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MMD > Archives > December 2001 > 2001.12.23 > 02Prev  Next

Converting Orchestrelle to Play 88-Note Rolls
By Bob Loesch

I've seen several responses to this subject which refer to 'cut-down
65-note piano rolls', which leads me to wonder whether or not I've got
somewhat of an unusual Orchestrelle.

My machine, which went through the finishing shop on July 2, 1899
according to its shop tag still attached to the inside of its access
panel, has a spoolbox which is equipped with a shifter under the right
end of the tracker bar.  This consists of a lever which moves the right
spool chuck and the take-up spool about 3/4" to the right, to allow the
playing of 65-note piano rolls.  The left end of the spoolbox has its
roll-chuck in a recess drilled into the wood of the end of the spoolbox,
allowing larger-diameter longer-playing classical piano rolls to fit.
I'll try to get some photos of this.

My question to the group is have any of you seen/heard of this type of
mechanism?  Was it a factory option, or something that some clever
inventor added?

For Mr. Herr, and anyone else who might be interested, some 65-note
piano rolls play beautifully on the Orchestrelle.  When I acquired my
instrument, I was told by several supposedly knowledgeable collectors
that 'Orchestrelles are only good for playing funeral music'.  Once
mine was playing, I showed some folks that 'William Tell', 'Orphans in
Hades', and several Sousa marches can't actually be considered 'funeral
music'...   ;-)

Bob Loesch, in beautiful Lake County, California, USA

(Message sent Sun 23 Dec 2001, 17:11:06 GMT, from time zone GMT-0800.)

Key Words in Subject:  88-Note, Converting, Orchestrelle, Play, Rolls

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