Hello all, I have been reading with interest the thread about
recutting B.A.B. and Artizan rolls. I am, however, surprised that
only one or two people have mentioned North Tonawanda rolls. These
were the basis for the Artizan and B.A.B. scales, and there are
still many organs that play them.
For example, just take the band organs 186, 187 and 188. Many
carousels still have these organs, since the makers Spillman and
Herschell-Spillman included them in the sale prices of their park
carousels. Balboa Park in San Diego, Calif., has a 187 in original
paint and with a large collection of original music rolls. Griffith
Park, Los Angeles, has a 188. Tilden Park, in Berkeley, Calif., has
a 187, and Slater Memorial Park in Pawtucket, Rhode Island, has a 187
on their Looff carousel. Several collectors own organs of this size
I'm not sure why Herschell-Spillman picked this series of organ
to include in their carousel package, but here are some thoughts.
The endless music roll meant that the operators did not have to worry
about the organ rewinding in the middle of a ride (this was before
the duplex music roll frame), and the facade was already decorated in
a similar "gingerbread" style as the rounding boards, and could be
painted to match. It was also a nice, medium-sized organ, and could
be used in many different places.
I like this brand and style organ because, in my opinion, it is more
musical than the same size Wurlitzer Style 146. This is simply because
it has extra bass and trombone notes, because the many strings and
metal clarinets give a well-balanced, almost European sound, and
because the arrangements are more interesting and less predictable
than standard 150 Wurlitzer arrangements (modern arrangers excepted).
I only have one complaint: there are no automatic registers.
If someone were to recut 8-to-the-inch B.A.B. and Artizan rolls,
I would only ask that they recut North Tonawanda rolls as well, since,
to my knowledge, the band organ rolls have never been recut. If the
endless rolls are to be recut, I only wish that the person doing so
would also create new composite rolls by turning several 3-tune rolls
into one long roll, and omitting the extra verses and choruses. This
would eliminate any complaints from carousel operators or riders that
they can't play the organ because it is too monotonous. This seems
perfectly possible to me, since most North Tonawanda rolls only take
up about one-fifth of the space in the storage bin, for reasons unknown
to me. (Why waste space?)
I hope this encourages more North Tonawanda organ owners to subscribe
to the recuts, and, if necessary, convert their organ back to the
original music, 'cause they don't know what they're missing!
One more thing: one shouldn't compare North Tonawanda and B.A.B. rolls,
except scale-wise. The rolls were made by different arrangers,
at different companies, in different decades!