Here is a wonderfully informative letter about the dangers encountered
taking the Welte rolls out of Germany, through France, to the United
States. James Crank again remembers the details, and this time reflects
on the wisdom of the electrical master rolls, which very likely did play
the piano directly.
James is a mechanical engineer, and worked for Ampex when they started,
after the war, it seems. Ampex began their design work from a German
recorder called a Magnetophone. Later, when the Welte T-100 "Red"
rolls were recorded, the Ampex was also used and a set of 12-13 reels
have been recorded and put away. James now intends to have these
transferred to CD before they get damaged. To say that I am excited is
His comment in regard to the small electrical current these roll marks
would have been capable of handling is very germane actually, because
in realizing the fact that somehow Welte intended them to operate a
playback instrument places the technology square in the lap of magnetic
amplifiers -- very much in vogue in those days. Every city power
station, theater, and good laboratory had one! With it, you are able
to control a very large current with a very small one. No tubes or
transistors -- just windings on laminated cores or the crude way --
changing the iron coupling in a transformer.
[ Since he is an MMD subscriber I detached the letter from Mr. Crank
[ to become a separate article elsewhere in this MMDigest. -- Robbie