An article in this morning's edition of the Buffalo News (01/03/09)
announced the end of piano roll production at the QRS plant in Buffalo,
New York: http://www.buffalonews.com/cityregion/story/538967.html
I had suspected something like this would happen almost two years ago
when a "Five Year Plan" had been instituted. The actual announcement
came this fall and no one was particularly surprised, although no one
has a rational reason for production to be ending. From the information
that I have heard, this year's sales figures have approximated last
year's sales figures. The roll division is in the black and paying for
itself. The building is paid for. New releases in October brought
hope of a continuation of production. The Discovery/Science Channel
had been at QRS Buffalo in May of 2008 to record a segment of "How It's
Made". We were hoping the segment would be shown before December '08,
but it seems to be still in the can.
Since I am the eternal optimist, I am always hoping for the proverbial
miracle to happen: Someone makes an offer to buy the roll division that
Mr. Dolan can't refuse; Each one of QRS's 15,000 customers calls QRS or
goes to their web site ( http://www.qrsmusic.com ) and orders two piano
rolls that they never had before, thus depleting the roll stock and
forcing production to resume; A new motion picture like "The Sting"
renews an interest in ragtime music and player pianos and the cycle
repeats once more.
It saddens everyone in Buffalo that such a day has occurred and that
an era has seemingly ended. Large old machines don't like to be moved
and even if they were successfully transported to Seneca, Pennsylvania,
there are grave doubts that the perforators could be reassembled and
made to operate again.
Best wishes for a happier future,
Mike Walter, Former Production Manager
QRS Music Technologies Roll Division
Buffalo, New York