Fire at Play-Rite
By Matthew Caulfield
|Fine-tuning Robbie's quite accurate information about where Play-Rite rolls are (were) made: Their main facility at 401 S. Broadway in Turlock, Calif., produced only Play-Rite's 88-note rolls. All the equip- ment (high-speed production perforators, masters, stenciling machine, spoolers) and supplies for the piano-roll operation were there.|
Nothing was ever made in Oakland. Oakland was simply the home of Ray Siou who retailed, at fantastically low prices, Play-Rite's specialty rolls. The specialty rolls were (and I am sure, still are) produced at the home of John Malone and his mother, Jeanne. The Malone home was untouched by the fire, being across town.
The specialty rolls are produced by Jeanne Malone, who is very much up in years, using two production perforators, at least one of which is a modified Acme. Between the two machines a wide variety of non-88-note rolls can be produced by switching die sets and setting up the machine to handle whatever paper width is required. The masters for the specialty rolls are kept there at the home, not at the warehouse.
At least I hope and pray that is the case, because I have some Wurlitzer 165 rolls out there now waiting for that day when Jeanne Malone finishes Dick Hack's and Bob Gilson's projects and has time to set up the Acme to cut Wurlitzer rolls again, which is small potatoes compared to the Welte and Violano work.
The continuation of Play-Rite's specialty roll work is more at risk because of Jeanne Malone's age than because of fire or other natural disaster. She is an amazing woman and it is impressive how she single- handedly keeps those perforators pounding away without error and without losing her hearing or her mind in the process.
[ She's also thorough. I've watched as she lays the original over the
[ stack of copies and verifies that each note is successfully copied.
[ If a hole is punched in error, she fixes the copies by plugging
[ the hole; if a hole is missing she fixes that with a hand-punch.
[ She says, "It won't play right unless I fix it!"
[ -- Robbie
(Message sent Fri 7 Feb 1997, 15:00:10 GMT, from time zone GMT-0500.)