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MMD > Archives > July 2005 > 2005.07.20 > 02Prev  Next

B&B Carousel Band Organ
By Matthew Caulfield

Dear Lisa,  I can give you a couple of names of people who are _very_
interested in that organ and are now worried about what will happen
to it.  But first let me correct two points.  Be sure when referring
to the carousel to spell the name "B&B Carousell" (with two L's).
That was its unique spelling.  Usually carousel is spelled "carousel,"
occasionally "carrousel."  But Bishoff & Brienstein spelled their
ride's name with one R and two L's.

I found this bit of history by a Google search:

 "I found no date for this ride's creation, although it ran for an
  undetermined amount of time in New Jersey before it was moved to
  Coney Island.  Most sources state that the ride arrived here in
  1932.  It was at this time that the fourth (outer) row of horses
  was removed to accommodate the ride at its new location.  The ride
  has 36 jumpers, 14 standers and 2 chariots.  The beautiful Gebruder
  organ still cranks out classic carousel tunes while the ride is
  spinning.  This ride is one that gives a hint of what Coney was
  like during the "nickel empire." The ride was bought by Mr. Bishoff
  and Mr. Brienstein in the thirties and sold to Mike Saltzstein and
  James McCullough in 1973.  Since then Mike operated and maintained
  the carousel while his partner ran an independent kiddie park."
  [ ]

The reference to the organ in the quote as a "Gebruder organ" is a
common mistake.  It is a Bruder organ.  The mistake is rooted in the
fact that the name of the German company that made is the organ is
Gebrüder Bruder (translated, Bruder Brothers).  Non-German speakers
mistake the family name Bruder for the German word for "Brothers" and
therefore assume that the family name was Gebrüder.  In fact it is just
the opposite: the German word for Brothers is Gebrüder, and the family
name was Bruder.  So it is a Bruder organ, or -- to give it its full
official name -- a Gebrüder Bruder Elite Apollo organ.

The other thing I would correct is your impression that, when you
saw the organ in the 1980s, it was playing the folded cardboard "book"
music that it was made by Bruder to play.  The organ was converted by
the B.A.B. Organ Company of Brooklyn to play its 66-key paper rolls,
probably soon after it was brought into the U.S.  Book music is not
widely available in the U.S. and is very cumbersome to use in a
commercial setting like Coney Island would present in the 1930s.

(One small point, perhaps a typo, is the spelling of the name Mangels.)

As you doubtless know, Mike Saltzstein died suddenly July 4, 2001, his
death being discovered when the carousel didn't open for the Fourth of

Here is another quote off the Internet that indicates that, while the
band organ was imported from Europe, the carousel was a Mangels
creation, as you doubtless know:

 "The B&B Carousell was built by William F. Mangels who maintained
  a shop on West Fifth Street of Coney Island.  The 36 jumpers, 14
  standers and 2 chariots were carved by George Carmel who lead
  the development of the "Coney Island" school of carousel carving.
  Mangels used a system of decoration with extensive beveled mirrors
  and a patented overhead transmission with direct gear connection
  which created a beautiful gliding motion. Mangels also preferred
  the spelling "carousell" for his creations.

 "The ride was originally located in New Jersey before coming to
  Coney Island in the 1930s when it was purchased by Mr. Bishoff and
  Mr. Brienstein. Later, in 1973 the B&B Carousell was sold to Mike
  Saltzstein and James McCullough."
  [ ]

The people to contact for more information about the Bruder Elite Apollo
organ on the B&B Carousell are Larry Villano <> and Jeff
Alterman <>.  Both are crazy about that organ.

Matthew Caulfield
Irondequoit, New York

(Message sent Wed 20 Jul 2005, 19:29:58 GMT, from time zone GMT-0400.)

Key Words in Subject:  B&B, Band, Carousel, Organ

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