-- non-subscriber, please reply to sender and MMD --
(I sent the following directly to Michael Philippi and thought maybe
I should send it to MMD just in case anyone else is interested.)
If no one else has answered your question yet then, yes, Wurlitzer did
produce many player grands in the 1920's. They contained a reproducing
player action they referred to as the "Apollo". The same reproducing
action was also sold in other makes of pianos as the "ArtEcho" or
"Art Echo" or "Artecho".
If you're not familiar with reproducing pianos, they differ from
regular player pianos in that they play all the dynamics of the music
just as the artist who recorded them did. In contrast a regular player
piano just strikes the notes and any variation in the dynamics has to
be supplied by the person operating the player piano.
Wurlitzer ran an extensive series of adds from roughly 1925 to 1928
that showcased their line of art-cased grands, all of which could be
purchased with the Apollo player. The spool box for the player action
in the Apollo reproducing pianos was located in a drawer under the
The library of music available for the Apollo/ArtEcho wasn't as
extensive as most of it's competitors: the total available number of
titles was probably around 1800 recordings. Most of the classical
recordings were probably originally recorded for either Ampico or
Welte. The pianists who did the recordings were certainly among the
best concert artists of the period.
The popular music on the Apollo/ArtEcho rolls was all recorded by QRS.
(QRS manufactured all Apollo/ArtEcho rolls.) James P. Johnson recorded
his hit, "The Charleston", for QRS and it was issued for Apollo/ArtEcho.
In the late 1920s and very early '30s some Wurlitzer pianos were made
with Recordo player actions. The Recordo pianos were classified as
expression pianos and, from a technical standpoint, that would have
placed them between a regular player piano and a full reproducing
piano. These actions too were placed in a drawer under the key bed.
The library of Recordo rolls wasn't as impressive as that of Artecho
for classical recordings, but since Recordo rolls were also produced
by QRS the popular roll selection was almost the same.
If you need any more information or have any questions let me know.
I can list artists, titles, etc., or send you copies of some of the
ads if you need them.