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MMD > Archives > July 1998 > 1998.07.13 > 10Prev  Next

Unified Reproduco and APP Rolls
By Jack M. Conway

Hi Rick,  Lots of luck on the rolls.  I bought my Unified Reproduco
Organ at auction when G. W. MacKinnon went out of business in Santa Fe
Springs, California for $1500.00.  It was missing the 8' rank of
diapason that hangs on the back of the side cabinet.  They were easily
replaced with Wurlitzer pipes.

It supposedly came with six rolls.  When it was ready to play I found
that 3 were Unified Reproduco Rolls (9 to the inch) and 3 were Seeburg
MO rolls (6 to the inch) and useless of course.  Two of the three
Unified Reproduco Rolls were damaged and none had boxes.

I searched for rolls for nine years and only found one.  It was
a good popular roll with original box and labels in good playing
condition.  I also found about 6 single-tune Unified Funeral Organ

If you're are old enough to remember the early days of magnetic tape
recording, reel to reel, you may remember some companies used "A wind"
and some used "B wind".  One was spooled oxide out and the other spooled
base out.  The Unified Funeral Rolls were spooled the opposite side out
from Unified Reproduco rolls.  They were also spooled on standard piano
roll diameter cores instead of the Unified Reproduco standard 2-5/8"

I re-spooled them on the MO cores right side out for my organ.  All but
one worked.  The one larger two-tune roll did not like be wound the other
way and on rewind, which is frighteningly fast, it shredded itself.  Can
you say "confetti?"  I knew you could!

I advertised for rolls in AMICA and MBS bulletins, the Antique Trader,
and Retig's Auction wanted column with no results.  Then one day the
phone rang.  It was Larry Norman.  The conversation went something
like this:

  Do you own a Unified Reproduco?
  Does it use those 15-1/4-inch-wide gray paper multi-tune rolls?
  Do you want to buy some?

He had 20 rolls, most with boxes and labels, and most in playable
condition.  Those that were damaged were repairable.  Only one was not.

I think of Larry every time I play the Reproduco.  I have not found
another roll since.  Larry ran a roll auction not too long ago but
I doubt that he has any Unified Rolls.

The sad part of this story is that a week after I purchased the rolls,
the wooden paddle-wheel-style Operators Piano Company blower threw a fin
while I was across room.  By the time I got across the room and shut it
down it had turned itself into toothpicks.  It is now running with pipe
organ blower.  I tried to have the original blower rebuilt but we could
never get it balanced -- the blower walked across the room.  It was
quite some time before I got to hear all of the rolls.

I would like to know the roll number and titles for the roll you have.

I purchased APP rolls for my Wurlitzer BX when they were being recut
by Doyle Lane when he was in Canada, and Ray Siou who had them cut
by Play-Rite.  I don't know what the current story is with Play-Rite.
I wrote to them several months after the fires for information and
never got a response.

About two years ago Ed Sprankle had a roll auction which had some
APP rolls on it.  The Rettig's had some on one of their auctions also.

Good luck in your search!

Jack M. Conway, Los Angeles, California, USA

(Message sent Mon 13 Jul 1998, 12:22:00 GMT, from time zone GMT.)

Key Words in Subject:  APP, Reproduco, Rolls, Unified

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