.

Along came a couple people whose
names you might have heard before:
Jerry Biasella (the guy who sold me
my first real Nickelodeon), and Greg
Leifel. Jerry works at Sanfilippo’s

with Marty and Greg is the executive
director of the Sanfilippo Family
Foundation. I could not have been
blessed with a better group of guys to
help do the initial setup with me. It’s
been eight years now since I opened
my free mini museum. Hundreds
of people have been introduced to
mechanical music instruments who
may have never heard about them

if not for my shop and its “Special
Exhibit.”

Next month I’ll take a closer look at
how to spread the word about special
exhibits using the internet, advertising,
social media, word of mouth, events,
groups and roadside attractions like
the “Fisher Nut Company Calliope
Truck.”

Stay tuned.

A Lake Michigan Chapter meeting held in the Barrington Resale store showed other MBSI members how they might share their
own collections with others.

March/April 2021 MECHANICAL MUSIC 11

Book Review Book Review
The Reblitz–Bowers Encyclopedia of American Coin-OperatedPianos and Orchestrions and Related Instruments

Reviewed by Glenn Thomas

Mechanical Music readers have
a literary treat available to them. I
recently received my copy of “The
Reblitz–Bowers Encyclopedia of
American Coin-Operated Pianos and
Orchestrions and Related Instruments.”
My immediate surprise in the
book’s unboxing revealed a gorgeous,
glossy cover picturing a Seeburg H on a
900+ page count weighing about seven
pounds. Flipping quickly through the
pages, I noticed an attractive two-column
layout in large type, profusely
illustrated. Most of the images are in
black and white, but there are many
color plates, especially for the larger,
more attractive instruments. Rather
than a random statistical soup, I
found the book organized into 63
alphabetical chapters, each title with
a specific brand or company for easy
reference. That’s followed in the front
by a separate alphabetical, expanded
easy-finding list that further dissects
this into trade names and manufacturers.
The book’s end features a
35-page index that has the expected
microscopic list one would expect of
a good index.

Art Reblitz and David Bowers
worked 10 years writing and compiling
the book. It is completely new
and not an update of any previous
volume. Yet, comparisons of the
similarly titled 1972 “Encyclopedia of
Automatic Musical Instrument” by Q.
David Bowers are inescapable. The
earlier Bowers book was written in a
different day and style, with different
technology, and a different set of
information. The type face was much
smaller and the layout quite different.
I’ve had that book since its inception,
and it has been an indispensable

reference.

The new Reblitz–
Bowers Encyclopedia
is not an update of
the former, but a
completely new
volume. It’s been
nearly 50 years from
the original Encyclopedia,
and the
authors have gathered
a whole new
set of information,
data, and images. The
focus is now on types
of instruments in the
title with a logical,
easy-to-read story.
I felt like being in a
room listening to the
authors telling a story,
showing images. My
questions seemed to
be anticipated in the
narrative.

I found each
chapter, covering a
separate company
with its founding
history, instruments,

music, marketing,
and demise to be a story and novel
within itself. It’s a great reference and
can be used that way, but I was most
taken by reading over 60 separate
illustrated chapters. I’ve been in this
hobby over 50 years, have every book,
and been active every possible way,
but I am learning more than I could
possibly have imagined by going
through the chapters.

The production quality is stellar.
Think of this also as a “coffee table”
book, proud to be a centerpiece of any
table in your front room. You will want
to refer to it, but read it like story, and

share with others. I highly recommend
this book as one of the finest reference/
stories of mechanical music.

About the Reviewer and How to Obtain the
Book: Glenn Thomas is a member of MBSI and
the editor of The AMICA Bulletin published by
the Automatic Musical Instrument Collectors’
Association, which also published this book.
To buy a copy for $100, go to www.amica.org
and look for the link on that page with complete
payment instructions. For questions and more
information, contact the book sales manager,
Michael Walter; email: mikew_14086@yahoo.
com; 65 Running Brook Drive; Lancaster, NY
14086-3314; Phone 716-656-9583.

12 MECHANICAL MUSIC March/April 2021

Ragtime
at the
Morris
Museum

By Jere Ryder

The Morris Museum in Morristown,
NJ, recently unveiled a new exhibit
called “Those Beautiful Rags,” which
is a tribute to ragtime music and Tin
Pan Alley.

The display opened Jan. 30 and will
run through Oct. 10. American ragtime,
a precursor of early jazz, is a musical
style that enjoyed immense popularity
in the late 1800s through World War I.

Above: A view into the exhibit.
At right: One of the original sheet music
covers displayed as part of the exhibit.

March/April 2021 MECHANICAL MUSIC 13

The term ragtime was coined for its
“ragged,” syncopated rhythms that
arose from African-American musical
traditions.

The emergence of ragtime occurred
at the height of the industrial revolution
when the expanding middle class
could afford new inventions for home
and business entertainment. A wide
range of musical boxes, player pianos,
nickelodeons, and early phonographs
provided families and customers with
access to the newest, most popular
music of the day.

This Morris Museum exhibition
features rare ragtime sheet music
cover art from the world-renowned
Guinness Collection and highlights
a variety of mechanical musical
instruments, including the Seeburg
L coin piano, the Regina Hexaphone,
an Olympia disc musical box by F.G.
Otto, an original Style A Wurlitzer
Automatic Harp, a 201/2-inch Regina
Corona Sublima auto-changer and
more. Interactive listening stations
feature examples of early “ragged”
and syncopated arrangements
performed by these and other period
music machines. These instruments,
audio kiosks and provocative period
illustrations on sheet music covers
encourage visitors to come away with
a deeper appreciation of the art and
the music of this uniquely American
product.

One particularly notable item
in the exhibit is a recent donation
to the Morris Museum, an Aeolian
Technola Player, circa 1915–1920.
This instrument was gifted to the
museum by MBSI member Ruth
Reininghaus-Smith. Ruth and her late
husband, Al, received this machine in
a bequest upon the passing of Murtogh

D. Guinness. Ruth and Al were longtime
friends of Murtogh, collectors
themselves and neighbors in New
York, NY. Ruth and Al helped facilitate
MBSI open houses at Murtogh’s home.
The Technola was lovingly restored
for Guinness by Alan Lightcap.

Founded in 1913, the Morris Museum
is an award-winning, multifaceted arts
and cultural institution serving the
public through its exhibitions and
performances. As New Jersey’s only
Smithsonian Affiliate Museum, it is
also the first museum in the state to be
accredited by the American Alliance

Another piece of sheet music cover art on display at the Morris Museum now
through Oct. 10, 2020.

of Museums. It has been designated a
Major Arts Institution and has received
the New Jersey State Council on the
Arts’ Citation of Excellence, among
other awards. The Morris Museum
is a Blue Star Museum, offering free
admission to active duty military
personnel and their families, from
Memorial Day to Labor Day.

14 MECHANICAL MUSIC March/April 2021

Nickel Notes

By Matthew Jaro

A Music Trade Press Reader’s History of the Welte-Mignon

Part One

Several months ago, I wrote a column
about the history of the Ampico piano
system and then the history of the
Duo-Art system. Now we come to the
last of the three major reproducing
piano systems, the Welte-Mignon.
Welte is the oldest and probably the
most venerable of all the companies in
the mechanical music field. Welte was
also the first to develop a reproducing
mechanism. I have primarily used the
trade press newspapers as a source
for this history. I don’t think much of
what I have discovered is anything
that was previously unknown, but
the information is rather obscure and
difficult to find, so I hope you simply
find my story presented in a way that
is both interesting and accurate.

One difficulty with using the trade
press as a historical source is that
these publications derived revenue
from advertisements paid for by
the very companies on which they
reported. Consequently, many articles
are “puff pieces,” sometimes portraying
the most corrupt manipulators
of finance as wonderful, upstanding
citizens. With some work, however,
the truth can be extracted.

There is a comprehensive book
written about the Welte-Mignon, “The
Welte-Mignon: Its Music and Musicians”
by Charles Davis Smith and
Richard James Howe (Vestal Press,

for AMICA, 1994), which received
excellent reviews and covered almost
all aspects of the company and the
machines it produced. It took six years
to create the book, but, unfortunately
for all of us, it is now long out of print.

Early History

I started my information gathering
with a Wikipedia article about Welte.

From 1832 until 1932, the firm
produced mechanical musical instruments
of the highest quality. The firm’s
founder, Michael Welte (1807-1880),
and his company were prominent
in the technical development and
construction of orchestrions from
1850, until the early 20th century.

In 1872, the firm moved from the
remote Black Forest town of Vöhrenbach
to a newly developed business
complex beneath the main railway
station in Freiburg, Germany. They
created an epoch-making development
when they substituted the
playing gear of their instruments
from fragile wood pinned cylinders
to perforated paper rolls. In 1883,
Emil Welte (1841-1923), the eldest
son of Michael, who had emigrated to
the United States in 1865, patented
the paper roll method (U.S. Patent
287,599), the model of the later piano
roll. In 1889, the technique was

further perfected, and again protected
through patents. Later, Welte built
only instruments using the new
technique, which was also licensed
to other companies. With branches in
New York and Moscow, and representatives
throughout the world, Welte
became very well known.

The firm was already famous for its
inventions in the field of the reproduction
of music when Welte introduced
the Welte-Mignon reproducing piano
in 1904. “It automatically replayed
the tempo, phrasing, dynamics and
pedaling of a particular performance,
and not just the notes of the music, as
was the case with other player pianos
of the time.” In September, 1904, the
Mignon was demonstrated in the
Leipzig Trade Fair. In March, 1905 it
became better known when showcased
“at the showrooms of Hugo Popper,
a manufacturer of roll-operated
orchestrions”. By 1906, the Mignon
was also exported to the United
States, installed to pianos by the
firms Feurich and Steinway & Sons.
As a result of this invention by Edwin
Welte (1876-1958) and his brother-inlaw
Karl Bockisch (1874-1952), one
could now record and reproduce the
music played by a pianist as true to
life as was technologically possible at
the time.

March/April 2021 MECHANICAL MUSIC 15

The July 1882 issue of the Music
Trade Review (MTR) has this notice:

The ad below, appearing in 1890 in
the Zeitschrift für Instrumentenbau
(or ZI) introduces paper rolls (instead
of pinned cylinders) to Welte’s pneumatic
instruments.

The early pinned-cylinder machines
required changing a heavy cylinder
to hear new music. The expense of
the cylinders also meant that people
were stuck with the same music for a
long time. The advent of the paper roll
meant new music could be duplicated
easily and inexpensively. Thus, a large
library of music could be amassed by
a Welte orchestrion owner.

Since one of the main topics of
Nickel Notes has been coin-operated
instruments, I was really intrigued to
run into the little notice shown at the
top of the next column, from a 1905
issue of MTR. The Englehardt Piano
Company made the first coin-operated
piano in 1898 and the Encore Banjo
dating from the late 1890s is probably
the first automatic coin-operated
instrument. You can see that Welte

was not far behind:

The Welte-Mignon

The June 23, 1906, issue of MTR
has a full-page article describing the
Mignon system complete with testimonials
from the likes of Paderewski,
Saint-Saens and Richard Strauss. (See
Page 13.) The testimonials are truly
from some of the greatest names in
music. Notice that the player has no
keyboard. The article also indicates
that a complete recording system had
been developed.

Below is a Welte advertisement
from 1906.

Notice that the system is now
referred to as the Welte Artistic Player
Piano. Also the address of their studios
is certainly not Park Avenue — a fault
which will be remedied later. The
fact that the Welte achieved so much
artistic recognition as early as 1906
was an amazing feat — considering
that the Ampico and Duo-Art systems
were many years away.

The Vorsetzer

In Germany, 1907, the ad above
appeared and promoted the Vorsetzer

— a device that is placed in front of
the keyboard of a conventional piano
that plays the piano like fingers would
do. This enabled a person to have a
reproducing piano without modifying
the piano. It’s interesting to note that
neither MTR nor the Presto newspaper
have any occurrences of the word
“vorsetzer.” Much serious music has
been reproduced using the Vorsetzer
on a modern piano. Notably, there
were a number of radio programs,
entitled “Keyboard Immortals Play
Again in Stereo,” presented by Joseph
Tushinsky, President of Sony Super-
scope in the 1960-70s.
The Vorsetzer is shown above as it
would look in front of a piano. (The
picture is from the Wiki Creative
Commons.) The Vorsetzer was heavily
advertised in Germany, but not in the
U.S.

Continued Success for Welte

In January 1907, MTR reports that
orders for Welte-Mignon pianos far
surpass their ability to manufacture
them.

16 MECHANICAL MUSIC March/April 2021

March/April 2021 MECHANICAL MUSIC 17

This was probably not just a “puff”
piece, because there were a number of
articles with a similar story.

Keyboard Reproducing Pianos

Remember that none of these
Mignon pianos had a keyboard,
but in March 1908 Welte made an
announcement.

They added a keyboard so the piano
could be played manually. They also
announced a new grand piano. These
were available earlier in Germany (see
the 1907 advertisement, above for
Steinway-Welte).

Steinway Rumor

In 1908 a rumor circulated that Steinway
would put Welte mechanisms in
their pianos. This was emphatically
denied by Steinway. We know that
the next year (1909), Steinway would
enter into an agreement with Aeolian.
The agreement stated that Aeolian

would have the exclusive right to
incorporate their Pianola mechanisms
in Steinway instruments. Steinway
agreed not to enter the player-piano
market and Aeolian agreed not to
exploit straight pianos (particularly
the Weber). Another stipulation was
that Aeolian would buy and pay for a
minimum of 600 new Steinway pianos
per year for the installation of the
Pianola. So, Steinway was not lying.
They did not build pianos with player
mechanisms.

Obviously, there was no animosity
between Welte and Steinway, since
Welte commissioned Steinway to
make cases for them and Steinway
participated in Welte demonstrations.

You can see from this newspaper
clipping, the enormous influence of
Steinway. It also speaks to why the
agreement of Steinway and Duo-Art
was of paramount importance. Obviously,
Steinway and Welte met to
discuss the cases and an informant
must have told an MTR reporter that

Steinway was planning to incorporate
Welte mechanisms into its pianos.

Incorporation in the United States

In March 1912 the incorporation of
“M. Welte and Sons” in the U.S. was
announced.

This venture
would have $1
million in capital
for the purpose
of constructing
a factory. The
new company
would combine
the New York
branch of M.
Welte and Sohne
of Freiburg,
Germany, and the Welte Artistic Play-
er-Piano Company (both concerns
being owned by the same people).
They decided to build a factory in
Poughkeepsie, NY. In December 1912
the factory was ready (fast work!).
Shareholders were mostly family
members, including Barney Dreyfuss,
Edwin’s brother-in-law.

You can see from the picture of the
new Welte factory (Page 15) that it was
a considerable undertaking. I remember
reading somewhere that the land
was donated by the city of Poughkeepsie,
but I can’t find the reference, so
make of that what you will. Anyway,
there must have been zero red tape in
order to construct such a massive site
in only nine months:

1914 The War Begins

On Sept. 5, 1914, a postcard was
received from Edwin Welte after war
was declared in Germany. Remember,
that the United States did not enter
into World War I until September 1917:

Dear Mr. Collver:-We will have war
and I will be called probably to-day to
serve. Please stick to our American
business, to which I have associated
the best years of my life. Kindest
regards to you, your wife and daughter,
and to all the employees of our
American branch. Hurrah !

– Edwin Welte
The Auto-Pneumatic Agreement

This appeared in the Sept. 28, 1916,

Edwin Welte in
1912

18 MECHANICAL MUSIC March/April 2021

The Welte & Sons factory in Poughkeepsie, NY, that was finished in December 1912.

issue of Presto:

This agreement was a little surprising
to me. I wonder if Edwin Welte
knew about it beforehand. It gave the

Auto-Pneumatic Company the right
to manufacture Welte mechanisms
themselves. Was this giving away the
store? Was business slow and was
the Welte Company in urgent need of
revenue or was the demand so great
as to necessitate alternative avenues
of manufacture? I hope they got a
good royalty. The pianos made under
this agreement were known as “Welte
licensee pianos.”

The Auto Pneumatic Action
Company

The Auto Pneumatic Action
Company was incorporated in June
1909. The following is an interesting
sequence of events, important to both
the Ampico and Welte reproducing
pianos:

Charles Kohler is named president
of the Auto Pneumatic Action
Company. He was a partner in the
Kohler and Campbell Piano Company
and eventually became sole owner
when Campbell died. Kohler also
controlled the Autopiano Co.

George W. Gittins was named as
secretary of the corporation. This
name is very important later on — so
remember it (just think of “Kittens”).

The Auto Pneumatic Action
Company made two grades of action,
these were called the Standard and
the De Luxe.

On Jul. 16, 1910, the Auto Pneumatic
Action Company announced that
William J. Keeley would be president
(taking over from Charles Kohler),
and that the Auto Pneumatic Action
Company would no longer make two
grades of piano actions

There is also a full page ad in the
MTR stating the same thing. So, Auto
Pneumatic is discontinuing the Standard
Action and keeping only the De
Luxe.

On Jul. 21, 1910, the very next issue
of the MTR, this was published:

Notice the choice of name for the
new company. It can’t be a coincidence

March/April 2021 MECHANICAL MUSIC 19

that Auto terminates their Standard
line, replaces their president, and
the very next week there is a new
company named Standard.

The address of the Autopiano
Company is: 12th Avenue between
51st and 52nd Street.

The address of the Auto Pneumatic
Action Company is: 619-629 West 50th
Street.

The address of the Standard Pneumatic
Action Company is: 638-652
West 52nd Street.

These three companies are all in
a contiguous two block area of New
York City (off of 12th Avenue), part of
the Hell’s Kitchen neighborhood.

Both Standard and Auto Pneumatic
actions were manufactured under the
same patents and were of the double
valve type, according to a posting by
Jeffrey R. Wood in Mechanical Music
Digest (MMD) on Jan. 17, 2010.

In my opinion, Charles Kohler did a
very good job of hiding the fact that
both Auto and Standard were owned
by him. None of the officers are in
common and the trade press makes no
mention of ownership of the Standard
Pneumatic Action Company.

In 1913, Charles Kohler died. George

W. Gittins then became president of
Kohler and Campbell.
Why Is This Important?

In 1916 the Auto Pneumatic Action
Company would produce the Welte
(licensee) actions as a result of the
agreement. Remember that Auto
Pneumatic is owned by Kohler and
Campbell. This would be fine except
for the fact that a Kohler-controlled
company also produced the Ampico

actions. George Foster, the president

of the American Piano Company, did

not like this arrangement, and there

fore switched to Amphion in 1917.
Arthur Reblitz, in his book “Golden

Age of Mechanical Music” in a list of

manufacturers, states:

Kohler & Campbell (Kohler Industries;
Kohler & Campbell Industries).
New York City, 1896-c. 1930. An
industrial giant, which controlled
Autopiano and other piano companies,
the Auto Pneumatic Action Co.
(founded circa 1900; incorporated
1909), the Standard Pneumatic
Action Co. (c. 1910), and the Republic
Player Roll Corporation and DeLuxe
Reproducing Roll Corporation
(1918). The Auto Pneumatic Action
Co. supplied Ampico reproducing
piano mechanisms to the American
Piano Company, 1912-1917, and to

M. Welte & Sons for “Red Welte” (12
7/8″ T-100) reproducing pianos made
in the United States, circa 19101918.
Auto Pneumatic also made
mechanisms for the Auto Deluxe
Welte-Mignon (using 11¼” 9 per inch
rolls) sold in over 100 piano brands.
In 1917 the Standard Pneumatic
Action Co. employed 600 people and
manufactured about 800 player
actions per week. Production ceased
about 1930. After World War II,
Kohler Industries made hand-played
pianos, eventually moving to Granite
Falls, NC. Piano production ceased
circa 1980s. In 1917, Welte incorporated
the Welte-Mignon Music Roll
Company in order to manufacture
music rolls.
Other people have noticed that the
Auto Pneumatic Action Company
and the Standard Pneumatic Action
Company had the same ownership.
Specifically, Automatic Musical
Instrument Collectors’ Association
(AMICA) member Doug Hickling
contributed many articles about the
history of reproducing pianos for the
AMICA Bulletin. You can read these
on the AMICA website.

I think I may be the first person to
notice that the Standard line of piano
actions was discontinued by the Auto
Pneumatic Action Company and a
new company was formed to produce
that action the following week. This
took many hours of searching through
the MTR and Presto.

The U.S. Declares War
on Germany

In September 1917, the U.S. entered
the war against Germany. I was
wondering when this fact would enter
into Welte’s business affairs. Well, in
the Jun. 29, 1918 MTR, it did — and
Gittins will figure in it.

To see the exciting conclusion to this
serial, you will have to wait for the next
edition of Mechanical Music.

Email Matt Jaro at mjaro@verizon.
net if you would like any information
about style “A”, “G”, “4X”, “H” or “O” rolls.
Also, comments and suggestions for this
column will be appreciated.

Reprinted with permission of the
author and The Automatic Musical
Instrument Collectors’ Association
(AMICA). Originally printed in the
July-August 2015 issue of The AMICA
Bulletin.

WE WANT YOUR STORY!

Every mechanical musical instrument has a tale to tell. Share the history of people
who owned your instrument before you, or the story of its restoration, or just what
makes it an interesting piece. Send stories via email to editor@mbsi.org or
mail your story to Iron Dog Media, 130 Coral Court, Pismo Beach, CA 93449

20 MECHANICAL MUSIC March/April 2021

La Cracovienne

Plus Meet me by Moonlight and more

Fig. 1, showing the music box of unknown origin with original stain (wine, perhaps?) on the lid.

By Paul Bellamy

The musical programme of a music
box can often be overlooked or
misunderstood, but sometimes there
is a wealth of historical information
behind what may appear to be an
innocuous programme or piece of
music.

I acquired one of my earlier musical
boxes for two major reasons, one
being an unusual tune sheet, which,
at the time, had not been recorded by
the late HAV Bulleid. The other was
because it was by an unknown maker.
There were, of course, other minor
reasons such as the good musical
arrangements played on a finely-cut,
114-toothed comb plus the fact that it
was a key-wind movement and therefore
would have been made pre-1860.
After 1860 most movements were
ratchet-operated lever-wind movements.
Bulleid called the pre-1860
years the golden age of the musical

box. To coin a pun, there did seem to
be a key change in music box direction
around the time of the early 1860s.

Figure 1 shows the case in its
unrestored condition. Whilst in my
possession, it will stay that way
because it has honestly earned its
slightly stained lid. No doubt a glass
of wine stood upon it as the owner
and family listened to it play. The lid’s
inlay is very simple, in plain white
wood displaying leaves and flowers
surrounding a horn, trumpet and triangle,
a nice subject for a musical box.

A sign of quality is the triple
boxwood stringing to the lid, although
it surmounted what was becoming
common at the time, a cheaper
decorated case with scumble finish,
simulating the mahogany veneer of
the lid. That in itself was surprising
because Figure 2 (Page 22) shows
the substantial structure of the case
which, unlike many made of fruit
wood, seemed to be a solid hardwood

throughout, possibly mahogany. I am
certain the scumble is original and
therefore decided not to investigate
the real wood underneath.

The three controls, tune change,
start and instant stop, are covered by
a fold-down end-flap held closed by a
hook and peg, just visible at the left
hand fixed inner panel. A pin, barely
visible, holds the flap in place when
the lid is closed. The movement had
no comb markings, and the only other
marks were the serial number, 6829,
stamped at the top left side of the
smooth brass bedplate and repeated
on the tune sheet, visible in Figure 3
(Page 22).

The tune sheet was in almost perfect
condition and worthy of close inspection.
Its floral border is entwined
with numerous images of children
apparently at play, but closer inspection
reveals they were industriously at
work! The top cartouche has the image
of a hammer and compass. On either

March/April 2021 MECHANICAL MUSIC 21

Fig. 2, showing the solid construction of the box and key-wind mechanism.

side are children with measuring
instruments. At the bottom left corner
are two children forging iron and
in the opposite corner two children
looking through a telescope. Nearby
is a gigantic water wheel powering
machinery. All quite extraordinary!
The script is beautifully written by
quill pen and possibly home-made
ink, no doubt dried by a scatter of fine
sand.

The tune sheet is nothing like the
patterns found in Geneva, Switzerland,
but more like the images found
on later musical boxes in Saint Croix,
Switzerland. Mermod, Cuendet,
L’Épée and other music box makers
used similar images of children at play
but usually with musical instruments,
not telescopes and hammers. Also,
the Mermod, Cuendet and L’Épée
music boxes are usually dated in the
late 1800s, not pre-1860. With so little
information to go on, finding a maker
is almost impossible. My nearest guess

Fig. 3, a closeup of the tune sheet, shows the children hard at work.

would be Paillard and, if correct, The tune entitled “The Cracoviwould
fit the Bulleid date line for 1854. enne” refers to a person performing a

22 MECHANICAL MUSIC March/April 2021

Fig. 4, showing choreographer Joseph
Mazilier in top hat and frock coat.

popular Polish dance of the era called
the Krakowiat. It was a popular
two-step folk dance that originated in
an area near Krakow, Poland, at the
end of the 1700s. The city still retains
its pretty medieval architecture and
was once the former capital of Poland.
The dance was performed at a rapid
pace consisting of square, diagonal
and star-shaped patterns interspersed
at the corners and ends with fast
circular movements.

A French dancer, Joseph Mazilier
(1801–1868), choreographed the
dance in 1839 for a Grand Opera called
“La Gypsy,” which was composed by

N. C. Bocsha. It premiered in 1839 at
the Paris Opera. Figure 4 shows him
dressed in top hat and frock coat
looking directly at the camera. The
dancer at the Paris Opera was Fanny
Elssler (1810–1884). Figure 5A shows
Fanny Elssler on the cover of sheet
music. For some unexplained reason
she wore a costume comprising a
military jacket for her dance routine.
Not always though, as seen in Figure
5B (Page 24) you can see her in a more
traditional dress dancing the same
part.
Tune four, “La Ghitani,” meaning
The Gypsy, was from the same opera.

Fig. 5A, showing Paris Opera dancer Fanny Elssler on the cover of sheet music for
“La Gypsy,” which was composed by N.C. Bocsha and premiered in 1839.

Tunes two and three were not. Tune
two, “My beautiful Rhine,” was a
popular ballad called “Die Weiner”
from an operatic drama called “Spirit
of the Rhine,” written in 1840 for an
opera. Figure 6 (Page 24) is the cover
of a piece of sheet music featuring the
singer Mrs. Honey.

Surprisingly, tune three is the non-
operatic exception. Called “Meet
me by Moonlight,” it was a romantic
ballad written and composed in 1812
by Joseph Augustine Wade. He was
born in Dublin, Ireland, and became a
surgeon before moving to London in
1821. Music was, however, the passion
that led him to become a conductor
at London’s King’s Theatre. He wrote
an oratorio called “The Prophecy,” a

comic opera called “The Two Houses
of Grenada,” as well as popular songs
of the day such as “I’ve Wandered in
Dreams” and “A Woodland Life.” His
most famous song was “Meet me by
Moonlight.” The lyrics are presented
below:

Meet me by moonlight alone
And then, I will tell you a tale
Must be told by the moonlight

alone
In the grove at the end of the vale.
You must propose to come for I
said
I would shew the night flowers
their Queen.
Nay turn not away thy sweet head
’Tis the lovli-est ever was seen.

March/April 2021 MECHANICAL MUSIC 23

Fig. 5B, showing dancer Fanny Elssler in more traditional cos-Fig. 6, showing sheet music for the singer Mrs. Honey.

tume dancing in “La Gypsy.”

[REFRAIN]
Oh! meet me by moonlight alone,
Meet me by moonlight alone.

Daylight may do for the gay,

The thoughtless, the heartless, the

free

But there’s something about the

moon’s sky,

That is sweeter to you and to me,

Oh! remember be sure to be there

For tho’ dearly a moonlight I prize

I care not for all in the air

If I want the sweet light of your

eyes

[REFRAIN]

So meet me by moonlight alone,

Meet me by moonlight alone.

I expect the reader of this lovely
old song, written in the early 1800s by
our romantic Irishman, has read the
first verse and not given it a second
thought. And what nonsense. Night
flowers? Who would expect to see
beautiful flowers at night? And why

would the lady he adored be more
beautiful, their queen?

The answer lies in the language of
flowers. In far off times, courtship and
other social interactions were often
expressed by means of flowers. It has
been a form of silent communication
for many cultures for hundreds of
years. It is called fluorography. The
word flirtatious comes from the origins
of the word for flower. The romantic
Irishman knew how to express this
in the words of his song. But what
flowers could possibly bloom in the
moonlight?

There are many that only bloom in
the light of the moon. And that fact
made sense to the courting couples of
long ago. Like their daytime cousins,
they radiated colour and scent in
response to moonlight. Moths and
other insects responded to their scent
and color, a symbiotic relationship
that pollinated the flowers and fed the
insects.

The owner of my musical box must

have been a passionate opera lover
of his or her day. To know something
about the music that was popular at
the time adds pleasure to what might
otherwise be regarded as quite an
ordinary musical box of the period.

Oh, I almost forgot. I never did find
out who actually made my music
box, but before I go, I feel that this
story would not be complete without
a picture of one of the many moonlighting
flowers, which you can see in
Figure 7.

Fig. 7, a flower blooming in moonlight.

24 MECHANICAL MUSIC March/April 2021

Origins of the A D Cunliffe
Musical Box Register

Formerly known as the International Cylinder Box Register

By Alison Biden

It is thought that Arthur Cunliffe
first conceived the idea for a register
of cylinder boxes sometime during
the 1960s. It was very much his own
initiative, and he was the first person
(and probably still the only one) to
tackle this enormous project. It was
not, however, the first register he had
undertaken to compile. Inspired by an
interest in motorcycles, over the years
he had created a register of vintage
motorcycles, which he eventually
passed to the British vehicle licencing
authority for its own use.
According to Arthur, his register of
cylinder music boxes was launched
in 1975, but issues of The Music Box
contain mentions of the idea as early Arthur Cunliffe demonstrates how the register works to an interested guest.
as 1973. That is when he appealed to
members of the Musical Box Society
of Great Britain (MBSGB) to send
in data on cylinder boxes already in
their possession. A registration form
inserted in one of the MBSGB’s journals
that year sought basic descriptive
data — length, height, width, tunes
listed on the tune sheet and maker —
from every cylinder music box owner
who was willing to participate in the
census.
Arthur’s first motive was to gather
as much information as possible on
existing music boxes so that he could
try to estimate how many boxes had
originally been made. This was a
topic of serious interest, as founding
MBSGB member and author John E
T Clark believed many were sent to
continental Europe during the 1914–18
war to comfort recuperating injured Originally, records for the register were collected on 3-by-5 note cards.
troops. Afterwards there seemed to
be little consideration paid as to how pattern would emerge from serial recovered stolen property, although
they were disposed of. numbers, tune titles, and other marks. details of the rightful owner were
Arthur’s next desire was to try and Finally, he believed that a register never (and are still not) recorded or
date boxes accurately, believing a would assist police in identifying retained.

March/April 2021 MECHANICAL MUSIC 25

Initially the response to his appeal
was slow, but he was able to extrapolate
valuable information even from
the earliest replies to his request for
information. Spring 1976 saw the
publication of his first “Register News”
column in The Music Box. Although it
started as only an occasional feature,
it eventually developed into a regular
column. Information sent in from
owners and other parties was for many
years recorded manually on index
cards. Eventually these, and their
accompanying photographs, became
numerous enough to warrant Arthur
himself constructing wooden storage
boxes. The cards were arranged in
alphabetical order of maker (where
known).

Later, with the wider use of computers,
he began the laborious task of
entering all the accumulated data,
as well as fresh information, into a
rudimentary database. He used a
programme called MASTERFILE
PC, which ran in DOS, and over the
years became obsolete. In 1994, in a
private letter, he wrote, “The Register
changes almost every day and I
am finding it very time consuming
indeed to keep up with the project.”
Presciently he continued, “One day,
I feel the Register will be the largest
single source of information on cylinder
boxes. The photographic record
to go with it is already between three
and four hundred and I have prints of
items I have never ever seen before.
These seem to have come mainly from
America.”

Arthur was the first to admit that, like
many of us, he struggled in later years
with technology, preferring to stick
with outmoded computer programmes
which he had mastered rather than
keep updating to newer ones. In 2011
his register was transferred into a
Microsoft Access database, but only
after Arthur had tried several different
other ideas. It was Arthur’s policy to
keep strict control over the data, only
allowing the addition of entries made
by himself, in order to preserve its
integrity. He was also sensitive that
having spent more than 40 years and
an estimated several thousand pounds
of his own money on the project, it
should not be available for general

Some of the many, many boxes Arthur filled during his years as the official registrar
of the A D Cunliffe Musical Box Register.

or unauthorised exploitation. As a
consequence, he took it upon himself
to continually answer individual bona
fide requests for information about
cylinder boxes.

Some years before his death, Arthur
made it known that he was passing
ownership of the register to the
MBSGB, with a request that it should
bear his name, and that he should
continue in the role of registrar until
such time as he could no longer fulfill
the duties. In order that the work
should continue after he was gone,
he chose his own successor, David
Worrall, MBE, who has been ghosting

Arthur for several years, and who
now takes over officially in the role of
registrar.

Subject to confirmation, the number
of boxes registered by Arthur before
his death is estimated to be around
12,800 with another several dozen still
waiting to be entered.

Writing as Editor of The Music
Box in 1973, Arthur J W G Ord-Hume
said, “Arthur Cunliffe has assigned
to himself a vast task and one which
can never be complete … it can only
be to every Member’s interest to try
to help in the collection of these data
… the fruits of Mr Cunliffe’s work are

26 MECHANICAL MUSIC March/April 2021

likely to benefit us all.” Meanwhile,
many collectors, owners, authors and
researchers have already benefited
significantly from the register as a
resource.

As an example of the benefit of
the register, Arthur Cunliffe wrote in
January 1996, “I am pleased to say I
have proved beyond all doubt which
Lecoultre boxes were the product of
the Lecoultre Brechet liaison thanks
to the computer! By entering in all the

L.B. information on combs and then
putting the boxes in serial number
order, they all turned up in the middle
of the Lecoultre listing. These boxes
corresponded accurately with the
dates Brechet started and left the
Lecoultre’s.”
Arthur’s dedication to the topic
should be an inspiration to us all.
The new registrar may be contacted
by emailing registrar@mbsgb.org.uk,
and a copy of the registration form, in
PDF and Microsoft Word format can
be found on the MBSGB’s website,
mbsgb.org.uk.

Two sections of the original register in open boxes illustrate the organized and detailed mind of the man who created it.

March/April 2021 MECHANICAL MUSIC 27

Farny Wurlitzer Speaks to the
American Theatre Organ Society

Editor’s Note: The following article is reprinted by
permission of The American Theatre Organ Society
(ATOS). It was originally printed in two parts, in the
March/April 2012 and May/June 2012 issues of Theatre
Organ, the journal of ATOS. We will also print it in two
parts. Part 2 begins below.

This article came to the attention of MBSI through the
efforts of Gary Rasmussen and Bill Griess who received
rough copies of the speech from various sources in their
respective orbits. Gary and Bill offered these rough copies
to MBSI and other organizations which led to the collaboration
with ATOS via their president, Dave Calendine,
and journal editor, Mike Bryant. Enjoy!

A note from Mike Bryant

Through an oversight on our part at ATOS, we neglected
to give credit where credit is due when we gave MBSI
permission to reprint. The text was originally transcribed
from an audio recording of Farny’s address to ATOS, and
the recording quality was not what one would expect
today. The late Don Thompson, a theatre organist probably
known to many MBSI members, spent a great deal of time
transcribing the recording and enlisting several additional
people to confirm that he properly “interpreted” many
things which were not readily intelligible.

This is not to minimize the contribution of Don Feely,
who edited Don Thompson’s transcription to give it more
logical structure, a major task in itself. Farny’s speech
was not a rigidly-structured presentation; topics jumped
around, came and went, then sometimes returned. We
felt that the published piece would benefit from a bit of
organization.

Farny Wurlitzer in his office. — Mike Bryant, Editor, Theatre Organ

ATOS Editor’s Notes [part of the
original printing in 2012] In this,
the conclusion of Farny Wurlitzer’s
1964 speech to the American Theatre
Organ Enthusiasts, he recounts the
success of the Liberty Theatre in
Seattle, memories of Sid Grauman
and Adolph Zukor, and why he
never attended the opening of a new
Wurlitzer in a theatre.

We continue as Mr. Wurlitzer
describes the year 1914—by all
accounts a turning point in the
history of the Wurlitzer company.
Rudolph Wurlitzer, the patriarch

of the family, died on January
14, Robert Hope-Jones committed
suicide on September 13, and the
Seattle Liberty Theatre opened on
October 27.

Rudolph Wurlitzer actively led the
company, serving as Chairman of
the Board until his death. He took
frequent business trips to his old
homeland and also strove to maintain
that connection for his sons
(Howard, Rudolph Jr., and Farny),
all of whom were born in America.
Rudolph saw to it that all of them
learned to speak German. Farny, the

youngest son, graduated from the
Technical Institute of Cincinnati
in 1891 and spent time in Europe,
acquiring technical expertise by
working for enterprises in Switzerland
(Paillard Company), Germany
(Phillips), and France (Pellisson).

Howard Wurlitzer succeeded his
father as president of the company,
remaining in Cincinnati. Farny
oversaw all the manufacturing at the
North Tonawanda plant. His speech
shows an extensive understanding of
all plant activities—not to mention
an excellent memory. Most of these

28 MECHANICAL MUSIC March/April 2021

Wurlitzer promotional material describes the Seattle Liberty
Theatre.

An interior view of the Liberty Theatre.

Lines outside the Liberty Theatre were a regular occurrence.

events happened 40–50 years earlier.

Upon Howard’s death in 1928,
Rudolph Jr. became president of the
company. Farny took over as president
in 1932 and became Chairman
of the Board in 1942. He remained
on the board until his death in 1972.

In 1960, the company opened a
subsidiary, Deutsche Wurlitzer, in
Hüllhorst, Germany. That company
still manufactures jukeboxes. In the
mid 1980s the American company
was purchased by Baldwin Piano
and Organ. They continued to make
pianos carrying the Wurlitzer name.
In 2001, Baldwin was purchased
by the Gibson Guitar Corporation.
Five years later they also purchased
Deutsche Wurlitzer, and Gibson now
controls the Wurlitzer brand.

The Seattle Liberty Theatre

The first outstanding organ; it isn’t
by any means the first organ we built
in a theatre; that was the one that we
sold to the Liberty Theatre in Seattle.
We shipped that in late 1914. That was
a tremendous success. The theatre
was built especially as a motion
picture theatre. They had no provision
for an orchestra—they depended
entirely on our organ for music and
the theatre was quite original. You
see, up to that time nearly all other
theatres were remodeled theatres.
And they had one feature that at that
time was unusual, was a ramp to go up
to the balcony instead of having stairs.
Well, the theatre was such a tremendous
success at the start—I’m not
exaggerating in telling you this—that

for three weeks the Seattle police had
to take care of the crowds that stood
for three blocks waiting their turn to
get into the Liberty Theatre.

Well that, of course, was a great
help to us, the success of that theatre,
and the business grew especially on
the Pacific coast. I recall that there
was a theatre, so I was told, in San
Francisco—it was way out on Market
Street, not downtown—that it closed
23 times. Maybe they exaggerated
when they told me. We put an organ
in there and it was a success. It
wasn’t a large one. And at that time
Sid Grauman, who had a theatre in
San Francisco on Market Street, he
became interested in our organs, and
a little later on he arranged to install
an organ in his new theatre in Los

March/April 2021 MECHANICAL MUSIC 29

Adolph Zukor,
president of
Paramount
Pictures from
1912 to 1936

Angeles, called the Million Dollar
Theatre, on Broadway. And that was a
very successful installation.

Sid Grauman and Adolph Zukor

To my mind Sid Grauman was
perhaps the greatest moving-picture
showman that we have ever had. He
was a most unusual character. I could
tell you stories by the hour of many
things he did that were very unusual.
He was very absent-minded but he
was very gifted. When he put on a
show at the Million Dollar Theatre
he had his usherettes
– not men
ushers, usherettes

– in the costume
that suited the
picture. If it was
Oriental they
had an Oriental
costume. If it was
something else,
why, they wore
that costume.
The shows were
usually on for
more than one
week. They were
usually on for
six weeks or so.
And he was very
enthusiastic about
our organ, and
he did so much
to sell the idea
of our organ to
other moving-pic-
Barney Balaban, ture people. For
one of the instance, Balaban
founders of the

and Katz. Sam

Balaban and Katz

Katz came out

theatre chain. He

there to Los Ange-

was president

les; Sid Grauman

of Paramount

made it a special

Pictures from

chore for him to

1936 to 1964.

sell Sam Katz. The

same thing with
Mr. Zukor who was the father of the
Paramount organization. And when
Mr. Zukor came out he gave him a
special demonstration after the show
was over, and our representative out
there, who was also a director of our
company, Buzz Lyons, met Mr. Zukor
and started to talk to him about organs
for all their theatres, because they had

Grauman’s Million Dollar Theatre in downtown Los Angeles, California.

many throughout the United States.
Mr. Zukor said “I’m too busy to talk
to you now, but I’m leaving tomorrow
evening on the train for San Francisco.
I have a drawing room and if you’ll be
on that train we’ll talk about it.”

So it was arranged that the board of
directors of the Wurlitzer Company,
[and] the board of directors of the
Paramount organization were to meet

and discuss the buying of Wurlitzer
organs for all of their theatres. Well,
three of us went down. I went down;
Mr. Lyons was there from the coast
and Mr. Ryan, who was also a member
of the board, was present. But we
didn’t meet with their board. We met
with Mr. Connick who was running the
Paramount organization for the banks
because they had gotten involved

30 MECHANICAL MUSIC March/April 2021

Douglas Fairbanks (seated at the organ) and Sid Grauman at
A large movie-going crowd outside the Million Dollar Theatre. the Wurlitzer in the Million Dollar Theatre.

An interior view of the Million Dollar Theatre.

March/April 2021 MECHANICAL MUSIC 31

John Philip Sousa’s band performs at the Denver Auditorium in 1921. The audito

rium could seat 12,000.

financially. Mr. Connick knew a good
deal about church organs. His thought
was “How many stops did we have in
this model; how many in that?” and we
changed the subject always because
that was one thing that we didn’t want
to discuss because, with the Hope-
Jones system—the Unit system—we
didn’t use as many stops as church
organs did. But we got the results.
Well, I can make the story short: Mr.
Connick said “It appears as if none of
us know too much about the organs!”
But we did get the orders, and we did
install Wurlitzer organs in all the Paramount
Theatres, and the same way
with Balaban and Katz in Chicago.
And as you know, Mr. Balaban is
today President of the Paramount
organization. And we had the business
of practically all the chains—the Keith
circuit, and Loew’s—really all of them.

Our organs cost more than those
of any other make, and there was a
reason for it. The materials and the
design were expensive and the workmanship
that went into them. We used
only the very finest grade of sugar pine
first and second, and a solid mahogany
or solid cherry because they didn’t
chip when you bored into them. And

of course, Hope-Jones had laid the
foundation for this quality which we
believed in and followed.

Denver City Auditorium

In 1918 we installed the organ in
the Denver City Auditorium. That was
the largest organ that we ever built. I
remember being out there when we
were trying to get the contract, and
Madame Schumann-Heink sang in the
auditorium. Well, she was returning
to Chicago the next day, but at noon
there was a meeting at the Rotary
Club and I met Schumann-Heink. She
had a big sign across her chest saying
“Baby Ernestine” so when I met her
in a sleeping car that night (in those
days it took much longer to go to
Chicago than it does nowadays—the
trains are faster), why, I said “Good
evening Ernestine!” She just stepped
back quite shocked. She said “I don’t
remember your first name!”

I told her who I was and she knew
our family in Cincinnati. She had
sung there many times, and she had
a drawing room. She also had her
accompanist, a woman who was with
her in another compartment. Well, the
next morning when I got up earlier

The Denver Auditorium presented daily

organ recitals by organist Clarence
Reynolds.

Internationally renowned opera star
Ernestine Schumann-Heink.

than she did, when her drawing room
was being made up I said “Don’t you
want to sit in my seat here?” I only had
a berth. And so she joined me. Well
she spent the whole morning and she
told me the history of her life. It was
most interesting. She was a wonderful
woman. She told me about each of her
husbands. There were four of them!

32 MECHANICAL MUSIC March/April 2021

Margaret Wilson (daughter of President Woodrow Wilson) singing at the Denver Auditorium Organ Dedication in March 1918.

What their characteristics were, and
about her present husband that she
had. And she had a large number of
children. And this was in February
1917. It was just at the time when Von
Bernstorff had been given his walking
papers by Washington because I think
the Lusitania had been torpedoed. And
we were about to break off relations
with Germany, and she said to me
“You know, my heart bleeds, because
I have sons that are in the German
army. I have sons that are in the American
army” she said, “they’ll be fighting
each other.” She, at that time, had a

home in San Diego, California. And
so I met the one son that was with her
in Denver, and she was a very warmhearted
individual. When she got on
the stage, why, the audience was just
with her. They knew that they were
part of her, and she had that ability.
She was idolized in Denver.

She was very much loved in Denver,
and a very good friend of the mayor.
And the mayor was the one who would
decide the question of the organ. Well,
we got the order for the organ, and
we had a lot of problems. The organ
had 50-inch wind pressure, and to

get 50 inches of wind pressure the
wind is heated an awful lot through
the blower and the friction, and we
couldn’t keep the organ in tune. The
temperature up in the organ chambers
was 120 degrees, and Louis Lockwood,
who was Superintendent of the plant
spent, I believe, almost a year out
there. We had the blower companies
come out to help us—they couldn’t do
anything. He finally solved the problem
in a very simple way. There was
an immense volume of air, of course,
blown through these blowers. He took
a garden hose, turned the water on,

March/April 2021 MECHANICAL MUSIC 33

Jesse Crawford at the 4/36 Wurlitzer in the New York Albert Hay Mallotte at the Metropolitan Theatre, Los Angeles,

Paramount Theatre.

and put it in the blower. That cooled
the air immediately. The evaporation
of the water brought the temperature
down and we had no trouble after that.

But, there were many things like
that that we’d run into. We had many
problems with architects. They didn’t
realize the necessity of giving us the
right location for our organs, so that
the tone could come out.

All they thought of was the design
of the theatre and the beauty of it,
and we’d have to put up quite a fight,
and we’d appeal to the buyer and say
“Now do you want to buy an organ
from us and pay that much money, and
then get only 25 or 50 percent results?
That’s what’s going to happen if you
don’t let us have proper openings to
the tone that comes out of the chambers.”
Well we fortunately won out in,
I think, almost all the cases.

Early Organists

One of our early problems was

California.

finding men to play our organs. You
see, church organists didn’t know
how to play a theatre organ and follow
the music, you see, in the early days.
The films were silent and they had to
depend on the music to interpret the
picture. So we tried to train people
to play our organs, and gradually, of
course, the famous names developed,
that really did interpret what could
be done with the Wurlitzer organ as
well as the other makes of organs. (I
don’t wish to slight the competition!)
Names that I know most of you know.
Jesse Crawford is, I think, the best
known of all of them. He played here
in Buffalo for Mike Shea at Shea’s
Buffalo Theatre. Albert Hay Mallotte
had played for Mike Shea at Shea’s
Hippodrome. He’s the composer of
“The Lord’s Prayer.” And there were
many others. Henry Murtagh was the
man that opened the Liberty Theatre
in Seattle. He was followed by a very
brilliant man, Ollie G. Wallace.

Organist Oliver Wallace in a publicity
shot from the 1920s.

And I might tell you a little more
going back, of some of the failures. We
put an organ in the New Pitt Theatre
in Pittsburgh where there was a
regular stage show. Unfortunately the

34 MECHANICAL MUSIC March/April 2021

Ohio River got higher than it should
and entered the theatre and the organ
was drowned! So that ended rather
unfortunately, but that was one of the
many experiences that we had, and
disappointments.

Roosevelt Memorial Park

Perhaps the most powerful organ
that we ever built was for the Roosevelt
Memorial Park Cemetery, and
they wanted the organ powerful
enough so that it could be heard for a
mile or two as the funeral procession
approached the park. And that, also,
was built on 50-inch wind pressure on
several of the stops. And that organ
was played by rolls as well as having a
console so it could be played by hand.
I do want to mention something about
the roll attachment. We made two
different rolls. One had 160 holes in
the tracker bar cross-wise; the other
one had 105, and we were building
organs for homes, most of them with
the smaller roll. This larger one has
never been duplicated. With 160 holes
cross-wise we operated 340 different
things, either keys or stops. Now the
way we did that was that, for 10 of the
holes there were 10 vertically as well
as cross-wise. One was a firing hole,
and depending upon which one of
these holes was passing over the bar
of the hundred (you see there are 10
times 10) why that would fire back on
any number of them.

And in that way we were able to
play this organ as a two manual organ
or a three manual organ at times. And
we had an organ in the studio. That
was not the whole thing. We had a
perforating machine so that when
the organists, and Jesse Crawford for
instance recorded for us, played, one
minute after he’d finished playing, we
could play the roll back for him and
let him hear what he had done. And in
those days there wasn’t the tape that
we have today for an organist to hear
himself play. And nearly every one of
them that came here to record for us,
and we had many prominent organists
come, they were all quite astonished
to hear themselves play because the
organist doesn’t hear himself when
he’s at the console—he’s busy playing.
And I know one of them, perhaps

Organist Henry B. Murtagh shows the inner workings of the Brooklyn Paramount
Wurlitzer to his sister Jessie. (Brooklyn Magazine; November 1928).

The Roosevelt Memorial Park console (Photo courtesy of Mike Friese).

March/April 2021 MECHANICAL MUSIC 35

more than one did it, he said “Give me
that roll.” He just tore it up. I wouldn’t
do it again. He wasn’t happy with what
he had done.

One of my great regrets is that we
didn’t keep all this, but the depression
came along and we sold the organs,
and the recording organs, and all the
equipment that we had and didn’t
keep it. I wish I had it today. It was
a question of our survival during the
depression.

Radio City Music Hall

As many of you know, we installed
an organ in Radio City Music Hall
and that is the largest theatre organ
that we built. And it’s used today in
all of their shows. Radio City, when
they purchased that organ from us,
purchased not only one but four organs
from us. One for the Music Hall, a large
four-manual organ upstairs above the
theatre for the organist to practice on
so that they could practice what they
were going to play in the show. And
then they had an organ in the Rainbow
Room which was the restaurant on the
top floor of Radio City. Then they built
a theatre just across the street from
the Music Hall on Fiftieth Street and
they installed an organ in there. That
one, however, has been discontinued,
so it’s no longer there. I am happy that
Radio City continues to use the organ.

When talking pictures came along
we realized that the days of the theatre
organ were approaching an end. Our
businesses continued in other parts of
the world. We did quite a business in
England, in Australia, in fact in most
of the countries of the world. Some
in Germany, a few in France, one in
Spain, one in India, in Japan. I believe
that is still in use. It’s in one of the
large department stores there. Business,
however, dwindled. The Radio
City Music Hall was one of the last
organs that we built in this country
for a theatre, but we kept on shipping
abroad. Then the war started in ’39
and that was the end of the export
business. Even though there were
talking pictures, they continued to use
the organs in England. In this country
they didn’t to any great extent.

I imagine that many of you may
wonder why we didn’t continue in the

One of several freight cars used to transport the 4/17 Wurlitzer to Roosevelt
Memorial Park in Gardena, California.

Radio City Music Hall in New York City; 4/58 with twin consoles.

pipe organ business. The main reason
is that our costs were so much higher
than those of church organ builders,
that we felt we had no chance of selling
to churches. They couldn’t afford
to pay the price that we had to charge.
Furthermore, we had the antagonism
of 99-plus percent of the church

organists of the United States. They
didn’t like the unit system; they didn’t
like the theatre organs. Many of them,
I think, have been converted since
then, but I am sure that there are a lot
of them that still feel the same way.
And those were the reasons that we
didn’t carry on with the business. To

36 MECHANICAL MUSIC March/April 2021

Women running cables and wiring relays at the Wurlitzer Many employees of the Hope-Jones factory in Elmira went

factory. on to develop the Unit Orchestra at the Wurlitzer Company.
These included James Nuttall, Gus Noterman, JJ Caruthers,
Fred Smith, Earl Beach and David Marr.

New Theatre Openings
In building organs for theatres, it
was always a problem to have that
organ there for the day of the opening,
and that was sometimes difficult. I
recall one instance where our men
worked for 35 hours without sleep in
order to get that organ finished and
packed and expressed. We had to
send it by express so it would be there
The Wurlitzer factory in the 1960s.

my mind it was a wonderful business.
I mean it was fascinating. We had a
marvelous crew of men. They were
devoted artisans and they put their
hearts and souls into the work.

March/April 2021 MECHANICAL MUSIC 37

for opening day. And those openings
were always a trying time, because we
installed the organ when they were
still doing plastering work and all the
kinds of other work, and dust and dirt,
and, you know, that’s one thing that
doesn’t agree with an organ, is dirt.
It causes ciphers. And a cipher, of
course, is terrible when the audience
is there. To hear that pipe squealing
that shouldn’t squeal. And so, I always
avoided openings. I didn’t go!

Factory Craftsman

I feel that it may be of interest to you
to have me read a list of the people
that came from Elmira in May 1910.
There was Fred Smith, Dave Marr,
James Nuttall, Joe Carruthers, Harry
Carruthers, John Colton, Earle Beach,
Gus Garrickson, Jack Hirst who was in
charge of the metal pipe department.
James Nuttall, I forgot to say, was the
head voicer. John Badger, Charles
Russell, Carl Johnson, Gus Noterman
and his son Gus. And then a Mrs. John
Linhares who came up from Elmira to
teach our women and girls how to do
this intricate work on the Hope-Jones
organs, because we ran all our own
cables, and every organ that was built,
the cables were different, so we had
long tables that we’d run these cables
on, and form them out in advance,
and of course, our drawing office had
to lay everything out on paper before
it was built, and that was an intricate
part of the work, and very important.

Then there were many men who
came a little later on that weren’t here
originally, and I do want to mention
the names of some of them. There was

W. Meakin Jones, no relative of Robert
Hope-Jones, but he had been associated
with Hope-Jones in England. He
came over in 1912. Louis S. Lockwood
took over as superintendent when
some of the other men left because
a number of these men melted away
from us between the time that we
moved them up here and the time
when Hope-Jones died. So Lockwood
was responsible for a great deal of the
success of our later work, and he was
responsible along with Howard Maver
for developing the roll system and this
marvelous tracker bar.
I forgot to mention this tracker

Organist Eddie Dunstedter.

bar. You see, with paper you had the
problem that it shrinks and expands
according to the humidity. This
tracker bar had two cuts in it. And
there were two small leaves on the
side of the tracker bar. If the paper
expanded those leaves were pushed
out and electrically the tracker bar
would open up. It couldn’t open very
much of course, because otherwise
your music wouldn’t track. It opened
up just enough so that it would not
cause any trouble. And then if the
paper shrank again, why, the bar
would come back to the correct size,
with just a tiny fraction of an inch that
opened up, each one of these slots.
Howard Maver helped to develop that
and I regard his work very highly.

There was Manley Cockcroft who
was with us. Fred Wood, Walter Berry,
David Arthur who was one of our
voicers. Tom Ruggles succeeded with
being the chief voicer, and I always
felt very indebted to him for what he
did for us because he carried on the
Hope-Jones type of voicing and, the
most important factor, he trained the
young men to follow—something that
the original voicers didn’t want to do.
They didn’t want to teach anybody.
They wanted to keep it a secret art,
and the business was expanding too
much. We had to have more voicers.
There was Bob Shreeve: he succeeded
to management of the metal pipe
department after Jack Hirst left us.
Louis Markowitz was with us. Elmer
Godfrey for many years was in charge
of our drawing office. And I’m very

Organist Clarence Reynolds, organist
at the Ocean Grove Auditorium and the
Denver Auditorium (Photo courtesy of
the Historical Society of Ocean Grove).

grateful to all of those people who
helped us and who did such a marvelous
job in building the Wurlitzer
organs.

Notable Organists

I am also very grateful to all the many
organists who made it possible for the
Wurlitzer organ to achieve fame, and
they did a wonderful job. You know
Jesse Crawford, his wife Helen. There
was Eddie Dunstedter. One of the
early ones was Henry Murtagh. There
was Dick Liebert who was the head
organist at Radio City Music Hall. And
Milton Charles, Clarence Reynolds—
he was the organist at Denver and had
been the organist at Ocean Grove. And
there was C. Sharp Minor, who was a

38 MECHANICAL MUSIC March/April 2021

great showman but a poor musician.
But he really did show off the organ
and people liked it. Carl Pullman here
in Buffalo, and Tom Grierson from
Rochester who played here in Buffalo
and is one of our very good friends. I
am grateful to all of them, and please
don’t feel offended if I didn’t mention
the name of all of them that helped us
so much.

I want to thank, especially, the
Wurlitzer “widows” because I know it
took a lot of patience and help from
the wives of the members when they
purchased an organ and installed
it. And without the support of their
wives it couldn’t have been accomplished.
Many of them helped with the

actual work and all of them showed
patience. And this applies not only to
Wurlitzer widows but to the wives of
all members, whatever make of organ
they may have. And my appreciation
to all of you for your patience and your
loyalty. And of course, my very great
appreciation goes to all of you who
have purchased theatre organs. Naturally
I appreciate most of all purchase
of the Wurlitzer organs from theatres,
so that these are preserved because
otherwise their lives would have been
very short, and the present generation
would have forgotten them.

I can’t close without thanking Ben
Hall for the marvelous book that he
wrote, “The Best Remaining Seats”

and the study that he made of the early
history of the motion picture industry.
I think that was very important to
preserve for future generations.

Thank you.

Listen to Mr. Wurlitzer’s actual speech
online at atos.org. Smartphone users can scan
the QR code below to be taken directly to the
website.

Seeking your stories for ….
Did you once spend time finding the perfect musical
antique to round out your collection? What was it? How The Hunt did you find it? Was it in ruins, or in perfect condition?
Was there a time you randomly ran across a unique
instrument then found a way to acquire it and restore it
so that you might display it and tell the story to all who
visit your home?
Answer these questions and you will have the perfect
story for “The Hunt” column in Mechanical Music.
Every mechanical music instrument has a story
behind it and the readers of Mechanical Music love to Email your story to editor Russell Kasselman at
read them all. editor@mbsi.org or mail a copy to:
Editing help is available if you have a story, but
you are not sure how to organize it or present it. The MBSI Editorial Offices
important thing is to get it down and pass it on for the 130 Coral Court
enjoyment of others. Pismo Beach, CA 93449
We look forward to hearing from you.
In order for anything A Lasting Legacy once alive to have
meaning, its effect
must remain alive in
eternity in some way
– Ernest Becker, Philosopher
The Musical Box Society International
Throughout its history, MBSI has fostered an interest in and preservation of is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization.
automatic musical instruments. Your gift to the Endowment Fund will All donations to the Endowment
support programs that will help future generations appreciate these Fund are tax deductible.
achievements of man’s creative genius. Visit www.mbsi.org to learn more. A gift of any size is welcome.

March/April 2021 MECHANICAL MUSIC 39

The Christian Wittmann Buskers and more

By Gordie Davidson

Set in Wolfsgraben, Austria, a suburb about 35
minutes west of Vienna, is the home and organ
workshop of 42-year-old Christian Wittmann.
Visitors passing by this suburban, two-story
dwelling might not notice it as different from
any of the others lining the same street, but
once invited behind the door, it becomes clear
why this is such a special place in the world.
The aroma of rough-sawn, kiln-dried cherry
or walnut waiting to be formed by Christian’s
expert hands makes you feel instantly welcome.
The workshop covers the entire bottom floor
of the home, serving as both his research and
design studio and production facility.

Christian, who successfully passed the rigorous
Austrian Master Organ Builder Exam in the
fall of 2009, and subsequently opened his own
workshop, is a gracious and engaging host. He
offers tours of his workshop by appointment.
I spent two days with him several years ago
watching him build a busker organ for fellow
MBSI member David Mahr. It was clear to me
that he is truly a gifted, master wood worker.

40 MECHANICAL MUSIC March/April 2021

Christian Wittmann with the
author’s 33/56 Konzert Drehorgel
in Wolfsgraben prior to shipping
to the U.S., circa 2017.
35
organ
ittmann.
story
from
but
clear
world.
cherry
s
welcome.
floor
and
rigor-
the
own
He
appointment.
ago
fellow
me
worker.
ittmann Orgelbauittmann Orgelbau
Christian Wittmann with the
author’s 33/56 Konzert Drehorgel
in Wolfsgraben prior to shipping
to the U.S., circa 2017.
35
organ
ittmann.
story
from
but
clear
world.
cherry
s
welcome.
floor
and
rigor-
the
own
He
appointment.
ago
fellow
me
worker.
ittmann Orgelbauittmann Orgelbau
March/April 2021 MECHANICAL MUSIC 41

A selection of 20er and 31er buskers by Christian Wittmann shown with cherry and walnut cases. Several have inlaid wood
purfling. Some come with roll frames, some with MIDI controllers, and some with both MIDI controllers and roll frames.

During his apprenticeship with Robert
Niemeczek, owner of Der Orgelbau
Im Wienerwald, an Austrian firm
specializing in church organs, Christian
designed and produced a first
generation, lightweight bauchorgel,
or busker organ. It was marketed as
a Wittmann and Niemeczek crank
organ; several of these buskers are
still active in the USA today.

Designing and building a
second-generation of his lightweight
busker organ under his own name
was Christian’s first task after starting
his own business. The notable axiom,
good things come in small packages,
best describes the Wittmann 20-note
busker organ. Characterized by precision
design, impeccable construction
and world-class performance, Wittmann
buskers deliver more sound
per pound than any other production
busker, in my humble opinion. Christian
has built dozens of 20er busker
organs for customers worldwide.
The 20er busker organ remains his

A look at attention to detail throughout production. Need a key frame controller for
book music? No problem, just ask.

benchmark instrument with several
wood case and scale variations
available to clients. He also builds
a superb 31er busker weighing in at
about 26 pounds. It is portable, but
better suited to a small cart over time.

Christian also builds custom carts for
his larger street organs.

The 20er weighs in at about
15 pounds. Known as a “belly
organ,” it is one of the smallest
crank organs currently available that

42 MECHANICAL MUSIC March/April 2021

A young Christian Wittmann and author shown with a pair of A second-generation 20er constructed of stained cherry with
first generation 20er buskers, circa 2007. Behind is a replica inlaid purfling and custom wheel crank mechanism mounted
Wurlitzer Style 105 built from Bob Stanoszek plans. It features at the back. The leather strap makes this model easily portaa
roll frame and MIDI controller. ble and playable for hours on the street.

On the left is an organ with both 20er and 31er roll frames and a Watterott MIDI controller. It has a 36-note scale, three stops
and rotating figurines. On the right is a 31/36 organ with a 31er roll frame and Watterott MIDI controller.

plays the standard 110mm, 20-note solid cherry or walnut wood and can seven in the lower case. Thirteen pipes
roll. Its compact dimensions do not be decorated with inlaid mosaic strips are visible from the front of the organ.
limit its bellows or air capacity. It or purfling. A leather shoulder strap Figurines can be added to the organ by
has a full, stable sound that comes is also included, and the crank can be request. The organ can be ordered in
into its own when used as a street mounted on the back or on the right. It three configurations, paper-roll only,
instrument. The housing is made of features 20 Bourdon pipes, including MIDI-only, and a combination paper

March/April 2021 MECHANICAL MUSIC 43

An interesting and multi-functional Konzert Drehorgel. This organ features both 20er and 31er roll frames as well as a Watterott
MIDI controller. Truly, the best of all media worlds. The figurine rotates on the pedestal. Notice the matching custom cart constructed
with the same cherry wood as the organ case.

roll and MIDI.

Personally, now in my 70s, I prefer
the MIDI version as it offers the
opportunity to stroll and play dozens
of tunes without hauling multiple
suitcases of paper rolls to and from
one’s car along with perhaps a cart,
monkey and other gear. Plus, with
MIDI control, you can turn the crank
in either direction without having
to maintain a consistent tempo to
hear a great tune. My Wittmann 33/56
concert crank organ features a quad
bellows powered by dual cam arms
that outputs 110mm/4.3 inches of air
pressure, so even kids as young as
three can crank and sound great. Many
small production crank organs have
undersized bellows and consequently
fall short on air; Christian’s organs just
punch through.

As a mechanical music buff for
nearly 40 years cranking organs in
rallies and all over the greater Kansas
City, MO, area, I’ve owned my fair
share of organs. Metaphorically, I tend
to think of these organs as boats in
that you often like the one you have,
but you get out on the water and you
see another one you want. That’s what
an organ rally is like for me. I’ve owned

The author entertaining crowds with his 33/56 Konzert Drehorgel.

44 MECHANICAL MUSIC March/April 2021

three Raffin organs and a 45-note Bacigalupo
replica custom built for me by
Alan Pell in the U.K. I’m on my fourth
organ purchased from Christian and,
in my opinion, the instruments he
constructs, repairs and refurbishes
in his facility represent the best in
quality design, harmonious sound and
European craftsmanship.

I first caught the street organ bug
while serving in the U.S. Army, Berlin
Brigade. I attended the biannual street
organ festivals in what as then West
Berlin in 1982 and 1984. The sound of
the music echoing down the Kurfürstendamm
was wonderful to listen to
and spurred memories of my time as
a non-music major at Michigan State
University. My college roommate
was an organ major, so I’m sure that
contributed something to my pursuit
of this hobby. I waited until I returned
to the United States to buy my first
organ, but ever since I’ve enjoyed
the hobby immensely. I once spent

Another example of the fine detail work Christian is capable of in his workshop.

a memorable summer playing every
Saturday at the historic Union Train
Station in Kansas City, MO, letting the
sound of my Raffin 20/78 crank organ
echo throughout that huge hall. It just
immediately attracted attention from
all kinds of people. I performed for

This is a chromatic 49er organ with
double melody Bourdons. The case is
made of stone pine (German “Zirbe”),
which is a typical Austrian wood grown
in the alps. It is highly aromatic, but
not the best choice for an organ used
outdoors.

15 years on the Country Club Plaza
in Kansas City and once during the
annual Plaza Art Fair. In one memorable
moment, I found myself playing
for a well-dressed man who remained
for several tunes and asked many curiosity
based questions. Afterward, the

March/April 2021 MECHANICAL MUSIC 45

A spectacular 42er book Konzert Drehorgel that features Bourdons, wood-flutes, pan flutes, a wooden xylophone, Helikon reed
basses, manual cymbal, bells and train whistle. Notice the beautiful mix of woods in the pipe configuration.

gentleman came up and introduced
himself as Lee Iacocca, the famous
automobile executive. He handed me
his business card and thanked me for
adding some fun to his afternoon. You
just never know who is standing in
front of you.

These days, my playing is limited to
a few gigs each summer in and around
Western Michigan. Hopefully after the
pandemic, the time will come when
we can get together in groups again.
I encourage anyone who might be
interested to get out there and join in
the fun of an organ rally.

If you are in the market for an
instrument, I highly recommend

Christian Wittmann, as he will enthusiastically
entertain any organ design
criteria from clients anywhere in the
world. The photos accompanying this
article are just a small set of examples
of his unequaled, one-of-kind, marvels
of mechanical music, most of them
built in the last five years. Christian
handles all aspects of building in his
workshop, from designing, cutting,
planing, routing, turning, drilling,
sanding, assembling, gluing, voicing,
tuning, arranging, punching and more.
He is also an accomplished musician
and arranger. He can provide roll
punching services to clients along
with his arrangements.

For further interest, readers are
welcome to visit my website at www.
grindergordie.com to view and listen
to several Wittmann instruments. The
Christian Wittmann Orgelbau website
is at www.drehorgelmusik.net.
Christian is a native German speaker
who writes and speaks impeccable
English. He promptly responds to
email requests. Finally, as a one-man
workshop, the answer is yes, he has a
waiting list.

Gordie Davidson is a retired Army Foreign
Area Officer who developed his interest in
mechanical music during his tour with the

U.S. Army Berlin Brigade.
46 MECHANICAL MUSIC March/April 2021

How does a musical movement

ing chair.

anism clearly

Fig. 1, above, shows the movement
mounted on the lower-right rocker arm
of the chair. Fig. 2, at left, shows how the
movement is oriented to take advantage of
the rocking motion

Fig. 3, a closeup showing the mounted
mechanism attached with two screws.

Fig. 4, showing the eight-note mechanism that is mounted under the seat.

child rocks in the chair.

Figure 5 shows the two pawls that
engage with the ratchet gear mounted
on the cylinder. You can see that if the
vertical rod is moved down, the angled
rods expand and when the vertical rod
moves up, the angled rods contract.

Now, the arrows point to pins that
are attached to the pawls, and they are
loose through a large hole in the lower
angled rods. So, as the angled rods
expand, the left hand pawl is raised
out of engagement with the ratchet
gear and the right hand pawl engages
to turn the cylinder.

When the vertical rod rises and
causes the angled rods to contract, the
right hand pawl is raised and the left
hand pawl engages to turn the cylinder.
So, the rotation of the cylinder is
almost constant and the tune is easily
recognized.

The tune, which seems fitting, is the
nursery song, “Rock-a-bye baby.” The
first verse is:

Rock–a-bye-baby, in the treetop
When the wind blows, the cradle
will rock
When the bough breaks, the cradle
will fall
And down will come baby, cradle
and all.

Fig. 5, showing the pins attached to pawls that drive the cylinder.

48 MECHANICAL MUSIC March/April 2021

In Memoriam In Memoriam
Arthur Dudley Cunliffe — 1927–2020

Creator of the International Cylinder Box Register

By Alison Biden

Arthur Cunliffe, born Nov. 7, 1927,
and died Dec. 5, 2020, was for several
years a British member of MBSI, as
well as a long-standing member of its
sister organisation, the Musical Box
Society of Great Britain. He lived
in an industrial area of North West
Britain shortly before the onset of the
Great Depression, the fifth child of
the Rev. William Cunliffe, a Church of
England vicar, and his wife, Eleanor.
At the start of the second World War
Arthur was responsible for tending
the family’s garden allotment and
chickens before being conscripted
into a wartime workforce called
“Bevin’s Boys.” The name came from
then Minister for Labour and National
Service, Ernest Bevin, who introduced
a scheme whereby 10 percent of
men of military conscript age were
selected by ballot and sent to work in
the country’s coal mines rather than
into the armed forces in an attempt to
increase falling coal production. Later,
Arthur joined the Royal Navy, following
in the footsteps of two of his older
brothers. After the war, he followed a
career in education, remaining in the
North West of England.

From an early age Arthur was
intrigued by machines and how they
worked. They played a big part in
his recreation. As a young man he
salvaged old motorcycles and restored
them, before putting them to the test
in trials and rallies around the country.
He also bought and restored a 1926
Morris Cowley car, which he kept for
25 years, and which is believed still to
be running.

Arthur will best be remembered for
creating and maintaining a register

of cylinder boxes, now known as the
A D Cunliffe Musical Box Register.
His interest in mechanical music was
piqued by a musical box belonging
to his maternal grandmother, which
he inherited at around the age of 10.
He joined the Musical Box Society
of Great Britain, with membership
number 435, and is recalled as being
an active member by 1970. His
contributions to the field of interest
include several articles published in
the MBSGB’s journal, The Music Box,
arranging meetings, giving presentations
and acting as the MBSGB’s
recording secretary for a number of
years. He was well-known internationally
for his research and study
of cylinder boxes, and frequently
exchanged ideas and information with
others on the subject, including the

late H A V Bulleid, known for his regular
magazine contribution, a column
called “Oddments.” After Mr Bulleid’s
passing, Arthur regularly contributed
his own column entitled “This, that
and t’other …,” to compensate.

It is thought that Arthur first
conceived the idea of compiling a
register of cylinder boxes sometime
in the 1960s, although it was not until
1973 that this project was launched
with an article and appeal for data in
The Music Box. Periodically he would
report on its progress, until “Register
News” also became a regular feature.
(See Page 25 for an article about on
the register.) The data contained in
the A D Cunliffe Musical Box Register
(which remains in active development

ARTHUR | See Page 50

March/April 2021 MECHANICAL MUSIC 49

In Memoriam In Memoriam
Nancy Dickey — 1937–2020

MBSI has learned that Nancy Dean
Dickey, wife of Sunbelt Chapter Chair
Ray Dickey, passed away on Jan. 11 at
the age of 83, after losing a brief battle
against COVID pneumonia.

Nancy was born in Buffalo, OK, in
1937. She lived there 10 years before
moving to Port Arthur, TX. She graduated
from Thomas Jefferson High
School in 1955 and then from the
University of North Texas in 1959.

She became a high school physical
education teacher in Houston, TX,
where she met and married Ray. They
moved to Oak Lane in Piney Point
Village, TX, in 1971 and raised their
two kids there.

Nancy is described as faithful,
care-free, and quick-witted. Her beautiful
eyes and smile would light up the
room. Her inquisitive nature and sense

of humor always made conversations
easy and allowed her to make friends
wherever she went.

She was athletic and loved playing
tennis and watching her grandsons
play through the years. Nancy loved
Jesus and was involved in Community
Bible Study beginning in 1982, making
many lifelong friends during those
years. She was also an active member
of Chapelwood United Methodist
church, where she was involved in
ministries such as the UMW Vivian
Osbourn Circle, Stephen Ministry,
Monday prayer group, and Candle-
lighters Sunday School Class.

Over the years she and Ray went on
various backpacking trips to Colorado
with Chapelwood friends, as well as
countless trips to Europe with the
Chancel Choir. She also supported

Ray’s passion for music box collec-
tion and traveled every year to the
Musical Box Society International
conventions.

ARTHUR | From Page 49

today), has been a valuable resource
for a number of scholars and authors,
and was a significant source of information
in the production of the book
“The Nicole Factor,” for which Arthur
additionally wrote a section.

Arthur joined many related organisations,
and as a consequence,
travelled up and down the country as
well as overseas along with his wife,
Noreen. Mrs. Cunliffe recalls they
enjoyed some wonderful trips, meeting
many interesting people, although
due to work commitments, Arthur
was never able to visit the USA. He
became president/chair of the MBSGB
in 2006, a post he held for seven years.
His tenure of office was exceeded by
only one other president. He presided

over the society’s 50th anniversary in
2012, and although he wished to retire
at that point, was persuaded it was
in the society’s best interest for him
to remain in office for another year.
He was recognised for his immeasurable
contribution to the field of
mechanical music, first by the MBSI
in 2009, receiving its Trustees’ Award
and then receiving an Honorary Life
Membership from the MBSGB in 2012.
(In 58 years only 11 of these have been
awarded.)

Those who knew him personally
recall a polite, kind person, with a
gentle sense of humour, interested
more in people than things. Those
aware of his achievements will
appreciate his talents, determination,
meticulous and methodical approach
to all tasks, and his lively brain.

Respectful of others and always ready
to listen, he himself had an innate
ability to command respect – sometimes
much needed during his term as
president!

After a number of years of gradually
declining health, Arthur was admitted
to hospital at the end of last November
suffering from respiratory difficulties,
and sadly passed away about a week
later. It is ironic — or possibly fitting

— that such an unassuming man
should leave such a huge legacy to
the world in the form of his research
and data compilation. What is visible
to the public generally is but the tip of
the iceberg, and it is possible that no
single person will ever fully appreciate
the extent of his contribution. Our
thoughts and condolences go to his
widow, family and friends.
MBSI has also learned that member Glenn Smith passed away in August 2020.

50 MECHANICAL MUSIC March/April 2021

Excellent TWO-DAY Music Machine Collections
To Be Sold At Auction …by Stanton’s Auctioneers
We are proud to announce that Stanton’s Auctioneers have
been contracted to sell the David J. Palter of Long Island,
New York, the Lelland Fletcher of San Diego, and the Royce
Waggoner of Colorado Springs, Colorado in our upcoming
Spring Music Auction.

The sale will be conducted at the Barry Expo Center, 1350 N.
M-37 Highway, Hastings, Michigan

FRIDAY AND SATURDAY, APRIL 16 & 17, 2021

9:00 A.M. EACH DAY
Preview Thursday, April 15th – 9:00 A.M. – 5:00 P.M.

Gathered from Coast to Coast is a wonderful, rare and
quality collection of machines including a Multiphone “Lyre”
24-cylinder record coin operated phonograph; Link endless roll
piano nickelodeon, Gamble Automatic Entertainer, Excellent
music boxes including cylinders, disc music boxes including
Rookwood and other rare examples, Automatic changers,
Reginaphones, as well as phonographs, A Bettini reproducer,
a nice clock collection and an excellent group of toys. The
collections, quality, diversity and overall offering is excellent.

Plan on attending this excellent offering.
Call us for a free catalog.

Stanton’s Auctioneers,
Appraisers, & Realtors

144 S. Main, P.O. Box 146
Vermontville, MI 49096
Phone: (517) 726-0181
Fax: (517) 726-0060
E-mail: stantonsauctions@sbcglobal.net
Website: www.stantons-auctions.com

AUCTIONEERS & REALTORSSTANTON’S
Steven E. Stanton

(517) 331-8150 cellular
E-mail – stevenEstanton@gmail.com

Michael C. Bleisch

(517) 231-0868 cellular
E-mail – mcbleisch@gmail.com

Photography and video tips

When taking photos or videos at your chapter meeting or
other MBSI gathering, remember these simple tips to get
great images for the rest of the membership to enjoy.

1. If someone is looking at a musical instrument, ask them
to turn and look at you while you take the picture. It’s
always better to see someone’s face rather than the
back of their head.
2. When taking a picture of a person and a musical instrument,
ask the person to step slightly to the side of the
instrument so that you can capture their face and the
instrument at the same time. It’s great to see people
enjoying wonderful instruments, but it’s even better
when the beauty of the instrument isn’t blocked by
bodies.
3. Try to get people “in action” while they are enjoying the
music. Some of the most natural smiles and enjoyable
photos happen when people aren’t aware they are being
photographed.
4. Don’t be afraid to snap a shot with your cell phone
camera. This is a great way to capture a spontaneous
photo and most cell phone cameras take photos that are
large enough to reproduce in the magazine.
5. If you are shooting a video, turn your phone sideways
(horizontal) so that your video will better fit television
and computer screens as well as phone screens.
52 MECHANICAL MUSIC March/April 2021

Historic 5 Day auction

featuring

coin-op, aDvertising,
petroliana & railroaDiana

Join us for this historic 5-day auction event featuring coin-op & gambling machines,
music machines, advertising, railroad memorabilia, automobilia & petroliana
and much more!

May 8-12, 2021

2000 N. READING ROAD | DENVER, PA 17517 | INFO@MORPHYAUCTIONS.COM | 877-968-8880 | MORPHYAUCTIONS.COM

www.dreamfactory.ch www.swissauctioncompany.com
mail: oce@dreamfactory.ch Retonio: +41 79 5301111
The following fantastic instruments from
the Jerry Doring Collection,
Los Angeles are for sale
Please check www.swissauctioncompany.com
and go to Jerry Doring Collection for details
Hupfeld Helios Model I/II 31 C with 105 rolls
Cremona Orchestral K with 157 rolls
Bruder Elite Orchestra “Apollo Fairground Organ”
with 49 BAB and 165 Wurlitzer rolls
Mills Violano Virtuoso with 72 rolls
North Tonawanda Pianolin with 12 endless rolls & 12 damaged rolls
All original Polyphon Style 100 “Savoyard”
Steinway B Piano 6’11 with Welte Push-UP with 50 rolls
Hupfeld Universal Grand Deluxe with 70 rolls
Weber Otero with moving picture and 120 rolls
Wurlitzer Style 153 Duplex Military Band Organ with 160 rolls
Wurlitzer Style C Orchestrion with 70 rolls
64 key Vander Beken Fairground Organ
Hupfeld Helios Model I/II 31 C with 105 rolls
www.dreamfactory.ch www.swissauctioncompany.com
mail: oce@dreamfactory.ch Retonio: +41 79 5301111
The following fantastic instruments from
the Jerry Doring Collection,
Los Angeles are for sale
Please check www.swissauctioncompany.com
and go to Jerry Doring Collection for details
Hupfeld Helios Model I/II 31 C with 105 rolls
Cremona Orchestral K with 157 rolls
Bruder Elite Orchestra “Apollo Fairground Organ”
with 49 BAB and 165 Wurlitzer rolls
Mills Violano Virtuoso with 72 rolls
North Tonawanda Pianolin with 12 endless rolls & 12 damaged rolls
All original Polyphon Style 100 “Savoyard”
Steinway B Piano 6’11 with Welte Push-UP with 50 rolls
Hupfeld Universal Grand Deluxe with 70 rolls
Weber Otero with moving picture and 120 rolls
Wurlitzer Style 153 Duplex Military Band Organ with 160 rolls
Wurlitzer Style C Orchestrion with 70 rolls
64 key Vander Beken Fairground Organ
Hupfeld Helios Model I/II 31 C with 105 rolls
STEINWAY DUO-ART REPRODUCING PIANO MODEL M
MAHOGANY 1925 6’2″ SERIAL #237742 STYLE XR

Michael Tilson Thomas with the Boston $20,000.00
Phiharmonic made a recording with this
piano of Gershwin playing Gershwin on Contact Al Alicanti (917) 939-9516 or
Columbia Records. rosesbycarole@yahoo.com

54 MECHANICAL MUSIC March/April 2021

The Organette Book
ISBN 978-0-9557869-5-2
colour throughout;Additional Illustrations of Models; Additions to Lists of The Organette Book
ISBN 978-0-9557869-5-2
colour throughout;Additional Illustrations of Models; Additions to Lists of
The Musical Box Society of Great Britain announces the publication of two new books
Published in September 2018

100pp Hard Back ISO A4 format [8.27” × 11.70”; Profusely illustrated in

Supplement to

colour throughout with Additional Illustrations of Models, 89 Additional Lid
The Disc Musical Box Pictures Additions to Lists of Models, Patents, Tune Lists & Serial Numbers;
Combined Index of Images in the original book and its Supplement.

Compiled and Edited by
Kevin McElhone

Originally published in 2012 and still available The Disc Musical Box

ISBN 978-0-9557869-6-9

is a compendium of information about Disc Musical Boxes, their Makers and
their Music; profusely illustrated in colour throughout with Illustrations of
each Disk Musical Box Model, and with Catalogue Scans, Lists of Models,
Patents & Tune Lists.

************************************************************************************************************************
For all MBSGB Publications, please refer to the Musical Box Society of Great Britain website for further details including latest
availability, discounted prices and information on how to order. -www.mbsgb.org.uk

Supplement to

Compiled and Edited by
Kevin McElhone

100pp Hard Back ISO A4 format [8.27” × 11.70”; Profusely illustrated in

Patents, Tune Lists & Tuning Scales; A New Section on Trade Cards;
Combined Index of Images in the original book and its Supplement.

The Organette Book is a compendium of information about Organettes,
their Makers and their Music. Originally published in 2000 but now out of
print although second-hand copies are occasionally available in online
auctions.

56 MECHANICAL MUSIC March/April 2021

(802) 728-9694 (802) 728-9694
Music Box Company, Inc.

We restore Swiss cylinder and disc music boxes.

• Cylinders are repinned if necessary and all worn
parts are rebuilt to original specifications or better.
• Combs are repaired and tuned. Nickel plated parts
are replated as needed.
Trust your prized music box to the finest quality
restoration available. We have been accused of over
restoring! Better over than under I say!

We will pick up your music box anywhere east of the
Mississippi River, and transport it to our shop in
Randolph, Vermont, where it will be stored in a
climate-controlled area until it’s finished and returned.

We have a complete machine shop where we build Porter
Music Boxes, more than 3,000 so far. We are unique in
the industry in that we are capable of manufacturing any
part needed to restore any music box.

See our website, www.PorterMusicBox.com, to read
letters of recommendation and browse a selection of the
finest disc boxes currently being manufactured anywhere
in the world. We have twin disc models, single disc
models with 121/4” or15 1/ “ discs, and table models with
beautiful cabinets created for us in Italy. Also we can

occasions.

P.O Box 424
Randolph, VT 05060

support.

Call (802) 728-9694 or
email maryP@portermusicbox.com

We’re getting our vaccine shots.
We’ve made our plans.
It’s time to make yours!
Fantastic
Collection
Tours
Don’t miss an opportunity to see the Southeast’s premier
collections of mechanical music. This is a once-in-a-lifetime
chance to see and hear these marvelous instruments, live and
in person. These are each “must see” collections.
The JANCKO Collections
Joel and Pam Jancko’s “Backyard Museum” features a group
of buildings each with a magical display of Americana from
the Civil War through WWI. The Barn is where you will see
and hear a wide variety of automatic musical instruments,
including an Imhof & Mukle, Seeburg H, Wurlitzer CX, Double
Mills Violano, Cremona K, Weber Unica, Encore Banjo, Model
B Harp, Bruder band organ, Limonaire band organ, Bruder
monkey organ, American Photo Player and classic Mortier, as
well as a variety of cylinder and disc music boxes, organettes
and phonographs. Also walk through a service station, fire
station, bicycle shop, and cinema. In the Annex you will see
rare military artifacts (including a working Gatling gun) and
an authentic log cabin, general store, 1910 soda fountain,
game room and saloon. Outside, explore the fort. Listen to a
performance on the crown jewel of the collection – the OPUS
1616, a 3/23 Wurlitzer Theater Organ, installed in the newly
constructed dance hall.
The EDGERTON Collection
Bill Edgerton’s collection has it all -big and small. It includes
four fairground organs (Gavioli, Bruder, Limonaire and
Gasparini), a large Decap, an Ampico A piano with some
unusual music choices, several special cylinder and disc
boxes, barrel pianos and barrel organs, an Orpheus disc-play-
ing piano, a Piano Melodico (one of the most ornate 65-note
Amazing instruments! Workshops! The Mart!
Entertainment! Ice Cream Social!
International experts! Local “open houses”
This is going to be a
GREAT convention!
Aug. 30 Sept.
4, 2021
pianos ever made), and the 1876 Dufner Barrel orchestrion with
nine barrels that is one of only three known Dufner instruments.
Also see and hear his replica Seeburg KT Special nickelodeon,
one of about 60 he manufactured in the 1980s! Tour his work-
shop and a display of mechanical music, automata and opera
posters. You must see his framed artwork that smiles at you….
then it doesn’t!
The YAFFE Collection
Find a comfortable couch and enjoy Mark and Christel Ya§e’s
beautifully-appointed venue while listening to their large and
varied group of instruments, including the earliest known
Francois Nicole overture music box plus Falcone, Reymond
Nicole, F Nicole and Nicole grand format overture boxes.
Single overture boxes by Ducommon Girod, Mertert, and
Nicole and a Captains table interchangeable overture cylinder
box with 12 cylinders are on the menu. See rare and unique
automata – a drunk on the bench, a Cambodian dancer (one of
two known), a life size flute player, a Japanese mask seller and
an acrobat. Don’t forget the organs, an 84-key Mortier cafe,
112-key Mortier dance organ, 121-key DeCap dance organ plus
European orchestrions (Marenghi orchestrion, Welte style 3 in
custom case, Weber Otero, Weber violano, Weber Unika,
Popper Roland, Hupfeld universe with moving scene, Hupfeld
Helios 1/31, Phillips Paganini 3 Orchestrion), custom art case
pianos (Kanabe, Mason Hamlin and Chickering); the latest
known Hupfeld Phonolizt Violina; American nickelodeons
(Mills double violano in custom Gothic case, Encore original
(not repo) banjo, Wurlitzer, Violano, Seeburg J with bird pipes,
Nelson Wiggins 6x and 8x, Cremona J and G, Link with endless
roll). And much more!
Registration forms for this meeting will be
in the May/June issue of Mechanical Music.
Fort Myers, Florida
We’re getting our vaccine shots.
We’ve made our plans.
It’s time to make yours!
Fantastic
Collection
Tours
Don’t miss an opportunity to see the Southeast’s premier
collections of mechanical music. This is a once-in-a-lifetime
chance to see and hear these marvelous instruments, live and
in person. These are each “must see” collections.
The JANCKO Collections
Joel and Pam Jancko’s “Backyard Museum” features a group
of buildings each with a magical display of Americana from
the Civil War through WWI. The Barn is where you will see
and hear a wide variety of automatic musical instruments,
including an Imhof & Mukle, Seeburg H, Wurlitzer CX, Double
Mills Violano, Cremona K, Weber Unica, Encore Banjo, Model
B Harp, Bruder band organ, Limonaire band organ, Bruder
monkey organ, American Photo Player and classic Mortier, as
well as a variety of cylinder and disc music boxes, organettes
and phonographs. Also walk through a service station, fire
station, bicycle shop, and cinema. In the Annex you will see
rare military artifacts (including a working Gatling gun) and
an authentic log cabin, general store, 1910 soda fountain,
game room and saloon. Outside, explore the fort. Listen to a
performance on the crown jewel of the collection – the OPUS
1616, a 3/23 Wurlitzer Theater Organ, installed in the newly
constructed dance hall.
The EDGERTON Collection
Bill Edgerton’s collection has it all -big and small. It includes
four fairground organs (Gavioli, Bruder, Limonaire and
Gasparini), a large Decap, an Ampico A piano with some
unusual music choices, several special cylinder and disc
boxes, barrel pianos and barrel organs, an Orpheus disc-play-
ing piano, a Piano Melodico (one of the most ornate 65-note
Amazing instruments! Workshops! The Mart!
Entertainment! Ice Cream Social!
International experts! Local “open houses”
This is going to be a
GREAT convention!
Aug. 30 Sept.
4, 2021
pianos ever made), and the 1876 Dufner Barrel orchestrion with
nine barrels that is one of only three known Dufner instruments.
Also see and hear his replica Seeburg KT Special nickelodeon,
one of about 60 he manufactured in the 1980s! Tour his work-
shop and a display of mechanical music, automata and opera
posters. You must see his framed artwork that smiles at you….
then it doesn’t!
The YAFFE Collection
Find a comfortable couch and enjoy Mark and Christel Ya§e’s
beautifully-appointed venue while listening to their large and
varied group of instruments, including the earliest known
Francois Nicole overture music box plus Falcone, Reymond
Nicole, F Nicole and Nicole grand format overture boxes.
Single overture boxes by Ducommon Girod, Mertert, and
Nicole and a Captains table interchangeable overture cylinder
box with 12 cylinders are on the menu. See rare and unique
automata – a drunk on the bench, a Cambodian dancer (one of
two known), a life size flute player, a Japanese mask seller and
an acrobat. Don’t forget the organs, an 84-key Mortier cafe,
112-key Mortier dance organ, 121-key DeCap dance organ plus
European orchestrions (Marenghi orchestrion, Welte style 3 in
custom case, Weber Otero, Weber violano, Weber Unika,
Popper Roland, Hupfeld universe with moving scene, Hupfeld
Helios 1/31, Phillips Paganini 3 Orchestrion), custom art case
pianos (Kanabe, Mason Hamlin and Chickering); the latest
known Hupfeld Phonolizt Violina; American nickelodeons
(Mills double violano in custom Gothic case, Encore original
(not repo) banjo, Wurlitzer, Violano, Seeburg J with bird pipes,
Nelson Wiggins 6x and 8x, Cremona J and G, Link with endless
roll). And much more!
Registration forms for this meeting will be
in the May/June issue of Mechanical Music.
Fort Myers, Florida

Ben’s Player Piano Service
Repair and restoration of air powered mechanical music
devices of all description.
Player pianos
Reproduing pianos
Dance organs
Fairground organs
Nickelodeon pianos
Original historically
Correct techniques
And materials used
Throughout in the
Rebuilding process.
Benjamin R Gottfried
464 Dugan Road, Richfield Springs NY 13439
Bensplayerservice.com 315-858-2164
WWW.REEDERPIANOS.COM • 517-886-9447
Specializing in the Restora on and Retail of Fine Pianos
Available Reproducing Pianos:
Chickering •Marshall & Wendall •George Steck
Mason & Hamlin •Knabe •Aeolian
»QRS & AMPICO MUSIC ROLLS«
“Where Fine Pianos
Are Reborn”
Fine Art & Antique Consignments
The highest level of customer service plus private,
professional and confidential transactions.
120 Court Street, Geneseo, NY 14454 cottoneauctions.comAdvertise in The Mart
Have some spare parts or extra rolls taking up the space
where you should be installing your next acquisition?
Ready to trade up, but need to sell one of your current
pieces first? Get the word out to other collectors in The
Mart, an effective advertising tool at an inexpensive
price. Copy or cut out the form below and mail it in to get
started. Or, go to www.mbsi.org and place your ad online!
Name Phone
Email
Text of ad
March/April 2021 MECHANICAL MUSIC 59

B. A. Bremond
8 tune Organ Box with
16 ¼” x 2 5/8” cylinder.
Burl case, restored.
Beautiful balance between the organ
and combs, with mostly classical tunes.
Excellent tune arrangements!
…Over 30 Organettes, including FOUR GRAND ROLLER ORGANS, 24 note
Amorette; Clarionas, Celestinas, a 20 note Symphonia; a 16 note Musette; Gem
Home and Concert and Organetta Expressive cob organettes; Ariston, Ariosa;
Tournaphone; and many more! Some restored, some needing bellows work.
Call me!
Nancy Fratti Music Boxes
P.O. Box 400 – Canastota, NY 13032 USA
315-684-9977 — musicbox@frontiernet.net
www.nancyfrattimusicboxes.com

T hank You…from Stanton’s Auctioneers
Columbia K “Bell Tainter” cylinder
phonograph – $7,200.00

Edison Ideal cylinder phonograph $
12,650

Early Berliner

“funnel type”

horn

$3,300

As everyone is aware, 2020 was an unusual, stressful and obviously an
interesting year. Even dealing with the postponements, virus, cancellations
and other factors, we would like to thank everyone for their business and
continued support.

2020 began in the music machine world with the auction liquidating the
excellent collection of the Nick Monios Estate from Long Beach, California in
March. As the virus progressed, we found ourselves postponing the Andrew
Ellis Collection Auction in August. That collection, being one of the best
groups of music boxes, and phonographs from a private collection including
a Multiphone, Automatic Changers, Music Box Clocks, Bell & Cuff Boxes, and
so much more, is in the process of being rescheduled at this time. Continue
to watch our website for additional information on that sale.

Even with the factors that 2020 presented, Stanton’s conducted over 150
auctions of all types throughout the year with sales of estates, collections,
real estate offerings, machinery and more. We are looking forward to 2021
as another excellent year, continuing with the strong market results that we
experienced in the previous months.

Our January 14, 15, and 16 sale, just completed, saw participation by onsite
and online buyers from all over the United States, Canada, England, Ireland,
Netherlands, Switzerland, Poland, Spain, Australia and Qatar. The sale
generated nearly $750,000.00 in sales liquidating machines and collections
from 8 states and Canada.

Many of you know us for our onsite and estate auctions, some for our large
specialized sales of phonographs and music boxes, others have seen us
selling antique automobiles, coin operated machines, gas engines… maybe
you have attended our monthly firearm and military auctions, participated
in our petroliana, advertising and country store auctions, or possibly you
have been one of the bidders or even sellers in one of the specialized sales

Multiphone, scheduled to sell

Haydn model Eroica –
Scheduled to sell in 2021

of Art Glass, Lamps, Pottery or auctions of antique furniture. Whatever your
involvement has been, we want to thank you for working with us during this
past year, and permitting our firm to continue to grow and carry on what was
started 67 years ago, when William J. Stanton founded the business. 2021
represents Steve Stanton’s 51st year in the business. Our firm has conducted
over 8,500 individual auctions during this time and continue to market all

Regina Style

types of quality items throughout the state and around the country…

44 – 20-3/4”

traveling from Coast to Coast working with sellers.

console

If you have collections, or items, that you are interested in selling, contact us

music box

to discuss our complete service. Referrals and pickup are available.

$9,625

Edison Nickelplated Triumph in
Hawthorne & Sheble Cabinet – $19,800

One of the many music boxes
scheduled to sell this year

Victor VI phonograph with
mahogany spear tip horn – $4,600

Porcelain Victor Record
Advertising Sign – $2,400

Seeburg K Nickelodeon –
Schedule to sell in 2021

Stanton’s Auctioneers,
Appraisers, & Realtors

144 S. Main, P.O. Box 146
Vermontville, MI 49096
Phone: (517) 726-0181
Fax: (517) 726-0060
E-mail: stantonsauctions@sbcglobal.net
Website: www.stantons-auctions.com

AUCTIONEERS & REALTORSSTANTON’S
Steven E. Stanton

(517) 331-8150 cellular
E-mail – stevenEstanton@gmail.com

Michael C. Bleisch

(517) 231-0868 cellular
E-mail – mcbleisch@gmail.com

RESTORED MUSICAL BOXES Offering a
variety of antique musical boxes, discs,
orphan cylinders, reproducing piano rolls &
out of print books about mechanical music.
BILL WINEBURGH 973-927-0484 Web:

THE MART

FOR SALE
WURLITZER 190 B THEATER ORGAN with
piano attached. Many capabilities. $15,000
OBO. AMERICAN-BUILT SCOPITONES with
several extra films available. Two for $1,500
or one for $1,000, OBO. SEEBURG JUKEBOX
with records and wall box. $750 OBO. DUO
ART STROUD PIANO, restored. $750 OBO.
BUSH AND LANE grand reproducing piano.
Player action needs restoration. $500 OBO.
Deacon Chimes. $350 OBO. Several hundred
plus piano rolls, all types. One accordion
setup that ties into theatre organ or similar
device. $300 OBO. Contact JON CARPENTER
joncarol54@gmail.com

CIRCA 1990s Reuge musical movements
never used, in original packaging, pristine
condition: two 4/50 (45008 & 45079); one
3/72 (37213); and one 3/144 (314403)..
Contact DAVID CROTHERS, at dwcboxes@
me.com or 267-280-2376

MARY POLLOCK ESTATE Mechanical Music

CLASSIFIED ADS

• 47¢ per word
• ALL CAPS, italicized and bold
words: 60¢ each.
• Minimum Charge: $11 per ad.
• Limit: One ad in each category
• Format: See ads for style
• Restrictions: Ads are strictly
limited to mechanical musical
instruments and related items and
services
• MBSI member’s name must
appear in ad
• Non-members may advertise at the
rates listed plus a 10% surcharge
PLEASE NOTE:

The first two words (or more
at your choice) and the member’s
name will be printed in all caps/bold
and charged at 60¢ per word.

Mechanical Music

Mechanical Music is mailed to all
members at the beginning of every
odd month — January, March, May,
July, September and November.

MBSI Advertising Statement

It is to be hereby understood
that the placing of advertisements
by members of the Society in this
publication does not constitute nor
shall be deemed to constitute any
endorsement or approval of the business
practices of advertisers. The
Musical Box Society International
accepts no liability in connection
with any business dealings between
members and such advertisers.

It is to be further understood that
members are to rely on their own
investigation and opinion regarding
the reputation and integrity of
advertisers in conducting such business
dealings with said advertisers.

antiquemusicbox.us

THE GOLDEN AGE of AUTOMATIC MUSICAL
INSTRUMENTS By ART REBLITZ.
Award-winning classic that brings historical,
musical, and technical information to life
with hundreds of large, vivid color photos.
We guarantee you’ll find it to be one of the
most interesting, inspiring, informative books
you have in your library–or your money back.
Everyone has been delighted, and some
readers have ordered several copies. Get
your copy today for $99 plus S/H. MECHANICAL
MUSIC PRESS-M, 70 Wild Ammonoosuc
Rd., Woodsville, NH 03785. (603) 747-2636.

http://www.mechanicalmusicpress.com

Display Advertising Dimensions and Costs
Dimensions 1 issue 3 issues* 6 issues*
Back Cover 8.75” x 11.25” $600 $540 $510
Inside Covers 8.75” x 11.25” $450 $405 $383
Full Page 7.25” x 9.75” $290 $261 $246
Half Page 7.25” x 4.5” $160 $144 $136
Quarter Page 3.5” x 4.5” $90 $81 $77
Eighth Page 3.5” x 2.125” $50 $45 $43
Add a 10% surcharge to the prices shown above if you are not a member of MBSI.
*Display Discounts shown above are calculated as follows:
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6 consecutive ads 15% Discount

ALL ADS MUST BE PREPAID

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ADVERTISING DEADLINES:

The 1st day of each even month: Feb., Apr., Jun, Aug., Oct. and Dec.

Display ads may be submitted camera-ready, as PDF files, or with text and
instructions. File submission guidelines available on request.

Errors attributable to Mechanical Music, and of a significant nature, will be
corrected in the following issue without charge, upon notification.

Each One
Reach One
New Member
SUBMIT ADS TO:

MBSI Ads
130 Coral Court
Pismo Beach, CA 93449
(253) 228-1634
Email: editor@mbsi.org

62 MECHANICAL MUSIC March/April 2021

at Auction. Automaton: Two seated articulated
dolls porcelain heads. Manivelle movement
Polyphon Style 65a Coin-Op 15½ “ Disc
Music Box. Restored Regina Style 14 15 ½
Disc Music Box. Original Mason & Wendell
Ampico A Upright Reproducing Piano. Older
restoration Stroud Duo-Art Upright Reproducing
Piano. Older restoration Discs, Piano
Rolls, Roller Organ, Manivelles, small music
boxes, ephemera Music Boxes sell on 13 Mar
2021, Pianos sell on 17 Apr 2021. Contact
PHIL THOMPSON, Auctioneer at 937-6060588
Auctionzip #5640

MARVELS OF MECHANICAL MUSIC – MBSI
Video. Fascinating and beautifully-made
film which explains the origins of automatic
musical instruments, how they are collected
and preserved today, and their historic
importance, MBSI members and collections
are featured. $20 USD. Free shipping in the
continental U.S. Additional postage charges
apply for other locations. Purchase now at
www.mbsi.org

WANTED
COINOLA “X” or C-2. Also Regina 216 music
box with bells. Contact DON KROENLEIN, at
fbac@one-eleven.net or (217) 620-8650

WANTED
Display Advertisers

LOWREY OR HAMMOND ORGAN that plays
piano rolls or the player part, working or not.
These were made in the early 1980s. Contact
LES BEEBE, at (609) 654-2789.

SERVICES
REPRODUCTION POLYPHON discs; Catalogs
available for 19 5/8”, 22 1/8”, and 24
1/2”. DAVID CORKRUM 5826 Roberts Ave,
Oakland, CA 94605-1156, 510-569-3110,
www.polyphonmusic.com

SAVE $’s on REUGE & THORENS MUSIC
BOX REPAIR & RESTORATION – MBSI
MEMBERS RECEIVE WHOLESALE PRICING.

40 + Years experience servicing all makes
& models of cylinder and disc music boxes,
bird boxes, bird cages, musical watches, Anri
musical figurines, et al. All work guaranteed.
We’re the only REUGE FACTORY AUTHORIZED
Parts & Repair Service Center for all of North
America. Contact: DON CAINE -The Music
Box Repair Center Unlimited, 24703 Pennsylvania
Ave., Lomita, CA 90717-1516. Phone:

(310) 534-1557 Email: MBRCU@AOL.COM.
On the Web: www.musicboxrepaircenter.com
3………. Renaissance Antiques
51…….. Stanton Auctions
52…….. Music Box Restorations
52…….. Miller Organ Clock
53…….. Morphy Auctions
54…….. Dreamfactory
54…….. Al Alicante
55…….. Miller and Miller Auctions
56…….. MBSGB
56…….. American Treasure Tour
57…….. Porter Music Box Company
58…….. Southeast Chapter
59…….. Reeder Pianos
59…….. Cottone Auctions
59…….. Ben’s Player Piano Service
60…….. Nancy Fratti Music Boxes
61…….. Stanton Auctions
67…….. Marty Persky Music Boxes
68…….. Breker Auctions

Advertise in The Mart

Have some spare parts or extra rolls taking up the space where you should be
installing your next acquisition? Ready to trade up, but need to sell one of your
current pieces first? Get the word out to other collectors by advertising in The
Mart, an effective advertising tool at an inexpensive price.

Fill out the form below and mail to MBSI at 130 Coral Court, Pismo Beach, CA
93449. Call (253) 228-1634 with questions.

Name Phone

Email

Text of ad

Mechanical
Music
Directory
MeMbers,
MuseuMs,
& Dealers
2020 2021
ORDER EXTRA COPIES

The 2020-2021 Directory of Members,
Museums and Dealers is only $10 for
members. (International shipping is extra)

Call MBSI Administrator Jacque Beeman at

(417) 886-8839 or send a check to:
Musical Box Society International
P.O. Box 10196
Springfield, MO 65808-0196
March/April 2021 MECHANICAL MUSIC 63

OFFICERS, TRUSTEES & COMMITTEES of the
MUSICAL BOX SOCIETY INTERNATIONAL®

OFFICERS
President

Tom Kuehn
4 Williams Woods
Mahtomedi, MN 55115
kuehn001@umn.edu

Vice President

David Corkrum
5826 Roberts Avenue
Oakland, CA 94605
musikwerke@att.net

Recording Secretary

Linda Birkitt
PO Box 541
San Juan Capistrano, CA 92693
scarletpimpernel28@yahoo.com

Treasurer

Edward Kozak
3615 North Campbell Avenue
Chicago, IL 60618
kozak@seldenfox.com

TRUSTEES

Dave Calendine
Bob Caletti
Ed Cooley
Dave Corkrum

G.Wayne Finger
Matt Jaro
Tom Kuehn
Mary Ellen Myers
Clay Witt
MBSI FUNDS

COMMITTEES
Audit

Edward Cooley, Chair, Trustee
Dave Calendine, Trustee
Matt Jaro, Trustee

Endowment Committee

Edward Kozak, Treasurer, Chair
Edward Cooley, Trustee
Dave Calendine, Trustee
B Bronson
Wayne Wolf

Executive Committee

Tom Kuehn, Chair, President
David Corkrum, Vice President
Clay Witt, Immediate Past Pres.

G.Wayne Finger, Trustee
Mary Ellen Myers, Trustee
Finance Committee

Edward Kozak, Chair, Treasurer
Wayne Wolf, Vice Chair
David Corkrum, Vice President
Edward Cooley, Trustee
Peter Both

Marketing Committee

Bob Smith, Chair

G.Wayne Finger, Trustee
Judy Caletti
Meetings Committee

Matt Jaro, Chair, Trustee
Judy Caletti
Tom Chase
Cotton Morlock
Rich Poppe

Membership Committee

Chair, TBD
Mary Ellen Myers, Trustee,

Southeast
Linda Birkitt, Southern California
Gary Goldsmith, Snowbelt
Christine Hopwood, Golden Gate
Julie Morlock, Southeast
Rob Pollock, Mid-America
Dan Wilson, Piedmont
Gerald Yorioka, Northwest Int’l
TBD, East Coast
TBD, Great Lakes
TBD, National Capital
TBD, Sunbelt

Museum Committee

Sally Craig, Chair
Clay Witt, Immediate Past Pres.
Glenn Crater, National Capital
Ken Envall, Southern California
Julian Grace, Sunbelt
Matt Jaro, National Capital
Richard Simpson, East Coast

Museum Sub-Committees

Ohio Operations
Emery Prior

SPECIAL ACTIVITIES
Publications Back Issues:

Jacque Beeman

Regina Certificates:

B Bronson

MBSI Pins and Seals:

Jacque Beeman

Librarian:

Jerry Maler

Historian:

Bob Yates

Nominating Committee

Dan Wilson, Chair
Clay Witt, Immediate Past Pres.
Bob Caletti, Golden Gate, Trustee
Mary Ellen Myers, Trustee,

Southeast
Jonathan Hoyt, Golden Gate
Robin Biggins, Southern California
Aaron Muller, Lake Michigan

Publications Committee

Bob Caletti, Chair, Trustee
Steve Boehck
Dave Corkrum, Vice President
Christian Eric
Kathleen Eric
Terry Smythe

Publications
Sub-Committee

Website Committee
Rick Swaney, Chair
B Bronson
Don Henry
Knowles Little, Web Secretary

Special Exhibits Committee

Chair Mary Ellen Myers, Trustee,
Southeast
David Corkrum, Vice President,

Golden Gate
Donald Caine, Southern California
Jack Hostetler, Southeast
Knowles Little, National Capital
Judy Miller, Piedmont
Aaron Muller, Lake Michigan
Wayne Myers, Southeast
Rick Swaney, Northwest Int’l

MBSI Editorial Office:

Iron Dog Media
130 Coral Court
Pismo Beach, CA 93449
editor@mbsi.org

Members can donate to these funds at any time.
Send donations to: General Fund (unrestricted)
MBSI Administrator, Endowment Fund (promotes the purposes of MBSI, restricted)
PO Box 10196, Ralph Heintz Publications Fund (special literary projects)
Springfield, MO 65808-0196. Museum Fund (supports museum operations)

All manuscripts will be subject to editorial review. Committee and the Editorial Staff. are considered to be the author’s personal opinion.
Articles submitted for publication may be edited The article will not be published with significant The author may be asked to substantiate his/her
or rejected at the discretion of the Publications changes without the author’s approval. All articles statements.

64 MECHANICAL MUSIC March/April 2021

CALENDAR OF EVENTS

Date Event Location Sponsor
Aug. 30-Sept. 4, 2021 MBSI Annual Meeting Ft. Myers, FL Southeast Chapter

When will your chapter meet next? Holding a “virtual meeting?” Let us know!
Send in your information by Apr. 1, 2021 for the May/June issue.
Don’t hold your questions until the next chapter meeting. Ask them today on our FaceBook discussion group

-the Music Box Society Forum.
Please send dates for the Calendar of Events to Russell Kasselman (editor@mbsi.org)

CONTACTS

Administrator Jacque Beeman handles back issues (if available) $6;
damaged or issues not received, address changes, MBSI Directory
listing changes, credit card charge questions, book orders, status of your
membership, membership renewal, membership application, and MBSI
Membership Brochures.
P.O. Box 10196
Springfield, MO 65808-0196
Phone/Fax (417) 886-8839
jbeeman.mbsi@att.net

CHAPTERS

East Coast

Chair: Elise Low
(203) 457-9888
Dues $5 to Roger Wiegand
281 Concord Road
Wayland, MA 01778
or pay via PayPal, send to
treasurereccmbsi@gmail.com

Golden Gate

Chair: Jonathan Hoyt
jenjenhoyt@yahoo.com
Dues $5 to Dave Corkrum
5826 Roberts Ave.
Oakland, CA 94605

Japan

Chair Pro Tem: Sachiya Sasaki
Vice Chair Pro Tem: Naoki Shibata

Lake Michigan

Chair: Aaron Muller
(847) 962-2330
Dues $5 to James Huffer
7930 N. Kildare
Skokie, Illinois 60076

Mid-America

Chair: Rob Pollock
(937) 508-4984
Dues $10 to Harold Wade
4616 Boneta Road
Medina, OH 44256

National Capital

Chair: Matthew Jaro
(301) 482-2008
Dues $5 to Florie Hirsch
8917 Wooden Bridge Road
Potomac, MD 20854

Northwest International

Chair: Rick Swaney
(425) 836-3586
Dues $7.50/person to Kathy Baer
8210 Comox Road
Blaine, WA 98230

Piedmont

Temp Chair: Dan Wilson
(919) 740-6579
musicboxmac@mac.com
Dues $10 to Dan Wilson
4804 Latimer Road
Raleigh, NC. 276099

Traveling MBSI Display
Bill Endlein
21547 NW 154th Pl.
High Springs, FL 32643-4519
Phone (386) 454-8359
sembsi@yahoo.com

Regina Certificates: Cost $5.
B Bronson
Box 154
Dundee, MI 48131
Phone (734) 529-2087
art@d-pcomm.net

Advertising for Mechanical Music
Russell Kasselman
Iron Dog Media
130 Coral Court
Pismo Beach, CA 93449
Phone (253) 228-1634
editor@mbsi.org

CHAPTERS

Snowbelt

Chair: Tracy Tolzmann
(651) 674-5149
Dues $10 to Gary Goldsmith
17160 – 245th Avenue
Big Lake, MN 55309

Southeast

Chair: Jack Hostetler
(352) 633-1942
Dues $5 to Clay Witt
820 Del Rio Way Unit 203
Merritt Island, FL 32953

Museum Donations
Sally Craig,
2720 Old Orchard Road
Lancaster, PA 17601
Phone (717) 295-9188
rosebud441@juno.com

MBSI website
Rick Swaney,
4302 209th Avenue NE
Sammamish, WA 98074
Phone (425) 836-3586
r_swaney@msn.com

Web Secretary
Knowles Little
9109 Scott Dr.
Rockville, MD 20850
Phone (301) 762-6253
kglittle@verizon.net

Southern California

Chair: Robin Biggins
(310) 377-1472
Dues $10 to Diane Lloyd
1201 Edgeview Drive
Cowan Hgts, CA 92705

Sunbelt

Chair: Ray Dickey
(713) 467-0349
Dues $10 to Diane Caudill
4585 Felder Road
Washington, TX 77880

Copyright 2021 the Musical Box Society International, all rights reserved. Permission to reproduce by any means, in whole or in part, must be obtained in writing
from the MBSI Executive Committee and the Editor. Mechanical Music is published in the even months. ISSN 1045-795X

March/April 2021 MECHANICAL MUSIC 65

HALF PAGE
HORIZONTAL
7.25” x 4.5”
QUARTER
PAGE
3.5” x 4.5”
EIGHTH
PAGE
3.5” x 2.125”
Mechanical Music
Devoted to All Automatic Musical Instruments
Journal of the Musical Box Society International
Mechanical Music
Journal of the Musical Box Society International
Devoted to All Automatic Musical Instruments
Volume 63, No. 3 May/June 2017
Mechanical Music
Journal of the Musical Box Society International
Devoted to All Automatic Musical Instruments
Volume 63, No. 1 January/February 2017
DISPLAY ADVERTISING DIMENSIONS & PER ISSUE COSTS
Dimensions 1 issue 2-3 issues 4-6 issues
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CLASSIFIED ADS
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• Limit: One ad in each
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instruments and related
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Mechanical Music at its Best

Instrument Brokering & Locating / Appraisals / Inspections / Free Consultation

Mechmusic.com
11’ tall
Welte 4 Concert Violina Orchestra Hupfeld Helios II/25 Welte Brisgovia C Luxus

Schoenstein Pipes
Lösche “Angeles” Violin Pipes & Xylophone Wurlitzer CX with Bells

Jaeger Brommer
42’er Violinopan 20’er Automaton
45’er Niemuth
Bacigalupo Visit: Mechmusic.com Mills Bowfront Violano
Call Marty Persky at 847-675-6144 or Email: Marty@Mechmusic.com
for further information on these and other fine instruments.

…and many more !
For more information and large colour photographs of some more of the upcoming Highlights
please visit our website at: www.Breker.com / New Highlights and youtube.com/auctionteambreker
Fully-illustrated bilingual (Engl.-German) COLOUR Catalogue available against prepayment only:
Euro 28.– (Europe) or elsewhere Euro 37.– (approx. US$ 44.– / Overseas)
(Bank draft, cash or by Credit Card with CVV and expiry date: MasterCard/Visa/AmEx)
☛ Consignments are welcome at any time! ☛
– The Specialists in »Technical Antiques« –
P. O. Box 50 11 19, 50971 Koeln/Germany · Tel.: +49 / 2236 / 38 43 40 · Fax: +49 / 2236 / 38 43 430
Otto-Hahn-Str. 10, 50997 Koeln (Godorf)/Germany
e-mail: Auction@Breker.com · www.breker.com · Business Hours: Tue – Fri 9 am – 5 pm
PLEASE FEEL FREE TO CONTACT OUR INTERNATIONAL REPRESENTATIVES:
Japan: Murakami Taizou, Tel./Fax (06) 68 45 86 28 * murakami@ops.dti.ne.jp · China: Jiang Feng, Tel. 138 620 620 75 * jiangfengde@gmail.com
Hong Kong, Taiwan, Singapore: Alex Shih-Chieh Lin, (HK), Tel. (+852) 94 90 41 13 * alexsclin@gmail.com
England: Tel. +49 (0) 176 991 40593 * AuctionTeamBrekerUK@outlook.de · France: Pierre J. Bickart, Tel. (01) 43 33 86 71 * AuctionTeamKoln@aol.com
Russia: Maksim Suravegin, Tel. +7 903 558 02 50 * Maksim-ATB.ru@gmx.net
U.S.A.: Andrew Truman, Tel. (207) 485 8343 * AndrewAuctionTeamBreker@gmail.com · Australia & New Zealand: P. Bardenheier, (NZ), Tel./Fax (+64) (0)9 817 72 68 * dbarden@orcon.net.nz
Eckhardt’s Patent Musical Revolving
Christmas Tree Stand
with Angel Chimes, c. 1905
Estimate:  700 – 1.000 /
US$ 850 – 1,200
Symphonion
Coin-Operated
Gramophone, c. 1910
Estimate:
 2.000 – 3.000 /
US$ 2,400 – 3,600
“Wilhelm Bruder Model 64”
Fairground Organ, c. 1925
Estimate:  4.000 – 6.000 /
US$ 5,200 – 7,200
“Zonophone Type C”
Gramophone, c. 1900
Estimate:  1.200 – 1.800 /
US$ 1,400 – 2,200 Phonograph “Columbia Graphophone
Type N ‘Bijou’”, 1895 onwards
Estimate:  900 – 1.200 / US$ 1,100 – 1,500
“Aeolian Vocalian”
Chinoiserie Floor
Gramophone, c. 1920
Estimate:
 9.000 – 12.000 /
US$ 11,000 – 15,000
“Wurlitzer Jukebox Model
1080” (Colonial), 1947
With 24 Original Discs
Estimate:  7.000 – 10.000 /
US$ 8,400 – 12,000
“Regina Style 34”, c. 1903
Automatic Disc-Changing
Musical Box for 12 Discs.
Estimate:  22.000 – 25.000 /
US$ 25,000 – 30,000
World’s Leading Specialty Auctions
»Mechanical Music Instruments«
23/24 April 2021
Victor M Horn Gramophone,
c. 1905
Estimate: 1.500 – 2.000  /
US$ 1,800 – 2,400
Automaton Singing Bird Jardinière
by Blaise Bontems, c. 1890
Estimate: 8.000 – 12.000  /
US$ 9,500 – 14,000
Pathé Concert Model 5 Coin-
Operated Phonograph, c. 1912
Estimate:  7.000 – 9.000 /
US$ 8,500 – 11,000
Large Collection of 78 rpm records
by Caruso to Beatles, 1905 – 1963
Next closing date for entries: 5 March 2021

Volume 67, No. 1 January/February 2021

Mechanical Music

Journal of the Musical Box Society International
Devoted to All Automatic Musical Instruments

Volume 67, No. 1 January/February 2021

PuRchAse • sAles • consignment

of Quality Cylinder & Disc Music Boxes, Musical Clocks & Automata

For over forty years we’ve placed fine antiques in collections around the world.
Our reputation has been built upon appreciative buyers and satisfied sellers.
Pictured are a few of the musical antiques in our current and recent inventories.

496 First Street, California 93463 • Ron & Julie Palladino
Open Seven Days a Week 10-6 • 805-452-5700
www.renantiques.com

Visit the charming Danish Village of Solvang, half an hour above Santa Barbara in the beautiful Central Coast Wine Country
RENAISSANCE ANTIQUE S

Renaissance Antiques of solvang

Editor/Publisher

Russell Kasselman

(253) 228-1634

editor@mbsi.org

MBSI Editorial Office:

Iron Dog Media

130 Coral Court

Pismo Beach, CA 93449

editor@mbsi.org

Publications Chair

Bob Caletti

All manuscripts will be subject to editorial
review. Articles submitted for publication may
be edited or rejected at the discretion of the
Publications Committee and the Editorial
Staff. The article will not be published with
significant changes without the author’s
approval. All articles are considered to be the
author’s personal opinion. The author may be
asked to substantiate his/her statements.

Mechanical Music (ISSN 1045-795X) is published by
the Musical Box Society International, 130 Coral Court,
Pismo Beach, CA 93449 six times per year. A Directory
of Members, Museums and Dealers is published
biennially. Domestic subscription rate, $60. Periodicals
postage paid at San Luis Obispo, CA and additional
mailing offices.

Copyright 2021. The Musical Box Society International,
all rights reserved. Mechanical Music
cannot be copied, reproduced or transmitted in
whole or in part in any form whatsoever without
written consent of the Editor and the Executive
Committee.

MEMBERS: SEND ADDRESS CORRECTIONS TO:
MBSI, PO Box 10196,
Springfield, MO 65808-0196
Or, make corrections on the website at www.mbsi.org.

POSTMASTER: SEND ADDRESS CHANGES TO

MBSI, PO Box 10196,
Springfield, MO 65808-0196

Mechanical Music

Journal of the Musical Box Society International

Devoted to All Automatic Musical Instruments

Volume 67, No. 1 January/February 2021

MBSI NEWS
5 President’s Message
7 Editor’s Notes

48 In Memoriam

Chapter Reports

46 National Capital

Features

8 Nickel Notes
by Matt Jaro
16 Sacred music on cylinders
– Part 6
22 Portable phonographs
31 The Hunt
34 Farny Wurlitzer address
the ATOS
41 The Hooghuys, an organ
family legacy

MBSI has replanted 124 trees so far as
part of the Print ReLeaf program.

On the Cover
Rick Swaney introduces his collec-
tion of portable phonographs. Not
small enough for your pocket, of
course, but certainly more porta-
ble than an Edison Standard.
Page 22.
The Hunt

James Kracht recalls his trip to
New York to purchase one of his
most treasured cylinder music
boxes. Page 31.

January/February 2021 MECHANICAL MUSIC 3

MEMBERSHIP APPLICATION MEMBERSHIP APPLICATION
M
M
echanical music is a fascinating hobby! It
appeals to the artist, historian, craftsman, and

musician all at the same time. Play an automatic

musical instrument in a room full of people and all else

will stop as the machine enraptures the audience with the

sparkling melodies of yesteryear!

Mechanical music instruments are any sort of auto

matically-played machine that produces melodic sound

including discs and cylinder music boxes that pluck a steel

comb; orchestrions and organs that engage many instru

ments at once using vacuum and air pressure; player and

reproducing pianos that use variable vacuum to strike piano

wires; phonographs; and self-playing stringed, wind, and

percussion instruments of any kind.

The Musical Box Society International, chartered by the

New York State Board of Regents, is a nonprofit society

dedicated to the enjoyment, study, and preservation of

automatic musical instruments. Founded in 1949, it now

has members around the world, and supports various

educational projects.

Regional chapters and an Annual Meeting held each year
in different cities within the United States enable members
to visit collections, exchange ideas, and attend educational
workshops. Members receive six issues of the journal,
Mechanical Music, which also contains advertising space
for members who wish to buy, sell, and restore mechanical
musical instruments and related items. Members also
receive the biennial MBSI Directory of Members, Museums,
and Dealers.

The only requirements for membership are an interest in
automatic music machines and the desire to share information
about them. And you’ll take pride in knowing you
are contributing to the preservation of these marvelous
examples of bygone craftsmanship.

More Information online at www.MBSI.org, or

Call: (417) 886-8839, or

Email: jbeeman.mbsi@att.net

Copy this page, and give it to a potential new member. Spread the word about MBSI.

Last name First Name Initial

Last Name First Name Initial

Address

City State / Zip Postal Code / Country

Phone Fax E-mail

Sponsor (optional)

Membership Dues

US members (per household)……………………………………….$60
Student Membership $20

(online journal access only)

Canada…………………………………………………………………………$70
Other International………………………………………………………$75

(Add $20 for International air mail.)

Join online: www.mbsi.org/join-mbsi

Check or Money Order Payable to: MBSI Treasurer (US Funds Only)
Mail to: New Member Registration – MBSI
PO Box 10196
Springfield, MO 65808-0196

Visa/MasterCard

Exp. Date CCV

Signature

4 MECHANICAL MUSIC January/February 2021

By Tom Kuehn

MBSI President

As we begin a new year, it is appropriate
to look back at some of the
changes and accomplishments made
in 2020 despite the tumultuous events
that have affected our daily lives.

The most significant event was, of
course, the emergence of the coronavirus
pandemic. That forced us to
change the mid-year trustees meeting
from an in-person session set for March
in Santa Ana, CA, to a hastily arranged
teleconference. Unfortunately for the
trustees as well as for the members of
the Southern California Chapter, the
planned collection tours and get-together
that would have been part of
that weekend’s meeting were canceled
and unable to be rescheduled.

We have now added multilingual
web pages and basic society documents
to MBSI.org to assist those who
are not native English speakers.

The musical instrument loan agreement
with the Musical Instrument
Museum in Phoenix, AZ, was extended
for another five years. This museum
hosts thousands of visitors each year
where the MBSI display helps to
inform and educate the public about
the wide range of mechanical musical
instruments crafted over the years.

The board held a special meeting
in May where it made the decision to
cancel the society’s annual meeting
that was planned for early September
2020. The board also made the

decision to use a mail ballot
for the election of officers
and trustees rather than the
in-person election that is
normally held at an annual
meeting.

We welcomed the new
Japan Chapter to the list of
society chapters.

The board met again in
September via teleconference,
replacing the meeting
usually held in the conference
hotel just prior to each
annual meeting.

A contract was negotiated
and signed with the San
Mateo Marriott San Francisco
Airport Hotel to hold
our annual meeting there
Aug. 31-Sept. 5, 2022, which
is a two-year postponement
of the canceled 2020 meeting.
The 2022 MBSI Annual
Meeting will be a joint
meeting with the Automatic
Musical Instrument Collectors’
Association (AMICA).
It will be hosted on behalf
of MBSI by the Golden Gate

Chapter.

The contract with our publisher, Iron
Dog Media, was renewed for another
three years so we will continue to
receive the excellent Mechanical
Music publication we have come to
expect. Thanks to everyone who
submitted articles for the rest of us to
enjoy.

I wish to thank all the members who
have volunteered their time and effort
to accomplish the tasks listed above
and many more who keep our society
vibrant in these exceedingly difficult
times. I wish all of you the best as we
embark on another year with its own
set of challenges and opportunities.

Welcome new members!
Fred Martin October 2020
Thousand Oaks, CA
Kirstin Canner Terry Dieterich & Nancy Carrao
Harleysville, PA Beaver Dam, WI
Sponsor: Sally Craig
Rex Schell November 2020
Gresham, OR
Jack & Kim Thornburg Sponsor: William Wineburgh
Fredericksburg, VA Peter Beda
Brent Johnson Whiting, IN
Hagerstown, MD
Grace He
Plymouth, MN
Sponsor: Thomas Kuehn
Angie & Chris Hougen
Bell Canyon, CA
Tom & Louise Tolworthy
Granville, NY
William & Cynthia Chapman
West Point, NY



★★
®
(INTERNATIONAL)
ORGANIZED IN 1949
DEVOTED TO ALL MECHANICAL MUSICAL INSTRUMENTS


★★
®
(INTERNATIONAL)
ORGANIZED IN 1949
DEVOTED TO ALL MECHANICAL MUSICAL INSTRUMENTS
Musical Box Society International
P.O. Box 10196
Springeld, MO 65808-0196
Phone/Fax: (417) 886-8839
Musical Box Society International
P.O. Box 10196
Springeld, MO 65808-0196
Phone/Fax: (417) 886-8839
MBSI MEMBERSHIP DRIVE
EACH ONE/REACH ONE NEW MEMBER
MBSI is always interested in increasing its membership and is pleased to offer new members a $15
discount off their rst year’s membership. You are considered a new member if you have not been a
member in the past three years. This discount is also available on our website, www.mbsi.org.
Current MBSI members who sponsor a new member will receive a $5 discount off their next year’s
MBSI membership renewal for each sponsorship. Attach a copy of the discount voucher below to a
copy of the membership application form on Page 4 of this issue of Mechanical Music. Place your
name as “sponsor” on the application form.
Please make copies of these forms as needed and send the completed forms with checks to the MBSI
administrator at the address listed below.
Dues Voucher –$15
New U.S. members may join MBSI for one year at $45 (instead
of $60); Canadians $55 (instead of $70; and, other International
members at $60 (instead of $75). This certicate must accom-
pany payment and a copy of the completed membership
application from page 4 of this issue of Mechanical Music.
New Member Name(s):
Authorized by MBSI Administrator
NEW MEMBER
GIFT CERTIFICATE
New members are those who have never been members of MBSI
or those who have not been members for three years prior to
submission of this voucher.
New members are those who have never
been members of MBSI or those who have
not been members for three years prior to
submission of this certicate.
Gift Membership Name
Sponsor
Address, City, State, ZIP
Phone Email
Please mail this form together with your check made payable to “MBSI” to the MBSI Administrator at the address listed
above. Memberships are $45 for U.S. residents, $55 for Canadian residents, and $60 for other International residents.
SPECIAL OFFER: Purchase one or more rst-year MBSI gift
memberships at $45 each U.S., $55 Canadian, or $60 other Interna-
tional and you will receive $5 off your next year’s MBSI membership
renewal for each “New Member” gift.


★★
®
(INTERNATIONAL)
ORGANIZED IN 1949
DEVOTED TO ALL MECHANICAL MUSICAL INSTRUMENTS


★★
®
(INTERNATIONAL)
ORGANIZED IN 1949
DEVOTED TO ALL MECHANICAL MUSICAL INSTRUMENTS
Musical Box Society International
P.O. Box 10196
Springeld, MO 65808-0196
Phone/Fax: (417) 886-8839
Musical Box Society International
P.O. Box 10196
Springeld, MO 65808-0196
Phone/Fax: (417) 886-8839
MBSI MEMBERSHIP DRIVE
EACH ONE/REACH ONE NEW MEMBER
MBSI is always interested in increasing its membership and is pleased to offer new members a $15
discount off their rst year’s membership. You are considered a new member if you have not been a
member in the past three years. This discount is also available on our website, www.mbsi.org.
Current MBSI members who sponsor a new member will receive a $5 discount off their next year’s
MBSI membership renewal for each sponsorship. Attach a copy of the discount voucher below to a
copy of the membership application form on Page 4 of this issue of Mechanical Music. Place your
name as “sponsor” on the application form.
Please make copies of these forms as needed and send the completed forms with checks to the MBSI
administrator at the address listed below.
Dues Voucher –$15
New U.S. members may join MBSI for one year at $45 (instead
of $60); Canadians $55 (instead of $70; and, other International
members at $60 (instead of $75). This certicate must accom-
pany payment and a copy of the completed membership
application from page 4 of this issue of Mechanical Music.
New Member Name(s):
Authorized by MBSI Administrator
NEW MEMBER
GIFT CERTIFICATE
New members are those who have never been members of MBSI
or those who have not been members for three years prior to
submission of this voucher.
New members are those who have never
been members of MBSI or those who have
not been members for three years prior to
submission of this certicate.
Gift Membership Name
Sponsor
Address, City, State, ZIP
Phone Email
Please mail this form together with your check made payable to “MBSI” to the MBSI Administrator at the address listed
above. Memberships are $45 for U.S. residents, $55 for Canadian residents, and $60 for other International residents.
SPECIAL OFFER: Purchase one or more rst-year MBSI gift
memberships at $45 each U.S., $55 Canadian, or $60 other Interna-
tional and you will receive $5 off your next year’s MBSI membership
renewal for each “New Member” gift.

Editor’s Notes

By Russell Kasselman

MBSI Editor/Publisher

The personal interplanetary rocket
ship I ordered back in 1985 still has

not been delivered and I cannot seem
to calibrate my time machine correctly
in order to go back and prevent myself
from making that overly large deposit
now that I’m confident the manufacturer
will never actually build the
thing. This is 2021, right? Where is all
my cool stuff?

I often wonder what the folks living
at the time when music boxes were
the height of technology might think
of all the advancements in today’s
world that I find myself too frequently
taking for granted. I guess that’s what
makes it so great to be part of a society
where I can get a regular reminder
that human imagination has really
never known a boundary that could

not be breached (eventually).

Once again, many members have
contributed to making this an issue
full of engaging content for you to
enjoy while either stuck at home
waiting for a coronavirus vaccine or
simply just hoping the ice will melt so
you can get to the grocery store.

Matt Jaro takes us to California to
the home of Sandy Swirsky and Lyle
Merithew for a tour of their fabulous
collection. Then David Worrall wraps
up his series of articles on sacred
music pinned to cylinder boxes,
providing new information not yet
published elsewhere. Rick Swaney
introduces his collection of portable
phonographs with some wonderful
photos and descriptions that might get
you surfing eBay almost immediately.

James Kracht takes us down
memory lane for our recurring feature
called The Hunt. He recalls his trip

MAILING ADDRESS

MBSI Editorial / Advertising
130 Coral Court
Pismo Beach, CA 93449

EMAIL ADDRESS

editor@mbsi.org

PHONE

(253) 228-1634

to New York City to purchase an
outstanding Mermod Frêres cylinder
box and built a long-term friendship in
the process.

A sincere thank you goes to the
American Theatre Organ Society for
granting us permission to reprint
a speech by Farny Wurlitzer that
contains many details of the history
of the company behind the organs we
are all so familiar with. Part 1 is in this
issue with Part 2 set for next issue.

Dr. Robert Penna then rounds us out
with solidly-researched history of the
Hooghuys family of organ builders I’m
sure you will enjoy.

Still stuck inside? Try writing an
article and send it in! We’d love to read
it.

Are people having trouble finding you?
Make sure your information is up
to date in the MBSI online directory.
Go to mbsi.org/update-membership-information/
or scan the QR code below to update your address
phone, website and other information.
NEW ADDRESSES TO NOTE:
Steve Greatrex
Foxlea Cottage, The Street
Lea, Malmesbury, Wiltshire
SN16 9PG United Kingdom
Tim Trager’s correct email address is:
gavioli110@gmail.com
MECHANICAL MUSICJournal of the Musical Box Society InternationalDevoted to All Automatic Musical Instruments
Volume 66, No. 6 November/December 2020Correction
The image on the cover of the
November/December 2020 edition
of Mechanical Music was iden-
tified incorrectly. The image on
the cover shows a Regina Style 67
music box from the collection of
Harold Wade.
January/February 2021 MECHANICAL MUSIC 7

Nickel Notes

By Matthew Jaro & Lyle Merithew

For this edition of Nickel Notes we
have a first: a profile of a West Coast
member. In the past I would select
people that lived within a reasonable
drive from my house in Maryland, but
this time, the topic of the article is
Sandy Swirsky and Lyle Merithew in
San Jose, CA. Lyle and Sandy are, of
course, the membership secretaries
for the Automatic Musical Instrument
Collectors’ Association (AMICA).
They are also very active in MBSI,
being the co-chairs of the 2022 joint
MBSI-AMICA annual meeting to be
held in the San Francisco, CA, area.
They give a great deal of their time to
both organizations and it’s only fitting
that we learn more about them and
their wonderful collection. Because
of the distance involved, I offered to
interview Lyle over the phone, but
he graciously volunteered to write a
document about his life and collection.
In the interests of space and flow,
I have edited the text, but the words
are mostly Lyle’s.

Early Life

I believe my first encounter with an
automated musical instrument was at
the house of the woman who “baby
sat” me for the first several years of my
life. She had a cylinder music box with
bells and, though I don’t remember
hearing it until much later, I assume
she played it for me as soon as I was
able to listen to it.

When I was probably 5 or 6 years
old I got a wind-up phonograph that
I listened to a lot until my nephew
(a year younger than I) over-wound
it and broke the spring. I remember
making a cardboard model of a phonograph
after the real one was broken

(nerdiness starts early) and a few
years later got a radio-phonograph
combination.

Like most of the collectors I talked
with who grew up in the Los Angeles,
CA, area, Disneyland and Knott’s Berry
Farm loom large in understanding my
interest in mechanical music. Disneyland
opened when I was 9 years old.
Living in Long Beach, CA, about half
an hour from Disneyland, we went to
the amusement park occasionally. I’m
not exactly sure when the player piano
shop opened on Disney’s Main Street
but it instantly became a hit with me.

The room I’m writing this in is
decorated with four album covers,
Disneyland’s Life of the Party volumes
one and two, Jack Shaindlan’s Silent
Movie Music and Knuckles’ O’Toole
Goes to Paris all of which I bought

as a child. Then there was possibly
the biggest musical automaton in the
world, the Enchanted Tiki Room,
which has always been my favorite
attraction at Disneyland.

Even though we visited Knott’s
Berry Farm a lot from an early age, I
don’t remember paying much attention
to the coin operated pianos until I
was in high school – particularly after
I got my driver’s license in my junior
year and was able to go there myself.

I do remember that some time
during my high school years a friend
of my parents bought an old pumper
and rebuilt it by replacing the tubing.
We went over and saw it and I wanted
one but my parents weren’t interested.

My main introduction to the wider
world of music was at the home of
a woman who lived alone in a small

Sandy Swirsky and Lyle Merithew with their Seeburg G, which was originally part of
Dave Ramey Sr.’s collection

8 MECHANICAL MUSIC January/February 2021

A Marshall and Wendell Ampico in Sandy and Lyle’s home. Note the Regina style 35 changer in the background.

house down the block from us. Her
son worked for RCA in the record division
and sent her pretty much every
78-rpm album that they put out. She
had shelves of albums and, from an
early age, I would spend an afternoon
listing while she played them. I believe
that my first foray into classical music
was an album titled “Peer Gynt and
the Trolls,” narrated by Milton Cross.
It told a story with music from the
suites in the background.

College and Early Career

By the time I went off to college I
was hooked on mechanical music in
various forms. I attended Cal Tech
(California Institute of Technology
in Pasadena, CA) for two years and
then transferred to Pomona College in
Claremont, CA. After some graduate
work I applied to IBM and got a job

starting in March, 1968, as a customer
engineer repairing computers in Los
Angeles.

Improvements in hardware diagnostic
software meant that fewer
hardware customer engineers were
needed. The IBM labs were generating
a lot of software and needed programmers.
Most of the programmers were
told they had to transfer to the labs
to keep their jobs (back when IBM
didn’t lay people off) and many of the
hardware customer engineers were
“promoted” to fixing the software.
I transferred to San Jose, CA, and
became a software tester. I later
switched to development.

In 1976 I had two boys and was
divorced with joint custody. I had
purchased the house Sandy and I are
living in now, a 1,400 square foot home
near where my ex-wife and I had been

living, so my boys would be able to
keep their neighborhood friends.

Meanwhile, Sandy, who is two years
younger than I, had also grown up in
the Los Angeles area, gone to junior
college and the University of Southern
California. She spent several years in
Atlanta getting two master’s degrees
and teaching. She moved back to California
in 1976 to teach and found a job
in San Jose. We met at a singles group
Halloween party. Sandy and I immediately
hit it off. She didn’t have an
interest in mechanical music but she
had managed to pick up an interest in
carousels somewhere.

After a few years my ex-wife got
married again and Sandy moved in
with me, I believe the same weekend.
In summer of 1981 we were completing
the first addition to our house and
decided that we should get married

January/February 2021 MECHANICAL MUSIC 9

The roll-storage room, an 8-foot-wide-by-23-foot-long room added on to the house.

and have a child. Sandy had been a
good step-mother to the two boys but
we wanted a child of our own. In April
of 1982 our daughter, Rachel, was
born.

The Collection Begins

Somewhere along the line Sandy
had started to refinish an old upright
piano that we had purchased for our
oldest son to practice on. It needed
some ivories and ebonies replaced
and Sandy started calling around
to piano technicians trying to find
someone who would sell her ivories
and ebonies. Most had none, but Jack
Gustafson, who lived a couple of
miles from us, said he had ivories he
had replaced with plastic and some
ebonies. Sandy went over to his house

to pick them up and he showed her
the theater organ he had in his music
room. She had no idea there were
people who would put a theater organ
in their house. He also was selling a
player piano he had rebuilt.

Soon after our daughter was born,
we purchased the pumper (which is
now in our music room) and it arrived
in July with about 12 rolls. I was really
interested in the piano, not the music.
At the time, rolls seemed expensive so
Sandy and our daughter would have to
sit in the music store while I listened
to many rolls deciding which to buy. At
this point the pumper was mostly my
toy. Later our house would be full of
rolls as my interest in the music grew.
Sandy liked the piano, but she wanted
a carousel horse. It was considered

bad form to encourage the breaking
up of carousels to sell the horses
individually. We contemplated buying
a new horse but never found one we
both liked and felt we could afford.

We joined AMICA but didn’t really
participate in the local chapter at first.
About five years later we purchased
a Marshall & Wendell baby grand
AMPICO A from Jack which he had
partially rebuilt. It had spent its entire
life in San Jose and is now in our living
room. I attended AMICA’s 25th anniversary
convention in San Francisco
(1988) by commuting from home. I
remember several things about the
convention. There was a presentation
of Conlin Nancarro’s music, a Mills
Violano for sale at what would seem a
few years later a very reasonable price
and, on Sunday, a house tour that both
Sandy and I went to. The host had a
relatively small living room full of
three grand pianos and a couch. That
seemed like a lot of pianos for one
house. Little did we know…

Expansion

Now with two pianos, we were
having some trouble figuring out
where to keep the rolls. In 1991 we
added a “roll closet” onto the house.
It is 8 feet wide by 23 feet long. We
haven’t managed to fill it with rolls
(but we have filled it with other stuff).
We have managed to fill shelves 17
feet long by 8 feet high with rolls. This
doesn’t count the organ rolls which
are in the family room with the organ
and the Phonoliszt rolls which are in
the music room.

Over the next couple of years we
picked up a Western Electric Mascot
from Alan Erb. It was a simple coin
piano with just a piano and mandolin.
One of the things that appealed to
us was that instead of doors on the
bottom, it had a glass panel so you
could see the pump and motor. Alan
said that he had heard that it had been
in the Wells Fargo collection. We also
bought from Alan, at Sandy’s insistence,
a Stella disk box in a simple oak
case that played 151/5-inch disks. We
took it home and put it on an oak table
and were unimpressed. I made a pine
table that fit over the oak table (since
we had no place to store the oak table)

10 MECHANICAL MUSIC January/February 2021

and that greatly improved the sound.
It is still on the same pine table in our
living room. John MottoRos sold us
a 1946 RockOla jukebox which is in
our family room. Later, John sold us
a Seeburg Audiophone jukebox that
was made in 1929.

AMICA

In 2000 we volunteered to help organize
and put on the AMICA convention
in Sacramento, CA. This was my
second convention and Sandy’s first.
We attended the 2003 convention
in Portland, OR, as well. The next
convention we attended, 2006 in
Chicago, IL, had a very big effect on
our collecting.

One of the tours at the Chicago
convention was to the house of Jim
and Sherrie Krughoff. While I was
drooling over the orchestrions, Sandy
found a Regina style 35 changer in a
room near the kitchen. After asking
one of the docents to play it several
times, she found me and had me come
and see it. One of the following tours
was to the house/workshop of Al
Choffnes. He had a Regina style 35
changer with clock and stained glass
for sale. As soon as we got home from
the convention, we purchased it and
put it in our living room.

One of the open houses scheduled
for the convention was the home of
Dave and Lavina Ramey. Dave had
passed away on the prior Friday and
we arrived to a combination convention
open house and an open house
where people were paying respects
to Lavina and their children. While we
were there we saw several instruments
including a Banjo-Orchestra that Dave
had built and a Seeburg G that Dave
had built up from a cabinet. He had
purchased it with only the piano in it.

The Celestina

In early 2007 we made possibly
the strangest purchase we have ever
made. We received an email saying
that a local collector was going to die
soon and that he was trying to sell
some of his collection. We went to
his house and found out that he had
terminal cancer and was planning to
discontinue his medications in about
a week. He and his wife had owned

A 1946 RockOla Jukebox sold to Sandy and Lyle by John MottoRos.

January/February 2021 MECHANICAL MUSIC 11

an antique store in New Orleans, LA,
and had moved to California (before
Hurricane Katrina) with a great deal
of their stuff. We purchased a 20-note
Mechanical Orguinette Co. Celestina
and a vase from him. I don’t remember
how much we paid for them but I
do remember that we didn’t feel like
haggling over the price.

The Raffin Organ

In 2007, the AMICA “convention”
was a tour of mechanical music-related
places in Holland and Germany.
We visited three workshops in
Germany that made small organs suitable
for taking to organ rallies. The
one we found most interesting was the
Raffin organ workshop in Überlingen.
We decided we wanted to buy one. By
the time we got home, the exchange
rate had shifted so that it was not in
our favor so we put the purchase off.
About a year later the exchange rate
was improving to our benefit so we
contacted the Raffin representative
in the U.S. He sent us a CD of case
styles and some CDs of rolls available
from the company. Sandy wanted an
inlaid case but Raffin didn’t have any
in stock and they would have had to
buy a dozen of the panels from their
supplier so the inlaid case was out.
Sandy, our daughter, our son-in-law
and I each looked at the case selection
and selected the same case. We
ordered it and paid for it on the day
before the presidential election in
2008. Because the woman that painted
this particular case was ill, it wasn’t
sent to the U.S. until March. It arrived
at the San Francisco airport in the
middle of a series of rain storms. I
found what appeared to be a break in
the rain a few days later and a friend
from work and I went up to the airport
and picked it up. When we got to our
house Sandy was still at school so we
set it up and my work friend and I tried
it out. It had survived shipping and a
little rain on the way home. We have
taken it to one or two rallies a year
and I have even arranged a couple of
rolls to play.

Additional Acquisitions

In 2009 when Lavina Ramey put
several items up for sale, we purchased

The Raffin Organ that survived a trip from Europe and a rain storm in San Francisco
to become a treasured part of Sandy and Lyle’s collection.

the Seeburg G we had seen nine years
earlier. David (Jr.) had moved to Ohio
and the Seeburg G was at his shop.
David wanted to do some work on it
before sending it to us. That summer
we were visiting our oldest son, who
lives in Dayton, OH, (about an hour
and a half from David’s) so we went
over to talk to him about the machine
we were buying. As we were leaving,
he gave us three CDs of recordings of
the Banjo-Orchestra.

In the spring of 2011 Sandy’s mother
passed away in Southern California.
While driving down to meet her brother
and sisters to close up the house and
get it ready for sale, we were listening

to the Banjo-Orchestra CDs that David
Ramey had given us more than a year
earlier. Sandy suggested we could use
the inheritance from her mother to
purchase one. We contacted David
and found out that Richard Reutlinger
had also decided to purchase one.
David agreed to bring them out here
without charging for shipping if he
could display one of them at the MBSI
convention in San Francisco in 2012.
He and Richard decided to display his
so David delivered and set up ours a
couple of days before the convention.
While he was at our house he also did
some work on the Seeburg G. Both our
Seeburg G and the Banjo-Orchestra

12 MECHANICAL MUSIC January/February 2021

The Hupfeld Phonoliszt-Violina that spent a few years without the top crest in order to make it fit in Sandy and Lyle’s living room

which only had 8-foot-high ceilings.

were on display at the San Francisco
AMICA convention in 2013.

In fall of 2013 Sandy finally got her
carousel horse. It is a Charles Carmel
carved between 1905 and 1920.

The Hupfeld Phonoliszt-Violina

At various open houses and on the
trip to Germany we had seen an assortment
of Hupfeld Phonoliszt-Violinas.
We were both, needless to say, very
impressed with them. The National

Carousel Association convention
in 2012 went to see the carousel at
Jasper and Marian SanFilippo’s house
in Illinois. While we were wandering
around in the American instrument
section of the main house (which we
hadn’t gotten to spend much time in
on a previous visit), we encountered
Jerry Biasella. Somehow the conversation
got to Phonoliszt-Violinas
and Jerry said that Tim Trager had
a couple for sale. After considering

it for a while we decided that we
might be able to manage to purchase
one. We would need to again add on
to the house because we didn’t have
any place to put another instrument.
Also, the Phonoliszt is a bit taller than
8 feet high and our 1970s tract house
didn’t have any room tall enough for
it. We contacted Tim and decided that
a reproduction was within our budget
(or less out of our budget than an original).
We bought the Phonoliszt and

January/February 2021 MECHANICAL MUSIC 13

Sandy and Lyle’s Seeburg G sits just inside their front door.

the subscription
to 200 recuts that
the current owner
had committed to.
We had started the
process of adding
on to the house
when we agreed
to purchase the
Phonoliszt, but
the construction
permitting process
had gotten much
more difficult in
the years since our
last addition. The
Phonoliszt arrived
before the work
had really started
and so it was placed
in our living room,
and the couch it
displaced was set in
front of the sliding
glass door that was
scheduled to be
removed to allow
access to the music
room. The living

room has an 8-foot
ceiling and the Phonoliszt just fit (with
a quarter of an inch to spare) but we
had to remove the top piece with the
Hupfeld name on it.

When the music room was finally
finished and the time came to move
the Phonoliszt to its new location we
realized the opening between the two
rooms is only 6-feet-8-inches tall. After
some discussion, and even though
they lived more than two hours away,
we decided to hire the movers that had
helped us transport our Banjo-Orchestra
and Seeburg G to the 2013 AMICA
convention. We had seen how careful
they were with our machines and
were confident they could do the job
well. We told them that they needed
four movers for the job. When they
arrived to move the Phonoliszt, they
commented that four people seemed
to be more than was necessary. After

removing the violin from the top of the
piano (without being able to tilt it at
all in the living room), they agreed that
four was the correct number.

Many Happy Returns

All of the pianos in our home are
placed where we can hear them from
our bedroom and we often listen to
them as we are getting ready for bed. I
still can’t bring myself to listen to the
Phonoliszt when I can’t watch it, since
I really enjoy seeing the violins move
and the bow change speed.

We do have hobbies other than
mechanical music and carousels.
Sandy is active in the Woman’s Club of
San Jose and the local Quilting Guild.
We both square dance an average of
four nights a week.

Sandy and Lyle can be reached at
sswirsky@sbcglobal.net

Email Matt Jaro at mjaro@verizon.net if you would like any information about
style “A”, “G”, “4X”, “H” or “O” rolls. Also, comments and suggestions for this column
will be appreciated.

Reprinted with permission of the author and The Automatic Musical Instrument
Collectors’ Association (AMICA). Originally printed in the May-June 2015 issue of
The AMICA Bulletin.

14 MECHANICAL MUSIC January/February 2021

The new music room (note the raised ceiling)
with the Hupfeld Phonoliszt-Violina, Ramey Banjo-
Orchestra and upright pumper piano taking up one full wall.

January/February 2021 MECHANICAL MUSIC 15

Sacred Music On
Cylinder Musical Boxes

Part 6: Corrigenda, Addenda and Final Thoughts.

By David Worrall

In Part 3 of this series of articles
on Sacred Music, titled “Hymns,” I
referred to Bremond serial No. 19710
which posed something of an enigma
at the time of writing. Research has
since resolved this and we now know
that the words on the tune sheet are
biblical texts, not those from hymns.
Also, the hymn numbers on the tune
sheet relate to a Society for the
Promotion of Christian Knowledge
(SPCK) publication called “Church
Hymns. Published under the direction
of the Tract Committee.” A words-only
edition is all that is available.

Some editions of hymn books
include a biblical text either as the
source that inspired the hymn writer
in the first instance or to reflect the
sentiments expressed in the verses.
Placed as these were, in the centre
and immediately above the words
or musical score of the hymn, those

unfamiliar with this practice could
easily take them as a hymn title,
which they most definitely were not.
The appearance of these texts on this
particular tune sheet is like that.

Subsequent restoration and recording
of the musical programme has
enabled five of the six tunes to be
identified. They are all as familiar
today as they were in 1881-1882, the
time serial No. 19710 was made. The
sixth tune remains to be identified. As
for the words of the hymns to which
the numbers on the tune sheet refer,
only three are in use today. So, what
appeared at first to be a music box
with an unusual and perhaps unique
musical programme has turned out
to be just another standard sacred air
music box playing a programme of
familiar hymn tunes hidden behind a
screen of biblical texts! None of this
should be allowed to detract in any

Fig. 11: Bremond serial No. 19710 tune sheet with the “unusual” tune titles
referred to in the text.

Thoughts and
Background Notes

This series of articles was first
published in 2017-2018 in The
Music Box, the Journal of The Musical
Box Society of Great Britain. It
arose from research prompted by
the extracts from Mechanical Music
Digest (www.mmdigest.com). Originally,
it was intended to be short and
so was published in a single edition
of The Music Box. As the research
progressed, however, the scope
gradually increased to the extent
that necessitated publication in five
parts, each part being explained in
the text of the article itself.

These articles are now being
republished in Mechanical Music
with all changes necessitated by this
new material as of November 2020.

Throughout this article, the term
“sacred” is used entirely with reference
to the Christian faith and then
in relation to the music identified
and referred to herein.

Parts 1 to 4 gave the background
to the article, defined sacred music,
gave overall statistical details of its
extent on cylinder musical boxes and
discussed results from the analysis
of classical sacred music, hymns,
evangelical and gospel songs. Part 5
discussed some hybrid, interchangeable
and unusual programmes.

Whilst this series has been
running, new information has come
to light that either corrects or extends
what has gone before in Parts 1-5.

It is thought appropriate, therefore
to add Part 6 to the series to cover
such material.

16 MECHANICAL MUSIC January/February 2021

way from the quality of serial No. 19710 and the attractive Table 16 below.
arrangements it plays. As restored, it is an excellent exam2.
The hymn numbers are in the same hand and ink
ple of its type and one for which the soubriquet “Hymn as the texts. This is unusual as, when present, this
Box,” so beloved by some in our interest for anything with feature is usually in a different ink and hand, the
sacred airs, can be truly applied. hymn numbers having been added sometime after
The Tune Sheet for Bremond serial No. 19710 is now at purchase by an owner. For Bremond serial No.
Fig 11. Table 16 summarises the information discussed 19710, however, being in the same hand and ink
above. There are two further points of interest to note surely means that the source was in the author’s
about the tune sheet: hand when the tune sheet was drafted for the script
1. The words on this copy bring to light a number of writer or when the script itself was written.
errors in Part 3 of my series. The corrections are in

Air
Tune Sheet Detail –
With Corrections
Highlighted.
Biblical Source – Authorised
Version
First Line of
Hymn in SPCK
“Church Hymns”
Hymn Tune Pinned on
Cylinder; & the hymn
with which it is more
usually associated.
Times, Seasons &
Festivals associated
with the Tune
1
One of the two who
heard John speak.
Hymn 158.
John 1:40:
One of the two which heard
John speak, and followed him,
was Andrew, Simon Peter’s
brother.
158. “O Jesu, our
redeeming Lord”
Winchester Old.
“While shepherds
watched.”
Christmas
2 The Lord is risen
indeed. Hymn 136.
Luke 24:34:
saying, The Lord is risen in-
deed, and hath appeared to
Simon Peter.
136. “Jesus Christ
is risen today,
Alleluia”
Easter Morn or Easter
Hymn.
“Jesus Christ is risen
today, Alleluia”; also,
“Christ The Lord is risen
today, Alleluia.”
Easter
3
Christ our Passover is
sacrificed for us. Hymn
128.
1 Corinthians 5:7:
Purge out therefore the old
leaven that ye may be a new
lump, as ye are unleavened.
For even Christ our Passover
is sacrificed for us.
128. “At the
Lamb’s high feast
we sing”
St Georges, Windsor.
“Come ye thankful
people come.”
Harvest
4
Come for all things and
are now ready.
Hymn 212.
Luke 14:17:
and sent his servant at supper
time to say to them that were
bidden, Come; for all things
are now ready.
212. “My God,
and is Thy table
spread”
Rockingham.
“When I survey the
wondrous Cross.”
Holy Week
5
Although the fields shall
yield no meat. Hymn
267.
Habakkuk 3:17:
Although the fig tree shall not
blossom, neither shall fruit be
in the vines; the labour of the
olive shall fail, and the fields
shall yield no meat; the flock
shall be cut off from the fold,
and there shall be no herd in
the stalls.
267. “What our
Father does is
well”
Arrangement of Spanish
Chant or Spanish Hymn
Sometimes set to the
Charles Wesley’s hymn
“Christ whose Glory fills
the skies.”
Morning
6
He that is least in the
Kingdom of God. Hymn
178.
Luke 7:28:
For I say unto you, among
those that are born of women
there is not a greater prophet
than John the Baptist: but he
that is least in the kingdom of
God is greater than he.
178. “When Christ
the Lord would
come on earth”
Yet to be Identified.
Possibly a hymn tune
associated with an
evening hymn to
complete the above
series?
Table 16: Bremond serial No. 19710. Details of Text Corrections (highlighted in yellow), biblical text sources and hymntunes
identified.

January/February 2021 MECHANICAL MUSIC 17

Addenda: Tune Sheets in Foreign
Languages

The vast majority of music boxes
with sacred airs identified during
research for this series of articles have
tune sheets with the sacred air titles
written in English, with or without
sundry spelling mistakes and some
wild, indeed very wild interpretations
of some indecipherable and faded
script. Very occasionally, however,
one comes to light with its tune sheet
in a foreign language and some examples
of these follow.

Fig. 12 shows the tune sheet of
a music box produced by Mermod
Frêres in the early 1900s clearly for
the German-speaking market, either
sold in Germany itself or to the
German speaking area of Switzerland.
I am not a linguist, but I have listed the
hymns in Table 18 and in the second
column of the table I present a literal
translation obtained from the internet.
I have not been able to translate any
of these titles further into the English
idiom (British or American) to see if
they relate to any of the hymns that
have been otherwise identified in my
research so far. Perhaps a reader may
be able to help in this matter by taking
the translation further.

A second example of a tune sheet
in a foreign language is at Fig. 13.
It is from serial No. 8049 made by
Karrer in the mid 1880s, again for the
German-speaking market but in this
case some of the hymns are more
recognisable.

As the image quality is rather poor,
I have set out the musical programme
in Table 19.

The Karrer business, located in
Teufental, Switzerland, to the southeast
of Berne was not amongst the
front runners for producing music
boxes with any form of sacred music
included in their programmes. Perhaps
this was because they were less
well-known as makers in the United
Kingdom where most of the sacred-air
music boxes seem to have been sold.
At the time I released my first article
on this subject for publication, only
four Karrer music boxes had come
to light with a total between them
of just 15 sacred airs. Some of them
were repeats and one, the six-air box,

Fig. 12: Mermod Frêres serial No. 117368 with eight sacred airs, the titles in German.

Hymn Title – in German Literal Translation into English
1. Alleluia, lof zig den heer 1. Alleluia, tens of armies
2. En hoogen God Alleen zig ser 2. ???
3. Mein hertzen Jesu meine Lust 3. My love for Jesus
4. Goed heid Gods! Nosit regt ge-
prezen!
4. Goodness of God! Nosit is rightly
praised!
5. Jesu, meines Lebens Leben 5. Jesus, life of my life
6. Sollt ich meinem Gott nicht singen. 6. Shouldn’t I sing to my God
7. Öd, enkel licht. 7. Desolate, grandson light
8. Nun ruhen alle Walder. 8. Now all forests are resting.

Table 18: The hymn titles in German from the tune sheet of Mermod Frêres serial
No. 117368

shown in Fig. 13, had an all-in German
list of tunes that was indecipherable
for the most part because of the image
quality.

As I was writing these notes, a
second box by Karrer came to light.
This one, serial No. 15528, was made in
the 1890s with titles on the tune sheet
in English but with a rather unusual
mix in its musical programme, as may
be seen in Table 20. It has a single,
secular air at tune No. 1 with sacred
airs for the remainder of the six-air
programme. Usually, music boxes are
produced the other way around with
just one sacred air in an otherwise
secular programme.

The musical programme for this
music box is set out in Table 20.

Mixed Languages Tune Sheets

Occasionally, a tune sheet has come
to light with a glorious admixture of
languages. Such a one is at Fig. 15 with
at least three languages recognisable:
Italian, Latin and French.

A second, rather extreme example
of this has just been sent to me. It is
the brass tune plaque shown in Fig.

16. The brass plaque is on the case of
what was said at the time of referral
to be an otherwise ordinary run-of-the
mill 12-air box by Ducommun-Girod,
serial No. 39429, Gamme 2930, made
circa 1861-1862. Again, in view of
the rather poor image, the musical
programme is set out in text format in
the representation in Table 21.
Caveat Emptor! I also discovered

18 MECHANICAL MUSIC January/February 2021

Fig. 13: Tune Sheet for Karrer serial No. 8049. Apologies for
the poor quality of the image; none better was available.

Hymn Title – in German Literal Translation into English
1. Das ?? Blut. ????? 1.
2 Wacht auf! Ruft uns die
Stimme 2.
3. Ein feste Burg ist unser Gott 3. Luther’s Hymn “A Safe
Stronghold is our God”
4. O Gott, o Gott o Licht des
lebens 4.
5. Ho finds die Seele die Heimath
die Ruh? 5.
6 Harre mein Seele 6. Hark My Soul

Table 19: The hymn titles in German of Karrer serial No. 8049

Fig. 14: Karrer serial No. 15528. One secular air in an otherwise
sacred air programme.

Tune No. Title Notes
1 Boccaccio Waltz – von
Suppe. The single Secular Air!
2
Ring the Bells of Heaven.
William Orcutt Cushing/Root.
650.
Circa 1865
Noted on 13 boxes by
other makers.
3 Once For All. Percy Bliss
Author & Composer. 143.
About 1872. This is
pinned on one other
Karrer Box.
4
Far Away Where Angels
Dwell!! by Jacob Blumenthal.
Circa 1879.
See also the further
comments below.
5
Beautiful Star in Heaven so
Bright [Star of the Evening]
by J.M. Sayles.
Circa 1860. The first instance
for this particular
hymn.
6 Jesus of Nazareth [Passeth
By]. Campbell/Perkins. 77.
Circa 1865.
This is pinned on one
other Karrer Box.

Table 20: The hymn titles on the tune sheet of Karrer serial
No. 8049. Research on Tune 4 above revealed two possibilities
and, after some consideration and with help from the restorer
of this box, it was confirmed as the version by Blumenthal, as
indicated on the tune sheet. The alternative was a tune set to
different words but with the same title, by George W. Persley,
of 1873. I have not encountered either tune before and, having
read the verses of both versions, I think both are well out on
the fringes of being considered a sacred air in any of the categories
identified in this series of articles.

Fig. 15: Tune sheet of unattributed music box with an unrecognisable
serial number, but with a mixture of languages.

Fig. 16: Brass tune plaque referred to in the text. The titles are
in text format at Table 21 on Page 20.

January/February 2021 MECHANICAL MUSIC 19

that the music box with this intriguing
brass tune plaque recently appeared
for auction in the U.S. Close examination
by members of several musical
box societies identified features that
clearly showed it was not what it
was supposed to be, which is a 12-air
sacred music box by Ducommun-Girod.
The chief clue that led to this
assessment is the manner in which
the very ordinary looking 12-air
Ducommun-Girod movement is fitted
into the case which, considering its
proportions and quality, is better
suited to either a 12-air two-per-turn
or an overture movement. Also, the
serial number (No. 39429) is stamped
on the underside of the base in a style
suggestive of another well-known
maker, but not Ducommun-Girod. In
my opinion, this was a forced marriage
where the movement and case have
little in common with one another.

In further support of my theory that
this box is a forced marriage of case
and movement, I have compared the
brass plaque seen in Fig. 16 with the
elaborate design work seen on the
silvered or brass plaques of contemporary
boxes by makers such as Nicole
Frêres. I can say confidently that it
is very doubtful any such maker of
quality music boxes would have had a
plaque, with several spelling mistakes
and changes in style, made and fitted
to one of their products prior to sale.
Indeed, the plaque recognises neither
the maker nor the serial number on the
underside of the base, just squeezing
what is now thought to be the Gamme
Number in along the top.

The Arthur D Cunliffe Register of
Cylinder Musical Boxes also bears no
evidence as yet concerning a serial
No. 39429 by any maker. So, without
any witness holes giving evidence of
the brass plaque having replaced an
earlier tune sheet, it is thought to be
part of the original casework for an
erstwhile serial No. 39429 the movement
for which, for the present at
least, can be considered mislaid, lost
or destroyed.

To my eye, this seems to be an
example of an attempt by a vendor
or first owner to enhance the value/
appearance of the music box by
having a brass plaque fitted rather

12 TUNES – 2930
1. Cantique XXII Grosser Gotte wir loben. Haydn
2. Come ye disconsolate.
3. Oh How Happy the are A Sacred Song.
4. Hymn XLII M. Luther’s.
5. O praise the lord. Handel
6. The old Hundredth.
7. Choral de Luther. Seingeur, ramparte
8. Pslam XXXIII. Lett all the juste.
9. He Comete. he Comet Hymn
10. Llandaff, adapted Choral. Bach
11. Grand Choeur de la Creation. Haydn
12. Cantique XXXVII. Handel

Table 21: Sacred Air Titles from the Brass Plaque at Fig. 16. Mistakes are not

corrected.

than an ordinary tune sheet. It still
leaves, however, a tune plaque of
interest to consider within the bounds
of this series of articles, to say nothing
of its strange mix of English sprinkled
with French and German.

It will take some research to identify
exactly what most of these titles are
or to what sacred airs they might refer.
Indeed, some will be unidentifiable
unless the related original movement
can be heard.

The Opera “Nabucco,” or
Nebuchadnezzar

In Part 1 of this series, I remarked
that composers and their librettists
often turned to the Bible as a source
for stories for a libretto, whether
for an oratorio or, indeed an opera.
An extreme example of the latter
is the opera “Nabucco,” short for
Nabucodonosor, or in English, Nebuchadnezzar.
This was written by Verdi
and first performed in 1842.

The opera, with its plot of romance
and politics, uses historical events
taken from the Bible as a background,
and in doing so follows the plight of the
Jews as their homeland is conquered
by the Babylonian king, Nabucco, with
the Temple in Jerusalem sacked and
the Jews themselves taken into exile
and slavery in Babylon. Whilst there,
their thoughts and dreams return to
their homeland, musically portrayed
by Verdi in the best-known number

from the opera, the “Chorus of the
Hebrew Slaves,” “Va, pensiero, sull’ali
dorate” or “Fly, thought, on golden
wings.”

This biblical background apart,
the story of the opera is entirely
secular and so, although Verdi’s arias
and choruses from “Nabucco” have
been identified on 40 music boxes
registered to date, none form part of
musical programmes of sacred airs.

For these reasons, it was excluded
from Part 2 of the series but is added
here by way of a footnote to the series
explaining its earlier exclusion.

Final Thoughts

Music boxes with sacred airs forming
all or just part of their musical
programme continue to come to
light. At the end of September 2020 a
total of 12,828 surviving music boxes
had been identified, 12,776 having
been registered and the remaining 52
coming from other sources. Of these,
5,590 have no details of their musical
programme. Of the remaining 7,238, a
total of 6,423 play only secular items,
leaving just 815 (or 11.26 percent)
with musical programmes, including
at least a single sacred air.

The revised breakdown of musical
programme formats within that total
is in Table 22. This shows that whilst
the subtotals and ratios, as set out in
Table 2 in Part 1 of the series may have
altered, they have not done so by any

20 MECHANICAL MUSIC January/February 2021

significant margin since first published
in 2019.

New Sacred Airs

New titles not seen before in this
research continue to come to light.
Apart from those already referred to
above, other examples are listed in
Table 23.

All have just a single occurrence,
reinforcing the view that many sacred
air titles were arranged and pinned to
meet particular requests from customers.
This thought raises again questions
about music box production in the 19th
century, such as how were such orders
made? How was music, both new and
strange to a Swiss arranger, arranged
and what was needed to accomplish
this? Who made the arrangements and
at what cost? In what timescales were
the makers and their arrangers able
to meet such requests? Perhaps, and
rather sadly, we shall never know as
so many records have been destroyed
or lost over the intervening years.

Acknowledgments

I end these final thoughts with a
note of acknowledgment and thanks
to those members of MBSI who have
helped in this research by sending
details of music boxes with sacred airs
and by their helpful and constructive
comments made when doing so. In the
past I have chosen not to name them
and I continue with that tradition now,
but they each know who they are and
I wish them to know that they all are
very much appreciated.

Research such as this by its nature
can never be complete and would
not be possible at all without the aid
of The Arthur D Cunliffe Register of
Cylinder Musical Boxes. It is gratifying
to know that surviving boxes are
still coming “out of hiding” and being
drawn to the attention of both Arthur
Cunliffe and myself. All such finds add
to our knowledge of this form of home
entertainment of former years.

Musical Programme End Sep 2020 February 2019
Format No. of MB’s Percentage No. of MB’s Percentage
Complete Programme of
Sacred Music 414 50.80% 389 51.80%
Partial Programme of Sacred
Music – Two or More Airs 89 10.92% 88 11.72%
Single Item of Sacred Music 249 30.55% 213 28.36%
Subtotals 752 92.27% 690 91.88%
Registered as “Hymn Box”
but without supporting
details – Unidentifiable
63 7.73% 61 8.12%
Overall Totals 815 100.00% 751 100.00%

Table 22: Programme extent of musical boxes pinned with sacred music as at end
September 2020. Sacred air popularity remains much the same with “The Messiah”
(309 occurrences), “Creation” (300 occurrences) and “Elijah” (222 occurrences) topping
the list in that order as the most popular oratorios. Still, rather surprisingly to
me, the chorus “The Heavens are Telling” from “Creation” remains the most popular
single classical sacred air with no less than 128 occurrences compared to the next
most popular, “O Rest in the Lord,” from “Elijah” with 109 occurrences. Furthermore,
“The Heavens are Telling,” the grand chorus from “Creation” remains the most popular
single sacred air overall.

Hymns show little change in their order of popularity. “Old Hundredth” (119 occurrences)
remains the most popular by a significant margin followed by “Evening
Hymn” (93 occurrences) and “Morning Hymn” (78 occurrences). Of note in this section,
though, is that the Christmas carol “Silent Night” occurred no less than seven
times in the musical programmes of the additional boxes recently identified. This is
a significant increase.

Amongst Evangelical and Gospel Songs, “Safe in the Arms of Jesus” (69 occurrences)
and “Hold the Fort” (65 occurrences) remain at the top by comfortable
margins.

Tune Notes
Jesus Shall Reign (where ere the sun) A surprising first occurrence for this
well-known hymn.
Jesus Loves Me; This I know A hymn written with children in mind.
I Hear Thy Welcome Voice
Angel hovering round
Once I was dead in sin
I hear the Saviour say
Beautiful Star in Heaven so Bright J.M. Sayles, 1858
Kingdom coming
Guide us Saviour T.C.O’ Kane
Battling for The Lord T.E. Perkins
Spirit Voices S.J. Vail
Home of The Soul H. Phillips
It is Well with my Soul
Washed in the Blood of The Lamb

Table 23: Additional sacred air titles found during recent research.

January/February 2021 MECHANICAL MUSIC 21

Music To Go

An introduction to portable phonographs

by Rick Swaney

Phonographs make up a significant portion
of my mechanical music collection. In
fact, my collecting began with an Edison
cylinder phonograph I encountered
at a local antique store. Some of my
favorite machines to demonstrate are
portable phonographs. I don’t mean
phonographs that are inherently portable
due to their small size, but rather
phonographs that are designed to be
disassembled and/or compressed for
transporting. They are great examples

of the ingenuity of mechanical design
prior to the age of electronics.
I have four portable phonographs.
Each one demonstrates a different

approach to shrinking for transport. I’ve found
from hosting chapter meetings and open
houses that more than a few collectors are not
familiar with this type of phonograph. Let this
article serve as an introduction to this interesting
phonograph sub-genre.

Mikiphone

The smallest of the portables, and the most
popular for collectors, is the Mikiphone.
Contrary to what I thought, it has nothing to do
with the famous Disney mouse. It is named after
its inventor, Hungarian designer Miklós Vadász.
The Mikiphone was manufactured by the Swiss
company Maison Paillard. They produced
between 150,000 and 200,000 of them in the mid
1920s.

The phonograph is shaped like a large pocket

watch and was

The Mikiphone unpacked from its compact case and ready to be assembled in order to play a record.

The Mikiphone is now ready to receive and play a record. Note the pushpin plug in the center that would anchor a record to the

device and prevent it from tipping over due to the weight of the reproducer.

advertised as a pocket phonograph.
Given its weight of more than two
pounds and diameter of 4.5 inches,
it’s unlikely that many owners carried
one in their pocket. Designed to be as
small as possible, there is no wasted
space inside. The pieces must be
positioned precisely to fit, as indicated
by the layout drawing conveniently
included in the lid.

The Mikiphone replaces the traditional
horn with a Bakelite resonator
box. This box splits into two shallow
cups which nest together for packing.
One cup has a hole near the bottom
for accepting the reproducer and a
series of small holes at the top for the
sound to come through. The reproducer
is standard except for a clip on
the back to fasten it to the resonator

and a section of support arm attached
to its side.

The turntable is a 4-inch diameter
steel disk. It has a hole in the center
for sliding onto the motor spindle.
Four other holes are present for parts
to stick through when it is packed. A
10-inch record on this turntable would
tip from the weight of the needle, so
a pushpin-shaped plug is included

24 MECHANICAL MUSIC January/February 2021

which inserts into the top of the spindle
to hold down the record.

The reproducer’s support arm
consists of two halves joined with a
swivel hinge. The back half is attached
to the phonograph body in a way
that allows it to swing outward for
playing. The act of swinging the arm
out releases the brake, activating on
the motor. Swinging out the arm also
controls the speed. The further the
swing, the faster it plays. The front
half of the arm pivots on the back half
allowing the reproducer to track the
record groove.

The spring motor is wound by twisting
the watch’s winding key. It takes a
bit of force to turn the key and takes
up to 50 turns to fully wind the motor.
A fold-up crank was invented which
attaches to the key to make winding
easier. I don’t know if that was available
as an option from Paillard or
was sold as an accessory by another
company.

One item I don’t have – I am told
that it is quite rare – is a rectangular
needle tin that fits within the case. It is
pictured in the layout drawing in the
lid.

Excelda

The Excelda is a portable phonograph
that bears a resemblance to
a popular camera model, a folding
bellows style. That’s the kind with
an accordion-like, adjustable black
tunnel between the lens and the
film. Thorens, the Swiss music box
company, manufactured the Excelda
in the early 1930s.

The case is a long, thin metal box (5
inches by 11 inches by 2 inches) with a
brown crackle finish giving the appearance
of alligator skin. The entire top
is removable once a retaining knob is
unscrewed. The knob screws onto the
end of the motor spindle. When playing
a record, the knob serves a second
purpose, holding the record down on
the small (2.5-inch) turntable.

The spring motor occupies about
one-third of the case. Another third
is devoted to an internal horn. The
rest of the space is taken up by the
reproducer, tone arm, and crank.
Being a later-model phonograph, the
reproducer has an aluminum rather

No space is wasted in the Mikiphone case design.

The Excelda is carried in a metal case with a removable top.

January/February 2021 MECHANICAL MUSIC 25

The winding crank, reproducer and reproducer arm all fit neatly into the Excelda’s case. Assembly is relatively quick and easy.

The Excelda as fully assembled and ready to play a record. The reproducer is made of aluminum and resembles a more modern
speaker that might be seen on a telephone.

26 MECHANICAL MUSIC January/February 2021

than mica diaphragm. The disk is
embossed with a set of concentric,
circular mounds much like modern
speakers have. The tonearm has a
rotating sleeve on one end that fits
into a vertical opening in the horn. The
other end attaches to the reproducer
with a typical bayonet mount.

An internal lever acts as both the
brake and speed adjustment. The
further the level is pushed, the faster
the motor runs. A pointer on the edge
of the lever sticks out of a slot in the
side of the case. As the lever moves,
the pointer slides up and down a
metal gauge marked, “Stop — Slow
——— Fast.”

Kameraphone

The Kameraphone, made in the
1920s, is another portable that resembles
a popular camera model, the
classic Brownie box camera. It has
a small, leatherette-covered wooden
case with a leather carrying strap on
the top. The front has knobs for the
brake and speed adjustment and a
hole for inserting the winding crank.
The lid of the case is hinged to give
access to the phonograph parts.

The bulk of the interior is devoted
to the spring motor. It is hidden
under a wooden platform which
has indentations for the reproducer,
horn, support arm and turntable. The
reproducer is of a standard design.
The horn consists of three conical
aluminum segments which nest
together in the case. In use, they lock
together end-to-end to form a 4.5-inchlong
trumpet. The turntable is a small
metal disk with three attached arms.
One arm is fixed in position. The other
two arms swing outward 120 degrees
to form a balanced support for a standard
10-inch record. The reproducer
support arm is an L-shaped metal rod
that sits in a bracket built into the
hinged lid. The fit is loose, allowing
the arm to swivel as a record is played.

I’ve found many variations in the
design of this type of phonograph, all
referred to as Kameraphones. Kameraphone
is a registered trademark, but I
haven’t been able to discover anything
about the company behind it. I suspect
that not all these variations, including
mine, are official Kameraphones. Mine

The Kameraphone is so named because of its resemblance to the Brownie box
camera that is carried in a similar-looking case.

January/February 2021 MECHANICAL MUSIC 27

The components that make up the Kameraphone shown unpacked.

The Kameraphone has three arms that swing out at 120-degree angles to support
a record. The horn is made up of three separate conical aluminum pieces that fit
snuggly together.

has no identifying marking inside or
out nor any indication of a missing
plaque.

Polly Portable

My favorite portable is the Polly
Portable Phonograph. It was
manufactured by the Polly Portable
Phonograph Company of New York,
NY, around 1925. It is large for a portable,
but I think it’s the most practical.
The other phonographs are smaller,
but when you realize that you also
must bring records, the Polly makes
sense. Its case is large enough to carry
a stack of five records.

The Polly has a full-size turntable
and the spindle is extra-long to hold
the stack of records in place. The
spring motor is no more than an inch
tall, allowing it to fit under the turntable
despite the slim (2.5-inch) case.
The vertical winding crank goes into
a hole in the front right corner. The
brake lever and speed adjustment
knob are in the front left corner.

What sets the Polly apart from other
phonographs is the reproducer/horn
design. To begin with, there really isn’t
a reproducer. The needle is connected
directly to the horn. And the horn is
nothing more than a piece of paper!

The horn is a 16-inch diameter piece
of stiff paper with an approximately
45-degree wedge cut out of it. To turn
it into a horn, one brings the edges of
the wedge together and fits a rivet on
one edge into a notch on the other.
The result looks something like a
small satellite dish. When not in use,
the horn folds into thirds and is held
under a clip inside the lid.

When in use, the center of the horn
is attached to the needle by trapping
it between two 1-inch aluminum
dishes. The lower dish is permanently
attached to the needle. The upper
dish is removable and screws down
into the lower one with the horn in
between.

I think the tone of the Polly is the
best of the portables. The small metal
horns can sound tinny. The larger,
softer horn produces a more pleasant
tone with plenty of volume.

One more nicety of the Polly is that
it has two built-in needle bins. They

28 MECHANICAL MUSIC January/February 2021

The Polly Portable Phonograph uses a stiff piece of paper as a horn. When assembled, it looks a bit like a satellite dish.

The Polly Portable Phonograph’s needle is connected directly to the horn.

January/February 2021 MECHANICAL MUSIC 29

are automatically revealed when the
horn’s support arm is swung out for
use and are closed when the arm is
put away.

The operating instructions are
printed on a large cardboard disk that
fits on the turntable. The front is in
English. On the back (in tiny print)
are the same instructions in French,
German, Italian, and Spanish.

Finally

This concludes my short introduction
into the world of portable
phonographs. I hope you find them
as interesting as I do. There are many
other models out there, some of
which I hope to own someday. The
good news is they are not too hard
to find. As I write this there are three
Mikiphones, four Kameraphones, and
six Exceldas on eBay.

If you have any questions, or even
better, if you have any additional information
about these or other portables
you can contact me at: r_swaney@

msn.com.

The Polly Portable Phonograph case can carry up to five records along with the
player itself. Note the foldable paper horn neatly clipped into the case.

30 MECHANICAL MUSIC January/February 2021

The Hunt

Story and Photo By James Kracht

Buying a very special music box

I now own 45 music boxes. Each
one of them has its own history and
special role in my collection. Reliving
and remembering how each of them
came into my possession is part of the
joy and uplifting mood that I get when
I admire and listen to them.

A day that will long be remembered
in my music box collecting journey is
Oct. 20, 2018. The night before I had
flown into the Westchester County
Airport, near White Plains, NY, to meet
a long-time friend from whom I had
wangled an invitation to stay in his
Connecticut home and visit with him
and his family. It was wonderful to see
everyone again, and to get to know
the kids who were still younger than 6
years old but growing fast. I sincerely
enjoyed being in their magnificent
home.

On the morning of Oct. 20, my
friend Sharad, his wife Katherine and I
boarded a train to take us from Darien,
CT, into New York City. I had forgotten
how big the city’s train stations are and
was so glad that I had Katherine and
Sharad with me. We hailed a cab for the
Manhattan apartment of Charles and
Beatrice Blaisdell, the owners of the
music box I hoped I was destined to
purchase. The doorman directed us to
a different apartment number than the
one I had been given, but with nerves
on edge and trepidation we headed up
to the Blaisdells’ apartment. To say
101-year-old Charles Blaisdell and his
wife were charming is an understatement.
They could not have been more
welcoming and delightful. They were

Column Graphic by Mary Clegg
The author’s mahogany-encased Mermod Frêres Interchangeable Ideal Sublime
Harmonie Piccolo music box.

A closeup of the silver “highest award” plaque from the 1893 Columbian Exposition.

January/February 2021 MECHANICAL MUSIC 31

A view of the cylinder and combs with the glass cover raised shows the immaculate condition of this music box.

so gracious, witty and kind.

After introductions, we approached
the music box sitting in the dining
portion of their apartment and I was
immediately impressed to see the
beautiful carved front of this mahogany
encased music box.

The music box in question was
a Mermod Frêres interchangeable
tabletop music box, an Ideal Sublime
Harmonie Piccolo, serial No. 65948
with four nickel-plated 18.75-inch,
6-air cylinders. Of note, this music box
bears a plaque inside the lid denoting
that it was a top prize winner in the
Columbian Exposition of the 1893
World’s Fair in Chicago, IL.

Turning it on, I was immediately
spellbound and in love. At the time,
my collection consisted of 22 music
boxes, but I owned nothing that
compared to this. It was outstanding

and truly superb. You have to hear
and feel a Mermod Frêres to know the
solid character and quality that make
these music boxes so impressive. I
believe the first song it played that
morning was “The wedding March.” It
was truly beautiful.

Even before I had left for Manhattan,
I knew I badly wanted this music
box. It was unique with the top-prize
plaque and it was beautiful inside and
out. It had been meticulously cared
for. I also learned that it had been
purchased from the Anheuser-Busch
Estate 25 or 30 years earlier.

The Blaisdells and I were $1,000
dollars apart in price when I arrived
at their apartment, and we quickly
agreed to split the difference, and then
the music box was mine. I was so very
excited. Today, the fact that I had the
chance to meet the very special people

that I bought the music box from just
adds to the delight of listening to the
music box play. I think they were the
most delightful people you would ever
want to meet.

I chuckle, however, imagining what
must they have thought of me at the
time. I stood there in their Manhattan
apartment peeling off hundred dollar
bill after hundred dollar bill to pay
them for their prized music box. I
brought cash because I figured they
didn’t know me and they might be
wary of taking a check from a stranger.
Plus, I certainly didn’t want someone
else to come along and buy this music
box out from under me with a cash
offer before my check could clear.

All four cylinders that came with
this music box are incredible, and I
love them. The box that plays them
inspires me with its beauty and sound.

32 MECHANICAL MUSIC January/February 2021

When I read the article recently in
Mechanical Music written by Southeast
Chapter member Jamie Brewer
who told his story of recently acquiring
two very special cylinders for the same
model Mermod Frêres I contacted him
for more information. Jamie sent me
a copy of the program of one of the
cylinders, playing Beethoven’s Ninth
Symphony. The program is so unique
and so special. It makes me love my
Mermod Frêres even more. I was so
excited by it that I sent a copy of the
music to Beatrice Blaisdell and she
called me back to tell me how much
she truly loved it.

Though lacking the original tune
card and the matching table that it is
pictured with on Page 51 of Q. David
Bowers’ Encyclopedia of Automatic
Musical Instruments, I do now have
a hand-written copy of all of the
tunes on my four and Jamie’s two
cylinders. I am now in the process of
having a correctly designed tune card
produced.

I will have the tune card put into
a leather folder, because the plaque
showing the Columbian Exposition
World’s Fair top prize status occupies
the inside of the music box lid.

Suffice it to say, I am both honored
and blessed to have this music box as
a premiere music box in my collection.

A closeup of the crank motor, gears and play speed regulator. Note the patent label
listing the date and location of manufacture that is attached to the bedplate.

What is even nicer though, is that
Charles Blaisdell understood and
appreciated my admiration and love of
his music box before he passed away
at 102. As much as I love it though, I
am even more fortunate to have met
the Blaisdells and brought them into
my life. Charles’ memory will live on
forever, and I cherish my wonderful

ongoing friendship with his beautiful
wife Beatrice.

Thank you Charles and Beatrice for
making it possible to have both you
and your music box in my life. Thank
you also to Reg Smith, my Georgia
restorer, who introduced me to the
Blaisdells and made this all possible.

Seeking your stories for ….

Did you once spend time finding the perfect musical
antique to round out your collection? What was it? How
did you find it? Was it in ruins, or in perfect condition?

Was there a time you randomly ran across a unique
instrument then found a way to acquire it and restore it
so that you might display it and tell the story to all who
visit your home?

Answer these questions and you will have the perfect
story for “The Hunt” column in Mechanical Music.

Every mechanical music instrument has a story
behind it and the readers of Mechanical Music love to
read them all.

Editing help is available if you have a story, but
you are not sure how to organize it or present it. The
important thing is to get it down and pass it on for the
enjoyment of others.

We look forward to hearing from you.

The Hunt

Email your story to editor Russell Kasselman at
editor@mbsi.org or mail a copy to:

MBSI Editorial Offices
130 Coral Court
Pismo Beach, CA 93449

January/February 2021 MECHANICAL MUSIC 33

Farny Wurlitzer Speaks to the
American Theatre Organ Society

(Editor’s Note: The following article is reprinted by permission
of The American Theatre Organ Society (ATOS). It was
originally printed in two parts, in the March/April 2012 and
May/June 2012 issues of Theatre Organ, the journal of ATOS.
We will also print it in two parts. Part 1 begins below.

This article came to the attention of MBSI through
the efforts of Gary Rasmussen and Bill Griess who
received rough copies of the speech from various
sources in their respective orbits. Gary and
Bill offered these rough copies to MBSI and
other organizations which led to the collab

oration with ATOS via their president,
Dave Calendine, and journal editor, Mike
Bryant. Enjoy!)

BY Don Feely

The year was 1964 and the ATOE
(American Theatre Organ Enthusiasts; forerunner
to the ATOS) was holding the national
convention in Buffalo, New York. A record
256 members registered for the convention and
on July 6 attendees were treated to a trip to the
Wurlitzer factory in North Tonawanda as guests
of Mr. Farny R. Wurlitzer. Following a concert by
Marvin Korinke on the new Wurlitzer 4000 organ,
Mr. Wurlitzer gave a speech to the crowd, sharing his
recollections of the formative years of the Unit Orchestra.
His remarks included personal stories about Robert
Hope-Jones, memories of significant installations, and
other company anecdotes. Invitations had been sent
to all members of the ATOE, as well as other
prominent guests. Following the formal
presentation, a buffet luncheon
was served to all the attendees,
compliments of the Wurlitzer

Company.

The North Tonawanda
plant was a fitting site for
Mr. Wurlitzer’s recollections

— it was his leadership
there that guided Wurlitzer
through the manufacture
of band organs, to photo
players, to theatre organs,
to jukeboxes, and finally
electronic organs. While
we may wish to believe
that it was his undying
34 MECHANICAL MUSIC January/February 2021

passion for the Unit Orchestra that
lead to its tremendous success in
theatres, in reality it was his manufacturing
and business savvy that allowed
the Wurlitzer company to excel in
many different ventures.

Repeatedly, the business would
pick up the pieces of some defunct
company, make some modifications
on the idea, and then market it with
a great deal of panache. In 1908
Wurlitzer bought the DeKleist Musical
Instrument Manufacturing Company
(and factory) in North Tonawanda,
continuing their production of automatic
musical instruments: player
pianos, band organs, and pianorchestras.
Farny, the youngest of Rudolph
Wurlitzer’s three sons, was sent in
1909 to take over operations at the
plant. He then oversaw the hiring of
Robert Hope-Jones in 1910 to direct
the organ department, in addition to
purchasing the assets of the bankrupt
Hope-Jones Organ Company.

By 1933, the advent of talking
pictures coupled with the Great
Depression had almost put the
Wurlitzer Company out of business.
In 1928 Wurlitzer’s shares sold at
$119 a share. In 1933 the price was

$10 a share and the company was
almost $5 million in debt. At great
risk, Farny gambled and bought the
Simplex Manufacturing Company
from Homer Capehart, the developer
of a record changing system called the
Multi-Selector. Under Farny’s leadership,
Capehart became Wurlitzer’s
general manager while gifted designer
Paul Fuller created the iconic styles
that made Wurlitzer the best-selling

jukebox manufacturer in the world.

Farny served as president of the
company from 1932 until 1941, and
continued on the Board of Directors
until his death in 1972. He had been a
friend of the ATOE since its inception
and was named an Honorary Member
at the 1960 annual meeting. In 1964 he
was, at 82 years old, the only surviving
son of Rudolph Wurlitzer and still
Chairman of the Board. His speech to

Farney Wurlitzer (sic) was named an Honorary Member of ATOE at the second
annual convention in 1960

Mr. Wurlitzer accepts a plaque of appreciation from W. “Tiny”
James, ATOE President

Mr. Wurlitzer signs an autograph for a young well-wisher
following the program

January/February 2021 MECHANICAL MUSIC 35

the convention attendees contained
many vibrant memories from the Unit
Orchestra era of manufacturing.

(ATOS Editor’s note: The Journal
is grateful to Don Thompson for
providing this rare recording for
transcription. It was given to him
many years ago by W. “Tiny” James,
former ATOE president.)

The Speech

ATOE President-elect, Carl Norvell:
I would like to express the sincere
thanks of all the members of ATOE for
this wonderful concert made possible
by the generosity of the Wurlitzer
company. It is now my pleasure and
honor to introduce a gentleman who
is not only the most gracious host,
but who is primarily responsible
for the development of the musical
instrument to which this organization
is dedicated—the theatre organ. It
is my pleasure to present Mr. Farny
Wurlitzer, Chairman of the Board of
Directors of the Wurlitzer Company,
who will describe some of his early
experiences and association of the
bygone years.

Niagara-Frontier Chapter President,
Grant Whitcomb: Mr. Wurlitzer, to mark
this most special occasion, the Niagara
Frontier Chapter and the ATOE have
prepared this plaque to honor you and
the theatre organ which we would like
to present to you at this time, and I’m
going to ask Tiny James to read the
inscription.

ATOE President, Tiny James: This
reads: “With sincere admiration and
respect, the American Association of
Theatre Organ Enthusiasts take great
pleasure in presenting this plaque to
our host, Mr. Farny R. Wurlitzer, on
the occasion of a luncheon attended
by him at a meeting of the National
Convention, North Tonawanda, July
6th 1964. Farny Wurlitzer, in creating
that glorious instrument which we all
know and love, and which we choose
to call the theatre organ, has already
assured both he and his company a
permanent place in the musical history
of America. It is impossible to vision
the countless hours of enjoyment, the
flights into fantasy, the innumerable

day dreams, as well as plain ordinary
every-day enthusiasm, that has been
engendered in the minds of the
millions who have ever listened to his
mighty Wurlitzer. It is therefore, with
great pleasure that we present Mr.
Farny Wurlitzer with this small token
as a measure of the esteem in which
he is held by all members of this organization.
Signed by myself and Grant
Whitcomb, representing the Niagara
Frontier Chapter.”

Mr. Wurlitzer:

You’re all far too kind to me. I

Writer Ben Hall congratulates Mr. Wurlitzer following his remarks.

appreciate this very, very much and
you may be sure that it will have a
place in my office where I can see it
daily. I appreciate the kindness that all
of you have shown.

This is really a red letter day for me
because it brings back many happy
memories of the past. I go back to
January 1909 when we purchased the
business from the DeKleist Musical
Instrument Manufacturing Company,
and I was chosen to come up here to
take charge of the business. I was 26
at that time. I feel, however, you will
be interested in having a brief history

36 MECHANICAL MUSIC January/February 2021

After the program, from left: Roy Waltemade, Harold Schwartz, Farny Wurlitzer,
Richard Simonton, A. Donald Arsem, Louis Hollingsworth, Gaylord Carter

of what brought us into the theatre
organ business.

The family traces its history back
to the first Wurlitzer in 1596—Heinrich
Wurlitzer. And in 1659 the first
Wurlitzer was born that made a
musical instrument, and it is unusual
perhaps, but in every generation
that succeeded him there was either
a maker or a dealer in musical
instruments. My grandfather dealt
in musical instruments in the small
village of Schöneck, Saxony, where
my father was born in 1831, and the
musical instrument business at that
time was a home industry to a large
extent. And my grandfather bought
the musical instruments from the
peasants, who made them largely in
the winter season when they weren’t
busy in their fields, and then he resold
them to jobbers and to exporters, and
they eventually came to the United
States.

My father, of course, had experience
in this business and he hoped
to become a partner in his father’s
business. He was the eldest son but
his father decided that that was not
the arrangement he had in mind. He
wanted to keep the business for the
youngest son who was a child at that
time. So my father decided to come to
America. He came to the United States
in 1853. It is a coincidence that in that
same year my mother crossed the

ocean. She was French, my father was
German. My father imported the first
musical instruments from his father in
1856 and it is from that date on that
our business started.

When we were musical instrument
dealers in Cincinnati, Ohio, and Mr.
DeKleist, who had been brought over
here by the merry-go-round manufacturers—
there were three of them in
North Tonawanda at that time from
England—to build merry-go-round
organs for them because the duty
had been increased and they decided
it was necessary to manufacture the
instruments here. So Mr. DeKleist,
with one or two helpers, came over
from England. He made merry-goround
organs for the merry-go-round
manufacturers, but the business got
a little slack, and he decided to see
whether he couldn’t get some additional
business by making trumpets
for the U.S. Army. So he came down
to see my elder brother who was 12
years older than I am, and we did buy
trumpets from him. You see, merrygo-
round organs had brass trumpets
so this was just a short step to making
the instruments such as used in the
army. DeKleist said “Couldn’t you sell
some merry-go-round organs?” Well
I said “Well we might sell one or two
a year, but there’s very little demand
for them, but if you would make a
coin-operated piano for us we could

sell a lot of them.” At that time the
merry-go-round organs that DeKleist
made had wooden cylinders. It had
usually 10 tunes on it and by turning
a lever on the side you could choose
any one of the ten. So he made a
piano the same way. There was a long
wooden cylinder with 10 tunes on
it and when the model was finished
my brother came up to look at it and
after a number of changes, why, he
decided it was satisfactory and he
ordered 200 of them. Mr. DeKleist
didn’t have the funds at that time so
he went to the bank and borrowed
money on the strength of the order.
Well, that business developed and Mr.
DeKleist became prosperous and we
had the sole selling rights to all of the
instruments.

Paper music rolls followed very
shortly after that and the wooden
cylinders that were used in the tonophones
were discontinued. There
were many types of coin-operated
musical instruments, and there was an
era there where the skating rinks were
very popular and the band organs, as
we called them also, were useful, and
many of them were sold and we sold
them to skating rinks at that time.

The moving picture theatres had not
begun. There were nickelodeons, and
for those we had developed an instrument—
various models of them—with
piano, and the smaller ones with one
box on one side, the larger ones with
two, and they had two music rolls.
The one would be rewinding while
the other one was playing and that
way the music could accompany the
picture in the nickelodeon. Motion
pictures were a very short reel, and
you paid a nickel or a dime to go in
to see the show. So that business was
growing and we felt that there was
an opportunity to build instruments
for theatres. We weren’t thinking of
motion picture theatres because the
real motion picture theatre didn’t
exist and we thought of replacing the
orchestras.

And we heard of Robert Hope-
Jones, and he had some financial
difficulty and his company failed in
Elmira, New York. He had a distinguished
lot of stockholders in it.
Mark Twain, Mr. Vail—President of

January/February 2021 MECHANICAL MUSIC 37

the American Telephone Association,
and quite a few others. But Robert
Hope-Jones, whom we investigated
quite thoroughly before we entered
into business relations with him, had
been a continuous failure with everyone
that he had been associated with.
He first began remodeling an organ
in his own church at Birkenhead,
England. He electrified it, and that
was something very new. He brought
the console out of the church and put
it on the outside and then played the
organ on the inside of the church,
which created quite an impression on
the church world in England. He lost
his own money in building organs. He
lost that of his wife, who was a very
fine woman, and then he was backed
by various people, one of them I think,
to the extent of $250,000.

But Hope-Jones was an inventor.
He had a brilliant mind. He was very
persuasive—an unusual looking
man. He had a most unusual crop of
hair. It was pure white and I’ve never
seen one like it before nor since. His
hair stood up straight, and he really
enjoyed walking down Fifth Avenue
or Broadway, holding his hat in his
hand, and everybody turned to look
at him because he was so unusual!
But every time he finished an organ
it wasn’t good enough. He always had
in mind building a better one the next
time, and that was why he lost money,
because every time he built an organ
it was different. He didn’t duplicate
anything. He was with several large
firms in this country—Skinner, and
Austin—and then he formed his own
company in Elmira, which was a
failure.

We knew of all these failures, knew
that it had been continuous, and
perhaps we were conceited enough
to think that we knew how to make
money with Hope-Jones and be a
success. Hope-Jones came up to see
us and he gave us a demonstration
on the organ in St. Paul’s Episcopal
Cathedral in Buffalo, and tried to
interest us in taking over his company
which was in receivership. I recall
that demonstration very well. My
two brothers were there. I was there.
And I was very, very impressed. I’d
never heard an organ sound like that

Robert Hope-Jones in 1910.

before. It was beautiful. While he was
at Elmira he built the Ocean Grove
organ which really was an outstanding
instrument, and is still in use today. We
then went down to Ocean Grove and
heard that organ, which was marvelous.
We entered into a contract with
him in April 1910, and we closed the
deal with the receiver of the company
in May 1910.

Our thinking in the early days when
we took the business over was the
church field, which he had been working
with largely, hotels and theatres.
We didn’t realize that the large movie
theatres were coming, and he had a
contract with the Hotel Statler, which
is now the Hotel Buffalo, and of
course, with the company having gone
into receivership, it was necessary to
renew that contract, and I went down
to see Mr. Statler with Mr. Hope-Jones
and we did get the contract. It was a
most peculiar installation. Mr. Statler
had just built an addition to his hotel
and he had a large banquet room in

the new addition, that was on the
second floor. His grill room, really the
dining room that was used mostly by
him. The problem was that he wanted
the music to be heard both in the
banquet room on the second floor, and
to come through to the dining room
on the ground floor, which had a glass
domed roof over it. So we installed
the organ in two bedrooms that were
there, and a peculiar result occurred.
When we played full organ it was
softer than when we played individual
stops! We realized then that we were
just encountering what is well known
in physics. The sound waves were
melting together. Although this was a
narrow hall that we had the tone come
out into, the tone chambers were on
either side, we built a thin wall—I
don’t think it was over an inch and a
half thick—the full length of the hall.
From then on the results were fine,
because the sound waves couldn’t
mingle any more. Later on when Mr.
Statler built his new hotel, we sold

38 MECHANICAL MUSIC January/February 2021

The Statler Hotel Dining Room; the organ was installed in 1911.

The Statler Hotel in Buffalo New York, home to the second organ built by Hope-
Jones and Wurlitzer. No opus number was assigned to this instrument

him two organs. One for the main
dining room and one for the ballroom.

We tried many things to develop
the business. We were new at it. This
was a new field. No-one had ever
built organs for theatres before. We
got an order from the Court Theatre
in New York, and also from the Court
Theatre in Chicago, and installed
those replacing the orchestras. Just at
that particular time there had been a
years’ strike of the musicians in New
York, and that made it easier for us to
enter the theatre field. They made it
possible.

Well one of our early installations
was in a theatre that most of you
have never heard of—the Century
Theatre on Central Park West. It was
built by a group of very wealthy men
because they wanted to do something
outstanding for the theatre world and
they only had spectacular shows. The
one that was on, I remember quite
distinctly, when we installed our
organ without expense to the theatre,
was called The Daughter of the Gods.
Oscar Hammerstein had written the
music for it and he was there. So
we put this fairly large instrument
in there and it was demonstrated. It
wasn’t long after that that the Criterion
Theatre (the name was changed
to the Vitagraph Theatre) put on the
first long film show in the history of
moving pictures. It lasted an hour, and
I believe it was called America. Our
organ was the only music that was
used and that was a really historical
event in motion picture history.

I recall when we used the Diaphone
pipes which most of you know were
used to imitate thunder, and did, the
city authorities in New York forbade
the use of them because they were
afraid the plaster ceiling would come
down, which it might have! This,
of course, was not a movie house
built for the purpose. It was an old
theatre changed over, on Forty-third
and Broadway. That was the first and
earliest installation of an organ where
a long film was used.

But to go back a little bit, Hope-
Jones obtained some contracts for
organs for churches, and he’d come to
me and say “You know, this is really
an important installation, but if we

January/February 2021 MECHANICAL MUSIC 39

The Century Theatre auditorium.

The Century Theatre on Central Park West. Opus 4 was
installed in 1912.

could just add this stop and that stop to it, it would make
it perfect and it would mean so much to us in getting other
contracts.” Well we were willing to go along with things
like that and we did, but at the end of two years we had lost
$200,000 in the Hope-Jones Organ Department. Now he
was a very fine man in many, many respects. A real inventor
and a gifted man. He was very persuasive. He could
talk you into believing that black was white, and I think he
succeeded sometimes!

Well, at the end of this period of time we decided that the
only way we could make a success of the business, was to
have Hope-Jones stay out of the factory and have nothing
to do with the actual manufacturing operations. And we
talked to him and also wrote him a letter, and told him that
he no longer had permission to come into the plant, that we
would continue to pay him, just as the contract provided
for, and he had a percentage of any sales price on all the
organs that we sold. And we told him that as soon as the
business was profitable, that we would then establish an
experimental shop for him where he could do the experimental
work, but would not interfere with the current work
going through, because you just cannot manufacture and
make every instrument different than the last one that you
built. And that unfortunately, with his inventive mind, was
the only way that he could manage it. So that discouraged
Hope-Jones, that he could no longer come into the plant. It
discouraged him that he no longer was in the public eye as
much as he had been before, and as many of you know he
committed suicide on September 13th, 1914.

It was a great pity. Had he believed in us, he would have
been well compensated because a little later on the business
grew prosperous. His wife was, in my opinion, a very
wonderful woman. Very kind, and she did so much for all of
the employees that she had known for years. Most of these
people had come over from England with Hope-Jones. We
had many, many problems, many serious problems in those
early days because the loss that we had was a big one for
us. But throughout it all we never lost faith in what the
Hope-Jones organ was, and what he had done. We believed

The Vitagraph (formerly the Criterion) Theatre received Opus
33 in 1914. (Opus 33 was originally Opus 4, which had been
repossessed and enlarged by two ranks).

in his work, and we believed that we could be a success in
it, and we were.

(Editor’s note: This concludes Part 1, look for Part 2 in
the next issue.)

40 MECHANICAL MUSIC January/February 2021

The Hooghuys

A legacy of wonderful instruments

By Robert F. Penna, Ph.D.

The distinctive sound of a street,
fairground or dance hall organ,
whether activated by a barrel, paper
roll or cardboard book, is music to
my ears. Whether performing music
perfectly or even slightly out-of-tune,
there is something magical to me
about the sound. Of the many companies
that manufactured organs in
various parts of the world only a few
gained reputations for outstanding
performance and ended up making
music machines that became eagerly
sought by collectors. The Hooghuys
family can count themselves among
that short list.

Family Background

The Hooghuys family significantly
impacted the field of automatic music
for nearly a century and a half after
Louis Francois Hooghuys began the
manufacture of barrel organs in Grammont,
Belgium, in 1880.1 Prior to that,
the Hooghuys family exerted a much
smaller influence on the field of music
as their reputation was centered
around the manufacture of church
organs. The first documented entry
into the music business was in 1806
when Gerrit Simon Hooghuys placed
an advertisement in a paper in Bruges,
Belgium, having just moved from his
home in Middelburg, Netherlands.2
The ad read:

GERARDUS HOOGHUYS, Organ
builder, has the honor to inform the
public that he has come to live in this

1. Penna, Robert & Penna, Angela. “A
Chronological History of the Automatic Musical
Instrument – Part I,” Musical Box Society
International Journal, MBSI, Winter 1986.
2. Isebaert, Bjorn. “Part 1: The Start,”
Hooghuys Organ Pages, updated on Aug.
25, 2006 http://www.hooghuys.com/english/
history/history.htm
town Brugge in the Vlaemingstreet
near the Vlaemingbridge; he charges
himself with the building of new
Organs, and the repair of old ones, all
at moderate prices.

Designing and building church
organs is a very specialized field.
No one knows where Gerrit Simon
Hooghuys learned his trade. Likely,
it was from his father or other male
relative, as occupations and apprenticeships
were closely held by families
and passed down from fathers to sons.
This was the case for Simon Gerard
(1780-1853), the eldest son of Gerrit,
and also Louis Benoit (1822-1885),
Gerrit’s third son. Both followed their
father into the family business. The
church organs built by the Hooghuys
were held in high esteem, especially
those designed and built by Louis
Benoit.

According to Bjorn Isebaert,
who has assembled a history of the
Hooghuys, Louis Benoit Hooghuys
was “the greatest church organ
builder of this family. By 1854 his
reputation as an organ builder was
well established. His work shows both
great craftsmanship and knowledge
His organ building skills rested upon
the gradual simplification of the late
Baroque organ to an early Romantic
instrument. Examination on the
dispositions of his instruments indicates
that for Louis Benoit Hooghuys,
the merge of soft timbre registers was
more important than the contrast
between loud expressive ones.”3

Louis Benoit Hooghuys’ younger
brother, Francois Bernard (18301888),
became his assistant in this
family business. Later Francois
Bernard moved to Geraardsbergen,

3. Isebaert, Bjorn. “Part 1: The Start,”
Hooghuys Organ Pages, updated on Aug.
25, 2006 http://www.hooghuys.com/english/
history/history.htm
Louis Benoit Hooghuys.

Belgium, where he worked in the
church organ works of Charles
Anneessens et Fils with his son, Louis
Francois (1856-1924).4

Organs manufactured by the
Anneessen firm were highly regarded
and can be found in England,
Scotland, Ireland, Canada, the Netherlands,
Spain and Portugal. Two of
the most famous examples include
the organ at Bartholomew Church in
Geraardsbergen and the Mount Zion
Methodist Heritage Chapel in Halifax,
Nova Scotia, Canada.5 It is likely that
Louis Francios gained invaluable
experience while working there.

Hooghuys and Player Instruments

It was 1880 when Louis Francois
decided to switch from making

4.. Isebaert, Bjorn. “Part 2: From Church
to Barrel Organ,” Hooghuys Organ Pages,
updated on Aug. 25, 2006, http://www.
hooghuys.com/english/history/history.htm

5. “Organ Details: Mount Zion Anneessens
Organ,” Mount Zion Methodist Heritage
Chapel, Jan. 9, 2019, http://www.mountzionhalifax.
org.uk/Organ.php
January/February 2021 MECHANICAL MUSIC 41

1212
Photograph of the workers at the Hooghuys factory with several members of the
Hooghuys family. Family members are identified as: 1-Edouard Joseph; 2-Charles
Francois; 3-Edgard Georges; 4-Franciscus Louis.

The red arrow indicates the location of Manufacture d’Orgues Mecaniques on Place
de la Station, Grammont, Belgium.

church organs to mechanical barrel
organs. Even today, the organs that
came out of his workshop declare the
skill of their maker with their clear
refined sound and rather conservative
construction. Located in Geraardsbergen
(Grammont), the firm was called
Manufacture d’Orgues Mecaniques
Louis Hooghuys. It was first located
on Mill Street, but two years later it
was moved to larger quarters at the
Place de la Station.6

6. Coade, George. “Ghysels Collection
Display in Brussels, Belgium, – L’Alexandre
Fair Organ” Mechanical Music, MBSI, March/
April 2009
34

Most of the records of the company
were destroyed during World War I so
it cannot be ascertained just how many
barrel organs were built in the factory,
but it has been determined that, at
one time, as many as 15 workers were
employed there. Several of these
employees included members of the
Hooghuys family. At first, Hooghuys
exclusively built barrel organs, but
around 1900 the factory converted
a barrel organ to a book mechanism
while still retaining its ability to play
a barrel. From that time on, Hooghuys
built different types of organs from
small fair organs to large dance hall

organs. Not only did the factory make
new organs, but they also repaired any
number of competitor instruments.7

As there was no mass production,
each organ seemed to be made to the
exact specifications of the client who
ordered it. Parts were handmade and
few pieces were interchangeable.
Critics believe the quality of the
Hooghuys products started to deteriorate
after the end of the war (1918).
The company sold some gramophones
and records several years before the
war, but increased focus on that
market after 1918 to supplement their
income as organ sales declined. Eventually,
family infighting between Louis
Francois’ two eldest sons led to the
dissolution of the firm in 1924. Louis
Francois died the same year.8

After the death of Louis Francois,
his two sons went their separate ways.
Louis Francois’s younger son, Edmond
Francois (1882-1963), considered the
more talented of the two, continued
to restore and tune organs until his
death. The older son, Charles Francois
(1878-1951), bought half of the company’s
factory building and continued
to work on the organs begun by his
father. In the former factory, he placed
a café for the Zeeberg brewery in
which he installed a Hooghuys dance
organ (LH620) which was later sold
in 1931. Although he continued some
activities, it seems he mostly left the
profession around 1939. His son,
Romain Charles (1901-1989), developed
a fine reputation for creating
musical arrangements for organ books
and restored several organs (LH605 &
LH552). Romain Charles’s son, Marc
Herwig Hooghuys (1945-), remains in
the family trade and can be found still
restoring Hooghuys organs.

There are three categories of
Hooghuys organs – street organs,
fairground organs and dancehall
organs. Hooghuys barrel mechanisms
can be found on all size instruments.

7. Isebaert, Bjorn. “Part 2: From Church
to Barrel Organ,” Hooghuys Organ Pages,
updated on Aug. 25, 2006 http://www.
hooghuys.com/english/history/history.htm
8. Isebaert, Bjorn. “Part 3: Nothing Lasts
Forever,” Hooghuys Organ Pages, updated
on Jul. 13, 2012 http://www.hooghuys.com/
english/history/history3.htm
42 MECHANICAL MUSIC January/February 2021

An example of a Hooghuys 92-key
dance organ

The use of cardboard books and paper
rolls coming in after 1900. According
to Isebaert and Marc Hooghuys, the
Hooghuys instruments are unique
for two special reasons. Firstly, there
is no air pressure in the keyframe
itself due to their special pneumatic
systems developed by Louis Francois.
The system is a combination of the
French “keyed” system (as used
by Gavioli and Limonaire) and the
German keyless one where the air
is allowed to escape into the atmosphere
through the openings in the
cardboard books or paper rolls. This
special pneumatic system is why their
organs are able to repeat very rapidly.
Secondly, the Hooghuys organs have a
unique system that causes the keys of
the keyframe to set down at the end
of an organ book. The system is activated
by a separate hole in the book to

A cardboard book label for music produced by Louis Hooghuys

January/February 2021 MECHANICAL MUSIC 43

A small Hooghuys barrel organ.

A keyframe for reading books on a Hooghuys dance organ.

exhaust the excess pressure.9

In the early 1900s, Hooghuys experimented with dulcimer-
style stringed harps fitted into the upper facades of his
dance organs. However, renters soon found that problems
with tuning far outweighed the novelty-value of the register.
It was a fun idea and musically added to the instrument
a delightful contrast in tone-color to the pipe ranks. But
the device was largely impractical on a machine which
spent much time being hauled between events. Piano-orchestrions
playing in permanent installations had no such
problems.10

Isebaert and Hooghuys state the reason “Hooghuys
organs are technically and musically almost perfect can
be ascribed to the fact that Louis Hooghuys had a broad
musical formation and also a very long musical tradition…
Nevertheless, one shortcoming should be mentioned —
Hooghuys organs, in their original condition, usually only
had 8 basses (instead of the normal 12). Since Louis was a
very conservative man, he never wanted to change anything
about this. Remember the fact that the firm started with
cylinder organs, where 8 basses were normal.”11

A word on the facades found on Hooghuys organs. Illustrations
indicate that large instruments with façades that
were typical of the era. The style and shapes of the carvings
were similar to those of other manufacturers. Some
Hooghuys organs even carried life-sized figures adorning
their fronts. Colorful, ornate and sometimes mechanical,
they helped to entice and entertain the audience.

Details on individual organs and their present whereabouts
can be found on websites developed by Bjorn
Isebaert which are referred to in the footnotes of this article.
Much of the materials and photographs were supplied
with his gracious consent.

9. Isebaert, Bjorn and Hooghuys, Marc. “Hooghuys – The History
of the Family and of the Company,” Carousel Organ, Carousel Organ
Association of America, Issue 6, January 2001.
10. Seagrave, Shane. “Medal Winner Marenghi,” Mechanical Music,
MBSI, March/April 2011
11. Isebaert, Bjorn and Hooghuys, Marc. “Hooghuys – The History
of the Family and of the Company,” Carousel Organ, Carousel Organ
Association of America, Issue 6, January 2001.
Björn Isebaert, Bill Nunn, Ted Bowman, Marc Hooghuys and
Boz Oram gather together in front of a large Hooghuys organ
(LH553) in 2003. It was the organ’s dedication at Grammont,
Belgium. (Photo courtesy Carousel Organ Association of
America, originally printed in the Carousel Organ, Issue No.
32, July, 2007, Page 6)

44 MECHANICAL MUSIC January/February 2021

Writer’s guidelines for Mechanical Music

The MBSI Publications Committee
wants to maintain and improve the
quality of its magazines. The following
guidelines are designed to help you in
preparing your articles for publication.

Title – Please try to include words
which will allow your article to be
categorized and filed in an index of
articles. You may include a subtitle
which may further clarify the title.

Outline – Please organize your
article in a chronological, logical
format. Avoid lengthy paragraphs and
sentences.

Punctuation – In most instances,
quotation marks are typed after
periods and commas. “This example
has the proper format.” Be consistent
with capitalization, numerals, names,
etc. The Associated Press Stylebook
is used as a basic reference tool for
questions of consistency. Decimal
points should be preceded by a 0 if
they are only fractional. Example: 0.25
is correct. The editor and members
of the Publications Committee will
provide proof reading, which is
easier and more accurate if there is
consistency.

Footnotes and Bibliography –
Provide footnotes and a bibliography
where appropriate. Also provide
reference websites and a list of further
reading suggestions if available. When
quoting materials, note the numeric
footnote in the text.

Photographs – Provide digital
photos whenever possible. Try to
eliminate background clutter when
taking pictures. Be sure there is
enough light or a good flash. Take
care to avoid the flash reflection on
the instruments. Shut off the date and
time recorder on your camera. Set the
camera to take photos with the highest
resolution possible. Send in the
high-resolution photos. Do not reduce
the size for the purposes of email,
instead send several emails with a few
photos in each email. Printed photos

are acceptable but not recommended.

If photos correspond to the text to
illustrate a procedure or particular
piece of a music box, please note this
in the photograph’s file name. For
example, if you refer to Figure 1 in the
text please title the photo Figure1.jpg
to ensure the correct image appears in
the correct position on the page. If you
are not able to alter the photograph’s
title, please provide captions for
photos that clearly identify them and
where they should be positioned in
the article if that is important to the
presentation of the material.

Article Text – If possible, please
submit the article in either Microsoft
Word format as a .doc attachment
or include it as text in an email. As a
last resort, a typed document can be
accepted via mail. Do not type in all
caps.

Review Process – All articles
are reviewed by the editor and the
Publications Committee chair and can
be referred to one or more members
of the Publications Committee or a
recognized expert to be checked for
technical and historical accuracy.
Even though the article is assumed to
be the author’s opinion, and thoughtful
opinions are encouraged to stimulate
discussion and more research, the
author may be asked to substantiate
his/her statements.

If describing the restoration of
an antique instrument and using
materials not originally used in the
manufacture of that instrument, the
author should explain why he/she
chose to use alternative materials.

No article should be written in such
a way that it can be construed as
commercial advertising for one’s own
products, goods, or services or those
of any other individual or company.

The panel may make suggestions
which will be noted and the article
returned to the author for his/her
response. This is standard procedure
for any technical and professional
publication. The goal of the review
process is to help make every article

as good as it can possibly be and to
contain as few errors as possible. In
no manner should this process be
construed as censorship. The author
will receive a proof of the typeset and
formatted article. It should be read
carefully. After the second proof, no
changes can be made. It is understood
that the author can withdraw the
article at any time prior to publication.

Mechanical Music is published six
times per year. Materials intended
for publication should be submitted
approximately 60 days prior to the
publication date for any issue. For
example, materials to be published in
the March/April issue of Mechanical
Music (March 1 delivery date) should
be submitted on or about January 1.

The article publishing schedule is
dependent on the review process and
other obligations that are time sensitive.
Although every effort is made to
publish articles within a few months
of submission, the date of publication
is dependent on the number of articles
in process, their length, and the review
process. The editor will make every
effort to keep the author informed
about the probable publication date.
Authors may contact the editor at any
time for an update.

Thank you for your contribution(s)
to Mechanical Music. Your efforts
are of great value to this generation
and future generations of mechanical
music enthusiasts.

Please send articles to: MBSI Editor

Russell Kasselman

Iron Dog Media

130 Coral Court

Pismo Beach, CA 93449

Email: editor@mbsi.org

Phone: (253) 228-1634

Copy this page and keep it handy,
then look at your collection. There
certainly must be a musical piece that
you found after either searching for
it for many years or through unusual
circumstances. It could be a subject
for our popular, “The Hunt” series.
We look forward to receiving many
stories in the coming months.

January/February 2021 MECHANICAL MUSIC 45

National Capital Chapter

Chapter Chair: Matt Jaro
Reporters: Donna and Gene Borrelli
Photographer: Paul Senger

Nov. 15, 2020, via Zoom

The Coronavirus pandemic
prevented the National Capital
Chapter of MBSI from holding any
business meetings since the December
2019 holiday party, but our first
attempt to hold a virtual meeting was
a resounding success. Ken Gordon
hosted the meeting and there were 28
people in attendance including one
new member and one guest. Since we
hadn’t met in nearly a year, this was
an opportunity for many members to
catch up on events of the past year.

Chapter activities have obviously
been curtailed, but we will hopefully
be able to have our annual demonstration
at the C&O Canal at Great Falls
Park in Maryland next May. In addition,
we are planning a demonstration/
program in Bowie, MD, next Fall if
conditions permit.

Following the business meeting,
Paul Senger played many of the instruments
in his collection. This was not as
straightforward as it sounds. In order
to get good sound quality from each
instrument he had to use some new
features recently added to Zoom as
well as adjust the microphone volume
for each box individually. The following
instruments were demonstrated:

• Seeburg KT with violin pipes
from 1913 and Dancing Girls on
Stained Glass. One of approximately
12 remaining. Plays G
rolls. It was last restored in 1973
and plays very well. He played
several selections from an Art
Reblitz roll.
• John Smith Organ 20 Organ that
he built in 2003
• Mr. Christmas disc box
Paul Senger discusses the case construction on the Seeburg KT.

The Seeburg KT with doors closed.

• Ullman Cylinder Music Box circa
1870-90
• Regina style 11 15½-inch disk box
from 1897. This early box has a
winding crank inside the box
• Wall Box for Seeburg KT
• Edison Standard Cylinder Phonograph
circa 1903
• Roller Organ circa 1900. Has
removable wooden cobs. Works
and sounds like an accordion
• Serinette organ circa 1790. Has
nine piccolo pipes and was once
used to train canaries
• A Biscuit Box with hidden music
box circa 1890
• Russian Mechanical Bird
Overall sound and picture quality
were excellent. Chapter President Matt
Jaro thanked Ken Gordon for hosting
and Paul for the demonstration.

Russian mechanical bird from the Marve
Freund estate.

Paul changes the tune on the serinette. The serinette mechanism with pinned
barrel, bellows, and keys to read barrel.

Paul shows the pipes on the serinette.
Paul explains the Gem roller organ
mechanism, which is similar to a reed in
an accordion.

The Gem roller organ featuring removable
cobs to change the tune.

Paul loads a cylinder onto the circa 1903
Edison Standard Phonograph.

The Biscuit Box showing the front and
bottom with key to wind the mechanism.

January/February 2021 MECHANICAL MUSIC 47

In Memoriam In Memoriam
Mary Pollock – 1927–2020

By Paul Senger

I am sad to announce the passing
of member Mary Pollock at age 93 on
Oct. 17, 2020.

Mary was always at the forefront
of MBSI and the Carousel Organ
Association of America (COAA). She
volunteered for everything and was
bus captain for many MBSI tours
including Rockville, MD, in 2011.
Mary’s bus was always the most fun.

We were on a bus tour one year
and supposed to eat our lunch on the
bus. We were ahead of schedule and
passing a park, so Mary had the driver
pull in. There was a family setting up
for a party in the pavilion, but Mary
convinced them to let us eat lunch
there since their party wasn’t till later.
It was a much better lunch

I was always amazed when Mary
would show up single handed with
her Wurlitzer 125 organ at the COAA
rallies. She must have been in her
early eighties then. It was always fun
to be with Mary. She was one of a kind,
strong and adventurous. You can see
from her obituary (www.shivelyfuner-
alhomes.com/obituary/Mary-Pollock)
she was a world traveler and great
sales person both as a Realtor and
in achievements in our mechanical
music organizations.

Mary was a Trustee of MBSI, a
Chairman of Mid-Am chapter, a founding
member of COAA and a member
of the Automated Music Instrument
Collectors Association (AMICA).

Mary raised her family as an Air
Force spouse establishing temporary
homes in California, Texas, Virginia,
Maryland, Ohio and in Libya, Turkey,
France and Germany.

Our condolences to her family. We
will always remember her.

Mary Pollock at 86 at the 2013 MBSI convention in Chicago dancing to the Bluz
Brothers Band.

Dave Calendine, Mary Pollock, and Robert Pollock (her youngest son) at the 2018
MBSI Annual Meeting.

48 MECHANICAL MUSIC January/February 2021

In Memoriam In Memoriam
Faye Simpson – 1955–2020

By Paul Senger

I am sad to announce the passing
of National Capital Chapter member
Deborah Faye Simpson, wife of
Richard Simpson on Oct. 14, 2020,
at the age of 66, after a long illness.
Faye and Richard were married 28
years and lived in Cochranville, PA.
Faye is survived by Richard, and by
two sisters, numerous nieces, and her
beloved Border Collie Sarah.

Faye worked at Conifer Health
Solutions and the condolences from
her co-workers reflect that she was
a sweet person and much loved. She
was also a religious person.

Faye and Richard joined MBSI
and the National Capital Chapter in
January 2017. She attended multiple
meetings and enjoyed our holiday
gatherings the most. Faye was just
learning about mechanical music and
starting to enjoy the instruments and
visiting with our members. She worked
on the 2019 MBSI Annual Meeting on
the decorations committee, setting up
meeting venues and distributing door
prizes. She was a friendly and quiet
person but always willing to help. We
will miss her very much.

Our condolences to Richard and
the family. Her obituary is online at
www.wildefuneralhome.com/content/
deborah-faye-simpson

Faye at the National Capital Chapter C&O Canal Demonstration in 2018.

In order for anything

A Lasting Legacy

once alive to have
meaning, its effect
must remain alive in
eternity in some way

– Ernest Becker, Philosopher
The Musical Box Society International
Throughout its history, MBSI has fostered an interest in and preservation of is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization.
automatic musical instruments. Your gift to the Endowment Fund will All donations to the Endowment
support programs that will help future generations appreciate these Fund are tax deductible.
achievements of man’s creative genius. Visit www.mbsi.org to learn more. A gift of any size is welcome.

In Memoriam In Memoriam
John Field – 1935 – 2020

John Field with Richard Hughes and
John Haskey at a Golden Gate Chapter
Meeting in 2014.

By David Corkrum

Dr. John Austin Field was born on
May 6, 1935, to John (Jack) and Sally
Field in San Francisco, CA. John was
an active and founding member of the
Golden Gate Chapter of MBSI. His
family was academically oriented so
it wasn’t difficult to see that he would
continue in the academic tradition of
his family. At an early age, John was
interested in all things mechanical,
especially trains and radios. As a young
person, he often collected discarded
radios and phonographs from which
to study, sort out and restore. This
became a lifelong endeavor. He
attended Engineering School at UCLA
but switched his major to pre-med
in his final year after working in
the Radiology Dept at UCLA during
the summer. He completed medical
school at UCLA with an internship
and residency at Los Angeles County
General Hospital where he entered
orthopedic medicine.

After serving in the Army Medical
Corps in Korea for two years, he and
his wife, Wilma, settled in Santa Cruz,

John Field demonstrating his Steinway piano to Judy and Bob Caletti at a Golden
Gate Chapter meeting in 2008.

CA, and raised three children. Along
with family activities, John was a high-
ly-engaged antique collector, inventor
and machinist. In the early 1990s he
divorced Wilma and later married
Dianne. They had met through the Los
Angeles Microscope Society where
he was well known for his knowledge
of Leitz microscopes. For the next 21
years they shared their admiration for
classic steam trains, cars, pipe organs,
player pianos and essentially all things
mechanical.

I met John and Dianne at one of
Golden Gate Chapter meetings and
marveled at his depth of knowledge in
so many different fields. He was truly
a gifted collector. One time I was able
to see his microscope collection and I
told him, “You didn’t collect just one,
you had to have the whole set!” This
is the nature of a collector. We see it,
hear it, study it and try to learn more
about it. John was a definite asset to
the field of mechanical music, and I
will miss him.

50 MECHANICAL MUSIC January/February 2021

In Memoriam In Memoriam
Diane Yates 1939-2020

By Al and Mary Zamba

In the early 1980s, after purchasing
a couple of music boxes at an auction,
Al and I learned about MBSI. Al soon
discovered that the MBSI president
at that time was Bob Yates (president
from 1980-1981), and he lived in our
area. A friendship with Diane and
Bob soon blossomed and grew. We
attended MBSI annual meetings, chapter
events, Christmas parties, picnics,
old car tours and dinners together. We
will always cherish our times together
and the memories made. On Thanksgiving
night, 2020, however, our hearts
were broken as we learned of Diane’s
death.

Bob met Diane, the love of his life, in
Grove City, PA, backstage at a Grove
City College theater production.
Diane was on the stage crew while
Bob had a small part in the play. And
so began a college romance culminating
in marriage and a collaboration
that would span 60 years producing
three children, six grandchildren, a
multitude of friendships around the
world and grand collections.

Theater continued to be a passion
for Diane well beyond her college
years. Gilbert and Sullivan, Shakespeare,
George Bernard Shaw – you
name it – Diane reveled in playwrights
past and present. She loved New York
City productions, The Shaw Festival
in Niagara-on-the-Lake and the Ohio
Light Opera series with the Kinters.
She saw the Civic Light Opera and
public theater everywhere (from Pittsburgh,
PA, to Naples, FL, and even
London, England). Diane savored
many fine arts frequenting exhibits
on impressionism, subscribing to
the symphony, attending galleries
and exploring museums at home and
abroad.

An advocate of preservation, Diane

loved history, especially the Victorian
era. She and Bob researched, restored,
and decorated their Victorian home
with period pieces. In vintage dress,
she often opened their home for
Christmas house tours sponsored by
local civic and historical organizations
which she supported. She and
Bob hosted many events for car clubs
and theater organ associates. Friends
invited more friends and Diane
embraced it. A neighborhood Victorian
dinner was just one of many crazy
events Diane and Bob orchestrated.
She did all the planning and cooking
of authentic period foods while Al
and I, as butler and maid, served. It
was wild and wonderful, unique and
memorable.

Diane was always behind the
projector when Bob presented
workshops at MBSI annual meetings.
Months before, Diane could be found
editing Bob’s scripts and working to
match slides to narratives. Workshops
were only the beginning. MBSI annual
meeting banquet programs were
always extravaganza events with Bob
and Diane doing their first one in 1977
for the 28th anniversary entitled “16
Chickens, 11 Roast Beefs and 1 Lake
Erie Perch.” Don’t ask! It was a Yates
original with Diane manning the three
multimedia projectors. That was the
start of many more annual meeting
programs for MBSI anniversary years

-40th, 50th, 60th, 70th. Many members
were featured in the program, some
in unsavory situations resulting in
moans, groans, cheers, and laughs.
At a Chicago MBSI meet, Linda
Perry, Cheryl Hack, and Diane
ventured off downtown. But things
went awry when Diane parked the
car in a tow-away zone and left her
purse in the unlocked car. It got more
complicated when on the return trip,
the threesome disembarked at the

wrong station. They called the police
to straighten that out and eventually
found the car and its contents
untouched and safe. Just another day
in the life of Diane and friends.

Another time Diane and Bob, traveling
with Mike and Penny Kinter,
took a train from Munich, Germany, to
Prague, capital of the Czech Republic.
The overnight stay was almost derailed
when Diane’s envelope containing the
name and number of the hotel was left
on the train. They took a gamble and
boarded a tram that they suspected
would lead them close to the right
hotel, but without a name and in the
dark. Miraculously, they found it.
Lady Luck was with Diane.

Over the years, Diane helped Bob
plan Mid-America Chapter meetings,
opening their beautiful home to many
delighted members. She assisted Bob
on tours of Bayernof, a music box
museum near Pittsburgh. Band Organ/
Monkey Organ rallies found her showing
observers how the calliope worked
or nervously monitoring as Bob made
balloon art for the children while on
stilts. Sundays saw her singing in her

January/February 2021 MECHANICAL MUSIC 51

church’s choir for many years. Music was in her soul.

Diane and Bob traveled extensively and led six “Flying
Pig Tours” through England and Europe. We went on
several. What a blast! Bob would contact the collectors
while Diane, with the help of an agency, but mostly through
her own research, did the detail planning, finding unique
hotels, arranging meals, and uncovering little-known points
of interest. Before GPS, there was Diane. She mapped out
routes and huddled daily with the bus drivers. She had
more maps and better routes than they had. And along the
way, whether it was sheep crossing the road in England, a
man urinating by a tree in France, or the bus driver who
was almost arrested because he refused to move the bus

in Belgium, Diane would declare, “We paid extra for this!”

The Yates’ pursued antiques across the globe nabbing
unique treasures to enhance and expand their many collections.
Diane collected chatelaines, vinaigrettes, valentine
cards, 4-edge books, pop-up books, Victorian jewelry and
vintage clothing. She even collected theater programs
amassing a large collection which she donated to the
University of Pittsburgh’s drama department.

After raising the children, Diane went back to school
earning a Master’s of Library Science from the University
of Pittsburgh. An avid reader, she was able to share her
love for literature by becoming head librarian of the Shaler
North Hills Library. During her 22 years as director, she
oversaw two major library expansions.

Diane never had a bad word to say about anyone and
never complained about anything. She was always
cheerful and full of fun, quick-witted and engaged in the
moment. She lived life to the fullest—an inspiration to us
all. Her contributions to the health and welfare of MBSI are
far-reaching and enduring. In fact, I bet Diane is forming an
MBSI chapter in heaven right now. Listen closely! Can you
hear the music?

52 MECHANICAL MUSIC January/February 2021

2000 N. READING ROAD | DENVER, PA 17517 | 877-968-8880 | INFO@MORPHYAUCTIONS.COM
MORPHYAUCTIONS.COM
Inviting Consignments for
Our April 16 & 17, 2021
Auction
CCOOIINN–OOPP &&
AADDVVEERRTTIISSIINNGG
SOLD $83,000SOLD $61,500 SOLD $67,700
SOLD $80,000SOLD $80,000
2000 N. READING ROAD | DENVER, PA 17517 | 877-968-8880 | INFO@MORPHYAUCTIONS.COM
MORPHYAUCTIONS.COM
Inviting Consignments for
Our April 16 & 17, 2021
Auction
CCOOIINN–OOPP &&
AADDVVEERRTTIISSIINNGG
SOLD $83,000SOLD $61,500 SOLD $67,700
SOLD $80,000SOLD $80,000

54 MECHANICAL MUSIC January/February 2021 54 MECHANICAL MUSIC January/February 2021

(802) 728-9694 (802) 728-9694
Music Box Company, Inc.

We restore Swiss cylinder and disc music boxes.

• Cylinders are repinned if necessary and all worn
parts are rebuilt to original specifications or better.
• Combs are repaired and tuned. Nickel plated parts
are replated as needed.
Trust your prized music box to the finest quality
restoration available. We have been accused of over
restoring! Better over than under I say!

We will pick up your music box anywhere east of the
Mississippi River, and transport it to our shop in
Randolph, Vermont, where it will be stored in a
climate-controlled area until it’s finished and returned.

We have a complete machine shop where we build Porter
Music Boxes, more than 3,000 so far. We are unique in
the industry in that we are capable of manufacturing any
part needed to restore any music box.

See our website, www.PorterMusicBox.com, to read
letters of recommendation and browse a selection of the
finest disc boxes currently being manufactured anywhere
in the world. We have twin disc models, single disc
models with 121/4” or15 1/ “ discs, and table models with
beautiful cabinets created for us in Italy. Also we can

occasions.

P.O Box 424
Randolph, VT 05060

support.

Call (802) 728-9694 or

January/February 2021 MECHANICAL MUSIC 55

email maryP@portermusicbox.com

The Organette Book
ISBN 978-0-9557869-5-2
colour throughout;Additional Illustrations of Models; Additions to Lists of The Organette Book
ISBN 978-0-9557869-5-2
colour throughout;Additional Illustrations of Models; Additions to Lists of
The Musical Box Society of Great Britain announces the publication of two new books
Published in September 2018

100pp Hard Back ISO A4 format [8.27” × 11.70”; Profusely illustrated in

Supplement to

colour throughout with Additional Illustrations of Models, 89 Additional Lid
The Disc Musical Box Pictures Additions to Lists of Models, Patents, Tune Lists & Serial Numbers;
Combined Index of Images in the original book and its Supplement.

Compiled and Edited by
Kevin McElhone

Originally published in 2012 and still available The Disc Musical Box

ISBN 978-0-9557869-6-9

is a compendium of information about Disc Musical Boxes, their Makers and
their Music; profusely illustrated in colour throughout with Illustrations of
each Disk Musical Box Model, and with Catalogue Scans, Lists of Models,
Patents & Tune Lists.

************************************************************************************************************************
For all MBSGB Publications, please refer to the Musical Box Society of Great Britain website for further details including latest
availability, discounted prices and information on how to order. -www.mbsgb.org.uk

Supplement to

Compiled and Edited by
Kevin McElhone

100pp Hard Back ISO A4 format [8.27” × 11.70”; Profusely illustrated in

Patents, Tune Lists & Tuning Scales; A New Section on Trade Cards;
Combined Index of Images in the original book and its Supplement.

The Organette Book is a compendium of information about Organettes,
their Makers and their Music. Originally published in 2000 but now out of
print although second-hand copies are occasionally available in online
auctions.

56 MECHANICAL MUSIC January/February 2021

Fine & Decorative Arts | January 23
Featured Musical & Coin-Op Items
Mermod Freres “Ideal Soprano”Wurlitzer Model
Cylinder Music Box1015 Jukebox
Victor No. 6 Regina
Mahogany Victrola “The Musical Savings Bank”
Criterion Mahogany
Music Box with Cabinet
Mermod Freres
Inlaid Cylinder
Music Box
Adler-Fortuna Mills Novelty Co.Encore Automatic Banjo Disc OrchestrionDouble Violano Virtuoso by Dave Ramey Sublime Harmony
Music Box
Capital Cuff Music Box
Link 2E Coin Piano with Britannia “Smoking Capital Cuff Box Edison Opera Oak Regina Automatic Changer
Mandolin and Marimba Cabinet” Music Box with 9 Records Cylinder Phonograph Music Box
www.FontainesAuction.com
1485 West Housatonic Street, Pittsfield, MA 01201 (Route 20)
A+
Phone: 413-448-8922 • Fax: 413-442-1550 • Email: info@fontainesauction.com
AUCTIONEER: JOHN FONTAINE, Mass. Auctioneers License #327 SINCE 1973

SAVE THE DATE

August 30 -September 4, 2021
(Tuesday through Saturday)

Things to do
in 2021
Fort Myers, Florida
MBSI is bringing the
1. Thank God that 2020 is over.
2. Get a Covid vaccine shot.
3. Make plans to attend the
Fall MBSI convention
4. Lose 15 pounds …
Lose 5 pounds …
Try not to gain more weight
Get up before noon.
6. Attend the MBSI convention
in Fort Myers, FL and
5. Wake up and exercise daily …
have great fun with
friends and
music machines
fun back in 2021

• Amazing instruments!
• Workshops!
• Collection tours!
• The Mart!
• Entertainment!
• Experts, fellow collectors and friends
from all over the world!
• Food, fun and fellowship!
Guaranteed to be the best
MBSI Annual Meeting
of this decade so far!

Registration details will be printed in a spring issue of Mechanical Music.

Ben’s Player Piano Service
Repair and restoration of air powered mechanical music
devices of all description.
Player pianos
Reproduing pianos
Dance organs
Fairground organs
Nickelodeon pianos
Original historically
Correct techniques
And materials used
Throughout in the
Rebuilding process.
Benjamin R Gottfried
464 Dugan Road, Richfield Springs NY 13439
Bensplayerservice.com 315-858-2164
WWW.REEDERPIANOS.COM • 517-886-9447
Specializing in the Restora on and Retail of Fine Pianos
Available Reproducing Pianos:
Chickering •Marshall & Wendall •George Steck
Mason & Hamlin •Knabe •Aeolian
»QRS & AMPICO MUSIC ROLLS«
“Where Fine Pianos
Are Reborn”
Fine Art & Antique Consignments
The highest level of customer service plus private,
professional and confidential transactions.
120 Court Street, Geneseo, NY 14454 cottoneauctions.comAdvertise in The Mart
Have some spare parts or extra rolls taking up the space
where you should be installing your next acquisition?
Ready to trade up, but need to sell one of your current
pieces first? Get the word out to other collectors in The
Mart, an effective advertising tool at an inexpensive
price. Copy or cut out the form below and mail it in to get
started. Or, go to www.mbsi.org and place your ad online!
Name Phone
Email
Text of ad
Ben’s Player Piano Service
Repair and restoration of air powered mechanical music
devices of all description.
Player pianos
Reproduing pianos
Dance organs
Fairground organs
Nickelodeon pianos
Original historically
Correct techniques
And materials used
Throughout in the
Rebuilding process.
Benjamin R Gottfried
464 Dugan Road, Richfield Springs NY 13439
Bensplayerservice.com 315-858-2164
WWW.REEDERPIANOS.COM • 517-886-9447
Specializing in the Restora on and Retail of Fine Pianos
Available Reproducing Pianos:
Chickering •Marshall & Wendall •George Steck
Mason & Hamlin •Knabe •Aeolian
»QRS & AMPICO MUSIC ROLLS«
“Where Fine Pianos
Are Reborn”
Fine Art & Antique Consignments
The highest level of customer service plus private,
professional and confidential transactions.
120 Court Street, Geneseo, NY 14454 cottoneauctions.comAdvertise in The Mart
Have some spare parts or extra rolls taking up the space
where you should be installing your next acquisition?
Ready to trade up, but need to sell one of your current
pieces first? Get the word out to other collectors in The
Mart, an effective advertising tool at an inexpensive
price. Copy or cut out the form below and mail it in to get
started. Or, go to www.mbsi.org and place your ad online!
Name Phone
Email
Text of ad
January/February 2021 MECHANICAL MUSIC 59

What’s your pleasure?
Bontems Singing Bird
In brass Jardiniere
Lawrencekirk cased
Chevron 2/per Section Comb
Bremond Interchangeable
3 cylinder –
Triple comb
Sublime
Harmony >
< Small 5 tune
Reed Monkey
Organ
Nancy Fratti Music Boxes
PO Box 400 – Canastota NY 13032 – USA
315-684-9977 — musicbox@frontiernet.net
www.nancyfrattimusicboxes

Thursday, Friday & Saturday, Jan. 14, 15 & 16, 2021
AUCTIONEERS & REALTORS STANTON’S
Stanton’s Auctioneers,
Appraisers, & Realtors
144 S. Main, P.O. Box 146
Vermontville, MI 49096
Phone: (517) 726-0181
Fax: (517) 726-0060
E-mail: stantonsauctions@sbcglobal.net
Website: www.stantons-auctions.com
Steven E. Stanton
(517) 331-8150 cellular
(517) 852-0627 evening
E-mail – stevenEstanton@gmail.com
Michael C. Bleisch
(517) 231-0868 cellular
E-mail – mcbleisch@gmail.com
Location – The sale will be held at its original location, at the Barry Expo Center, on the Barry County
Fairgrounds, at 1350 N. M-37 Hwy., Hastings, Michigan – The facility is located 4-1/2 miles northwest of
Hastings on M-37 or 20 miles southeast of Grand Rapids.
Due to the present situation dealing with the Covid-19 Virus, we will be offering onsite participation
(as usual) at the auction in accordance with the present mandates, as well as online bidding, phone
bidding and pre-sale left bids that we will execute for the buyer competitively.
Pre-Sale Preview Dates – To parties not planning on attending the auction in person, the following days
will be available for hands-on inspection, Monday, January 11th – 1:00 P.M. – 4:00 P.M., Tuesday,
January 12th – 1:00 – 4:00 PM, and Wednesday, January 13th – 9:00-4:00 PM. Additional Preview
Dates are available by appointment following Christmas until the date of the auction.
Changes to the Catalog – We know that we will need to make some changes to the original catalog.
To offer the collection in person, and through the Online Format we will need to change certain lots from
choice to individual lots for the benefit of the online bidders. Also, there is a possibility that the addendum
sheet lots will not be offered and depending on the mandate at the time of the auction, and ability
for the crowd to attend, the parts session may or may not take place.
Bidding Procedures, Changes in Terms and Conditions –
1. The buyer’s premium to all attending the auction will remain at 10% as usual.
2. The buyer’s premium charged to all individuals participating by phone or left bids will be 10%.
a. Please note that phone bidding is only accepted on items with values of $300.00 or more.
3. T he buyer’s premium charged to all individuals purchasing through the online formats will be 23%.
A 3% discount will be given for cash or personal check discount.
Online Bidding: Available at: LiveAuctioneers