I have known Steve Lanick, old-time band organ man, cabinetmaker,
and master craftsman in Pittsburgh, for several years. He built
himself a wonderful replica Wurlitzer 105 band organ. Its high-quality
workmanship could be seen not only in the wood work but in the
machining of the roll frame and tracker bar. No round holes for Steve,
but painstakingly broached square holes, which cost him more than one
Steve lamented the OSHA regulations which made it nearly impossible --
well, ultimately impossible -- to find machinists who would make roll
frame parts for him the way he wanted them made, just like Wurlitzer
did them. He could tell stories of scouring the countryside for old
barn lumber to make pipes from. Barn lumber, you see, was thoroughly
seasoned and aged; the organ pipes Steve made would never shrink,
twist, or fall apart.
Steve made other things, including the replica Wurlitzer-165 facade for
Bill Black's 165 band organ -- no mean carving job, if you have seen a
165 facade up close.
Now I see on eBay (item 2512074068) that Steve has given up his plan to
produce five more finished Wurlitzer 105 replicas for sale. Age and
time has caught up with Steve, and he is selling the almost-completed,
unassembled wood and metal parts on eBay as do-it-yourself kits. There
are a few pictures of some of the parts, which all appear to be Lanick
(i.e. Wurlitzer)-quality work.
But it's sad to see another old-timer leave the field, maybe not to be
replaced by a young newcomer.
Matthew Caulfield (Irondequoit, N.Y.)