Electric Self-Playing Piano Co. & G. Howlett Davis
By Adam G. Ramet
In MMD 020116 Bob Kerstein enquired about the Electric Self-Playing
Piano Co. and a mention of G Howlett Davis was made. Howlett Davis
was the patentee of the technology behind the 'Electra' brand rolls
(Standard Music Roll Co NJ).
There has been a lot of recent talk about solenoid pianos vs. pneumatic
players. Davis was a firm advocate of electrically operated pianos and
electricity in general as the motive force in all of his inventions.
For the Player Piano Group's September 2001 Bulletin, I wrote an
article examining these patents generally and the whole Electra process.
Once you have read them you will know why the brand was called Electra.
Additionally I included Davis' 1906 comments on inventions, copyrights
and the rights of the inventor.
To read the article and see the pictures (which almost give you a tour
of the NJ factory!) visit my personal web site at :-
and follow the link on the main pages. Alternately, go the music
rolls, roll brands and then down to "Electra".
[ Frank Himpsl wrote that the Electra piano rolls were typically
[ terrible paper quality! See his article about the Standard Music
[ Roll Company at http://mmd.foxtail.com/MMMedia/std.html -- Robbie
(Message sent Tue 22 Jan 2002, 00:29:37 GMT, from time zone GMT.)