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MMD > Archives > January 1999 > 1999.01.18 > 14Prev  Next

Seeburg Instruments at Missouri Auction
By Craig Brougher

Galen Bird and I both looked at the stuff labeled Seeburg at this
auction and have decided there isn't much there.  The "G" buildup had
original case panels and an original lid, but someone put a different
piano in there.  I also noticed that its fallboard wasn't original and
was too high, anyway -- probably as a result of retrofitting things to
look right with the original panels.

The roll playing thingy does have reeds, I learned.  It was pointed out
to me that what I thought were some homemade valve blocks were actually
the "reed blocks."  No one offered to play it for me when I was there,
but Galen was able to hear it play when he came about 3 hours later.
That's a great way to find out!

Having Seeburg trackerbars, I assumed the spoolframes to be something
that Seeburg contracted to have built for them (all four were the same
transport mechanism and mounting) because of Seeburg trackerbars and
the usual "factory" way they were mounted.  I'm pretty sure the trans-
ports were originally built for those trackerbars and had never been
modified to fit them, going by the age and crustiness of everything.

A major reason I think they may have been ordered through Seeburg (but
without the traditional Seeburg transport) is because I can't imagine a
company who would make an MSR/H spoolframe as a "kit." ("Build your own
Seeburg H or mortuary organ, using our H roll kit").  Somebody like
Monarch could well have built them, I suppose.

It's not usual but possible that Seeburg, at one time, bought some
spoolframes from another maker to utilize in a specialized application.
Matter of fact, I don't see how original Seeburg spoolframes could have
ever been mounted in this box.  I don't think there would have been
enough room for them, with their reroll pneumatics, especially on the
H roll side of the box, to have bridged to mount them one above the
other.  And that's another interesting thing: The mounts really looked
like they were original with the spoolframes.  It's curious.

It could be that this box actually began life as some kind of in-house
testing rig from Seeburg, which served its purpose and was disposed of,
later rebuilt, things added to it, and we have it today in the form
that we see it in.  The reason I wonder is because of certain parts
that look as though they were constructed for the unit originally,
seemingly being fitted to the box it's mounted in, using the old
plywood of the day, dark around the mount screws, etc.  and much later
having been rebuilt.

Trying to second-guess this stuff is like unscrambling eggs.  I have
already said a dozen times, "Yes, it's original, No, it isn't."  I may
as well pluck petals off a daisy.  I think the answer is: there is a
lot of original stuff in that Phonogrand box that someone could sort
out and sell.  The pump and motor alone is worth a lot.  It was fun
looking at it, anyway.

Craig Brougher

(Message sent Mon 18 Jan 1999, 18:17:09 GMT, from time zone GMT-0600.)

Key Words in Subject:  Auction, Instruments, Missouri, Seeburg

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