In MMD 010129 Don Teach asked for opinions regarding his recent
discovery of the empty case Cremona J, so here's my two cents worth.
I am sure Don knows that the "Cremona" (Marquette Piano Co.) was
considered the "Rolls-Royce" of American coin pianos & orchestrions.
Now, if one discovered an intact but stripped out Rolls Royce
automobile body from the same period, the true enthusiast might spend
the rest of his or her life attempting to locate original parts for it,
or have exact replicas machined, whether or not any extra parts could
be sold, or for that matter, whether or not there was any market for
The end result would indeed be called "a restoration", not a "build-up",
for every intention was to restore it to its factory new state, or as
near as possible.
With the current slide in values for coin pianos and orchestrions, it
certainly would not be a financially prudent idea to invest in having
pump hardware and roll frames machined, et al, but until all other
possibilities of locating original parts are exhausted, as responsible
stewards for these musical gems, it almost goes without saying that it
is our responsibility to restore them even if it means "walking in the
negative" (negative cash flow and value).
Don might try contacting Don Krog, of Vincent, IA. I sold him some
exact replica Cremona Orchestral components I made back in the late
1970s. (I believe he had two gutted case style J's). To my knowledge,
both are now restored and tooting away. He may already have had some
extra roll frames and pump hardware made or located. The pipes are
easy enough to find: the violins are metal, just like the string pipes
offered by pipe organ suppliers today.
Best of luck with an exciting project! I hear that Durrell Armstrong
is planning an M roll recutting project as well.
Stephen Kent Goodman