Dear John, (this sounds like a break-up letter)
Regarding the Piano-Lodeons, I do not recall a white model. As
children, my siblings and I had the maroon model, which sported a fancy
gold relief design on either side of the spoolbox. While I don't
recall a white model, there was, and is, a beige model (sans the gold
relief). The maroon model that we once had became difficult to play;
so on one of my early attempts at fixing things, I opened it up and
made a makeshift repair to the vacuum disc by adding self-sticking felt
to the surface that was impinging on a surrounding surface. It really
didn't help much except to quiet the scraping sound as the disc spun.
Later on, frustrated, I ended up dismantling the entire mechanism.
Afterwards my father disposed of it.
My father had bought it around 1958-59 for either $14.95 or $24.95.
The rolls floated around our house for a number of years, until they
too were disposed of. My favorite tune was "Twelfth Street Rag."
In the mid 1970's, on one of my quests for piano rolls, I came across
a beige model, which I quickly purchased and took home. It played
rather weakly. So I dismantled it and meticulously cleaned all the
parts. The vacuum disc was also loose and wobbled when it spun.
Instead of adding adhesive-backed felt, I settled for tapping [tapeing?
--Editor] down the retaining clip on its center hub, which summarily
solved the problem. I carefully began to reassemble the device. I
left the almost fully assembled device under my desk at home. I had
not reattached the back with the tone rods to the body of the Piano-
Lodeon. When I returned home from work and went to reinstall the back
to the Piano-Lodeon, I found that one of the tone rods had been snapped
off its frame. (To this day my younger brother denies touching it.)
Unfortunately the missing note is within the playing range of the
If you check on eBay, every once in a while there is someone selling
replacement drive belts for the Piano-Lodeon.
Hope this helps.
Dale F. Rowe
P.S. By the way, the only things on the Piano-Lodeon that was close
to being white in color were the natural keys and the take-up spool.
P.P.S. I'm still looking for a replacement copy of "Twelfth Street