Hello MMD readers, Just saw the posting about the Turlock,
California, music roll company, Play-Rite, which the Malone family
operated for many years.
They had a fire in 1997, and my Artcraft Rolls, which they duplicated
from masters made in Maine, were not available for 4 years. (Luckily,
I had an inventory built up, so was able to supply existing titles
for that period of time.) They began cutting rolls for me again in
mid-2000, shipping us duplicates of my arrangements every two weeks,
ending in March of 2001. The reason for this is that I had ordered an
estimated 10-year supply, featuring old and brand-new titles from my
As far as I know, Play-Rite is only doing custom duplicating these
days, with the work being done in their residence, a Moorish-style
castle built a few years ago. Mrs. Malone operates the machinery and
her son John maintains the equipment. I was told that I am the only
person ordering rolls in quantity for the 88-Note and 'reproducing'
(Ampico/Duo-Art) scales. The rest of their work is apparently for
band organs, orchestrions and various coin-operated players.
The Play-Rite name appears on my carton labels, but is not the old
factory address. Instead, it's their residential one. As far as I
know they have no outside employees and there are no plans to produce
88-Note "Play-Rite Rolls" commercially, since their masters were lost
in the fire.
In fact, my Word Rolls are going to be collectors' items soon, replaced
by song sheets packed in with the few arrangements we produce that
had imprinted lyrics. The stencil equipment was lost in the blaze,
as well, apparently. I have the word stencils here in Maine, but no
way to make use of them.
I hope this answers your questions. At this particular time, their
machinery has been disassembled for service, or conversion to another
scale. Several Ampico arrangements that are in progress here are
being held up until word arrives as to when I can ship them the master
rolls. When 2010 rolls around, I will worry again about a source of
supply, but hope that they can continue copying my arrangements in
quantity, since there are quite a few new perforating projects to be
On another subject, my 2nd (of 8) Pianola concerts takes place this
Saturday at Searsport Shores, on the Coast of Maine, 100 miles North
of Wiscasset. The 1929 Reprotone has been tuned (twice), so is
shipshape for the next program, which commences at 7:30 p.m. All
the Artcraft rolls being featured were duplicated by Play-Rite, but
edited/processed on my equipment in Wiscasset, Maine. These are
"Interpretive Arrangements", which possess graduated staccato and
a sense of "keyboard attack", so are really finding appreciative
audiences here, as they have in other situations when the public can
experience the true potential of the pneumatic player.
Artcraft Music Rolls