I am one who is convinced about the destructive power of carelessly
fast rewinds on vintage piano rolls, but that is only half of the
equation, in my opinion.
I have destroyed more than my share of piano rolls over time and am
convinced that my current practice of carefully shimming and properly
gapping the left roll flanges of rolls with old paper, along with
gently rewinding them, has kept many a rare old wonderful roll in
existence for me to enjoy.
I try set the gap large enough that will allow only light force to be
occasionally applied to the paper during rewind, while at the same time
small enough to not allow the roll to wander too much and track well
I also re-spool a lot of old rolls and throw out a lot more spools
(with any noticeable warping of the metal or Bakelite flanges, or if
the flanges are "fixed") than most people may.
Now, as Mr. Bullock suggests in another contribution, if we could just
keep the acid in the roll paper of yesteryear from working it's deed,
than we could even enjoy this music for another 80- 100 years.
While I am hoping that the continuing development of technology, like
the Broadmoore PowerRoll, will allow future generations to enjoy some
of these performances in great fidelity, my hat is off to those people
who have taken great care and gone to great expense to accurately
re-cut on quality paper some of the really great performances available