As a relatively new collector (less than three years), I really enjoyed
Don Teach's "ramblings." I wish I had had more time in the 1970's to
explore the world of mechanical music. I was in school and just
starting my first job then, but I was already interested in player
pianos and the music of the 20's from listening to my grandparents'
Wurlitzer/Apollo upright player as a little kid.
I can see it was a fertile time in terms of availability of affordable
instruments, the opportunity to speak to the generation that was around
when these instruments were new, and the fact that there were many
active collectors and rebuilders then. In the era before the Internet,
one had to hit the road to track down instruments for one's collection.
In the area of reproducers, I was wondering whether Don or any other
experienced collectors have any theories as to why reproducing pianos
are especially hard to sell these days. I have noticed that what look
like some very nice pianos languish in the marketplace for a long time
with little interest shown in them. My specialty is reproducing pianos
and I eventually would like to add a Steinway OR (or LR) to my
collection. I have found the Bowers Encyclopedia a great source of
Thank you for your ramblings, Don!
[ There must be some fascinating yet-untold stories of the early
[ days of mechanical music collecting. A few are recounted in Art
[ Reblitz's "The Golden Age of Automatic Musical Instruments,"
[ chapter 10, "The Pioneer Collectors," p. 279-316. The story of
[ Jim Wells' discovery of the Heller Hoard, as reported by the late
[ Mike Kitner in an early MBSI publication and updated in the Sept./
[ Oct. 2007 issue of the MBSI's journal "Mechanical Music," is
[ another fascinating saga.
[ --Relief Editor.