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MMD > Archives > October 1996 > 1996.10.26 > 04Prev  Next


Aeolian-Skinner Semi-Automatic Rolls
By Wayne Stahnke

This note is in response to James Weisenborne's recent posting regarding Semi-Automatic rolls.

Jim, you said that the Aeolian-Skinner Semi-Automatic rolls, intended for use with the Hammond organ, are identical to the earlier Skinner Semi-Automatic rolls issued by the Skinner Organ Company prior to their acquisition of the Aeolian organ interests in 1933. You also said that you have overlaid earlier (Skinner) and later (Skinner-Aeolian) rolls one on top of the other and found them to be identical. I understand from your note that the only difference between the two is that the Aeolian-Skinner Semi-Automatic rolls are wound on standard player piano flanges. This is all very interesting, and immediately raises several related questions.

According to Art Reblitz, the left-most port on these rolls is for rewind; this corresponds to what I have observed. He then says that the next two ports are (in order) "Pedal Pilot 1" and "Pedal Pilot 2" and that these two ports, in set-reset style, determine whether the 12 pedal ports should be played on the lowest or next-lowest octave of the pedal board, respectively. Eugene Rogers tells us that on his Hammond organ these two tracker-bar ports are not connected to anything. The question that arises is as follows:

(1) Are Aeolian-Skinner Semi-Automatic rolls identical to Skinner
Semi-Automatic rolls, or do the former omit the perforations for
the pedal pilots that are present on the latter? (I have
examined several Aeolian-Skinner rolls, including the test roll,
which do not make use of the pedal pilot ports in any way.)

Since you say that the rolls are identical except for the flanges, the second question that arises is:

(2) What type of flanges do the (earlier) Skinner Semi-Automatic
rolls use, and how do these differ from standard player piano
flanges?

Finally, if the Aeolian-Skinner Semi-Automatic rolls are wound on standard flanges and the Skinner rolls are not, the final question is:

(3) What instruments accomodate the (later) Aeolian-Skinner
Semi-Automatic rolls?

If the answer to the last question is that only the Hammond organ accomodates these rolls, then we are justified in calling the rolls "Hammond" rolls, even though (as I suggested and you confirmed) this appellation seems never to have been used during the period of manufacture.

Any answers or comments you have regarding these questions would be helpful. I am ready, willing and able to send you copies of the restored master rolls for the test roll and the other Aeolian-Skinner rolls I have scanned.

With best regards,

Wayne Stahnke


(Message sent Sun 27 Oct 1996, 04:20:58 GMT, from time zone GMT-0400.)

Key Words in Subject:  Aeolian-Skinner, Rolls, Semi-Automatic

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