Hi Gang, After reading what Julie Porter has been up to and Robbie's
comments I thought I would throw my hat in the ring here.
Julie's points are very valid. Replicating a frame, if done to utmost
detail, would be great for those wanting to do a restoration. I think
there is a valid market for aftermarket frames, that are solid in
construction with modern components, for all those folks out there that
are building their own instruments. But this is coming more
impractical with the decreasing availability of rolls.
Now we enter the MIDI realm, with so many folks scanning rolls and with
many hundreds, maybe thousands, of MIDI files on the Internet. A MIDI
controlled instrument is great, and this certainly would be the choice
of commercial installations in amusement parks as it requires little
maintenance. Don Stinson of Stinson Organ Company has told me they now
provide MIDI control on all the organs they build unless a roll frame
is requested, this being done for all the reasons I have mentioned.
The ultimate machine would be one that incorporates both the music roll
and MIDI control to play the instrument. I still love to see a roll
running on a machine, but sometimes MIDI is just more practical.
On one last note, quality cast iron can still be done by some foundries.
I am lucky to have one that does the best I have ever seen and has work
from all over the world sent to him. It can be a sand cast replica or,
as I have done on Welte parts, they make a silicone mold of the
original and then cast it in plastic or wax and take that to the
foundry. It's not that expensive, either.