The North West Player Piano Association (NWPPA) recently had a very
successful visit to the Taylor half of Taylor-Aeolian. This is not the
Taylor Organ Company, but Taylor's Bell Foundry, of Loughborough,
England (Google "taylor bells" for more information).
Taylor's Bell Foundry is still very much in existence and has an
interesting exhibition area with samples (or in some cases, pieces) of
historic bells. Of special interest was the original and unique
Aeolian-built Tubular Bell Pianola that was used to test carillon
For anyone making an extended visit to England before/after the AMICA
Convention, and who may be able to arrange a visit, I am including here
a summary report of the meeting:
"Our visit took the form of a tour of the foundry where we were
shown all the phases of bell casting, including some still-warm
sand boxes that had just been cast that morning. The almost unique
modified vertical lathes (dating from early 20th century) used to
tune the bells are actually built into the tuning shop wall and are
still used to machine the largest bells.
"However many of our members found the Museum was the highlight of
the tour, where as well as a specially arranged talk by David Perry
on the history of Taylor-Aeolian Carillons (well, we are mechanical
music fans). We also heard their Webber Duo-Art pianola. Without
doubt however the most interesting exhibit was the original
(Aeolian built) Tubular Bell Pianola which is unique. It has
recently been extensively restored and is now in full playing
order. This can either be played from the keyboard or from paper
rolls, and was specially built by Aeolian (UK) at Hayes to test,
and possibly edit, the special Bell Rolls produced to activate the
For those not familiar with the area, Loughborough also has one of the
largest Grand Carillons still in regular use in the Queens Park bell
tower, built as a war memorial and first played in 1923. Unfortunately
this is not automatic, but is manually played by a Carillonneur.
Regular recitals are held, currently on Sunday and Thursday afternoons.
But please check their website before making a special journey (Google
"Loughborough carillon"). Taylorís Bell Museum is also open to the
public, but opening hours are restricted; so again, please check before
visiting (Google "taylor bells"). However, with careful planning I
believe that it should be possible to visit both on a Thursday.