This note is intended for Mike Walter, who asked about late copies
of Ampico Roll 50715, Debussy's "Reflets dans l'eau" played by Leo
Ornstein and originally issued in 1915. I am replying through the
Digest, rather than privately, because it appears others are interested
in this matter.
Dean Randall pointed out that the roll in question appears in his copy
of the 1937 Ampico catalog. We know that many of the early rolls were
kept in the catalog until quite late; this is apparently one of them.
As it happens, I own a very late copy of the roll. I say "very late"
because I cannot pinpoint the date of manufacture, of course. However,
my roll has several distinguishing features that appear only in rolls
manufactured quite late in the history of Ampico roll production:
(1) The box label bears the name "Ampico" in the large "Art Deco"
letters. (I believe that this box style appeared for the first time in
1929.) The label has the "enigmatic D" on it.
(2) There is a label on only one end of the box. Ampico placed
box labels on both ends of their boxes throughout the 1920s. At some
time in the 1930s, perhaps as a cost-cutting measure, only one label
was used. I do not know the date at which this change occurred; I hope
there are some members of the Digest who are more knowledgeable than
I am on this matter.
(3) The spool ends are made of molded phenolic, but they lack the
words "Ampico Recording" molded into the outside surface of the ends.
I know that these spool ends are quite late, but I do not know the
exact date at which the changeover took place. I own a copy of Ampico
Roll 71043, Ravel's "Bolero" played by Morton Gould, that was issued in
1932; this roll still has the spool ends with "Ampico Recording" molded
into them, which suggests that the change came after 1932. It also has
labels on both ends of the box.
(4) The paper is very white, not buff-colored as is usually the
case with Ampico rolls. I have seen some Ampico rolls issued in 1937
and 1938 made from the same paper. Perhaps there was only a single lot
of this paper used throughout the history of the company. Again, I
hope that some member of the Digest can enlighten us on this matter.
My roll is currently in cold storage. However, if you need a
copy, I can locate and scan the roll for you, and provide you with a
master roll image suitable for use by Keystone Music Rolls on their
original Ampico perforating machinery. It appears that this is the
only way you can get a "new original" roll, since Keystone does not
have the master roll in their inventory.
With best wishes,
[ Is 'B' coding applied in your roll, Wayne? If so, the performance
[ is likely to be much different than the 1915 issue, and hopefully
[ better when played on a later A or B system. -- Robbie