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MMD > Archives > September 2017 > 2017.09.16 > 05Prev  Next


Phonograph & Player Piano Combinations
By David R. Smith

Hello all,  First, best wishes to all of those affected by the recent
displays of Mother Nature's potential.  To many outsiders, when the
water recedes they feel that normality has resumed.  Let me speak from
experience and explain that the effects of floods and fire will stay
with you forever.  Wish them all much strength.

On to "funner" stuff, namely the combination phonograph/player piano.
It may have been here in the MMD that a few years ago a "discussion"
took place regarding the manufacture of player rolls that were intended
for such machines and had a designated phonograph record on the label
of the roll that was to be played _along with_ the piano roll.  Many
questioned the existence of such rolls until I scanned a few roll box
ends showing the label.

I owned the Melville Clark combo player/phonograph, a very interesting
machine.  The most significant difference of the player mechanism vs.
your garden variety player is the air motor that turns the roll has
been replaced with a spring wind motor very similar to a phonograph
motor.  The motor was continually wound as you pumped the player pedals
via additional linkages.

The top section of the spoolbox was actually the wooden horn of the
phonograph which was located to the left of the spoolbox.  The rounded
door on the front of the piano gave access to the phonograph.  The
right hand side which matched was merely decorative and did not open.
There was a speed control on the front of the phonograph that was
easily accessible as one can only imagine the nightmare of keeping the
record and roll in sync which brings me to the biggest mystery I always
had.

I only had about 6 rolls that were specifically made for record/player
combo but they were from 3 different manufacturers!  I played each of
the rolls and _none_ of them had any indications/markings of when or
where one was to start playing the accompanying record!

The piano is no longer with me but it certainly did serve as quite an
oddity.

Dave Smith


(Message sent Sat 16 Sep 2017, 18:11:31 GMT, from time zone GMT-0700.)

Key Words in Subject:  Combinations, Phonograph, Piano, Player

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