I was looking today for a piece of information in Dave Bowers' 1966
book, "Put Another Nickel In," and I came to the "Photo Album" chapter
on pages 203-248. It was filled with names and pictures of old-time
collectors no longer with us and whose collections are now dispersed
to the winds. Seeing the people I knew later as gray-haired icons of
mechanical music collecting when they still had hair and were even
brunettes made me realize that time does march on, and eventually the
parade passes us all by.
There were names that I didn't know, like Gary Sage, Floyd Miles
(of Miles Mountain Museum, Eureka Springs, Arkansas), Otto Carlsen,
and A.C. Raney. But there were many names I did once know personally,
although sadly none of them are with us now.
There was Ed Freyer at his Acme perforator, reminding me of the visit
I made to his place in Flemington, New Jersey, where he made this young
nobody feel so welcome. Arthur Sanders (but no Hardie) is shown with
pictures from their Deansboro Musical Museum. There is a photo of Steve
Lanick in his much younger days. Harvey and Marion Roehl, brunettes,
not the grayhairs that I knew, are both shown, working on instruments
in their Vestal, New York, collection. Jerry Doring is there too.
Early luminaries whom I never met but knew by reputation are pictured
there: Ozzie Wurdeman, Larry Givens (at his Ampico perforator),
big-time collectors Roy Haning and Neal White, Murray Clark (of Clark's
Trading Post fame), Ed Link (remembered for his endless-roll pianos
and the Link Trainer, used in World War 2), Murtogh Guinness (whose
collection is now in the Morris Museum), Lloyd Kelley (who bought and
used the Regina disc-making equipment), and even J. Lawrence Cook.
The author's two very young sons, Wynn and Lee, whom I would judge
to be three and five years old then, are shown listening raptly to
an orchestrion and watching it play. Were they infected with Dave's
collecting enthusiasm, I wonder?
Eventually it will be time for a new book, "Put Another Quarter In,"
describing the big collections of today after their owners are gone and
their treasures are dispersed. We have just seen it with the Milhous
collection. Who is next?
Irondequoit, New York