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MMD > Archives > November 2011 > 2011.11.20 > 04Prev  Next

Mike Grant & Frank Himpsl as Music Roll Sources
By Matthew Caulfield

Ken Vinen is quite right that Mike Grant's perforator is the one
originally owned by George Morley in Ontario.  That perforator
originated as part of an Autotypist.  You can find out more about
the Autotypist by Googling the term.  It was not a perforator, but
George converted one section of the machine to a roll perforator.
I understand that the few rolls George made were punched on wrapping
paper of the type used for birthday and Christmas presents.

Mike Grant bought the Morley machine, upgraded it a bit, and went into
production of Wurlitzer rolls, which is the hole spacing the machine
uses.  Although Mike is an electrician by day, he spent long hours
cranking out Wurlitzer rolls both for his own use (he has an organ
playing style 125 rolls) and for sale.

In the last few years, the linkages in his perforator have showed
increasing signs of wear, until finally the linkage to hole 5, which
controls the closing of the swell shutters on style 165 rolls broke,
and that hole wouldn't punch.  While that breakdown put an end to
Mike's production of style 165 rolls, he continued to punch style
150 and 125 rolls.   Those smaller rolls don't need all seventy-five
punches that style 165 rolls require.

My last conversation (by phone, since he doesn't have email) with
Mike indicated that he was nearing the end of the road with style
125 and 150 rolls too, since more linkages were failing, and there
wasn't enough incentive for him to undertake the huge dismantling
and restoration of the perforator that would be required to make it
serviceable.  So I don't think Mike is producing any rolls these days,
although if someone has talked with him more recently than I have,
I would welcome an update.

As for Frank Himpsl's Valley Forge Music Rolls, Frank and his wife
Amanda and their two young girls have moved from Pennsylvania to
Colorado to care for elderly parents, and they had to leave behind the
laser perforator, which belongs to Donald Neilson, Sr., of Norristown,
Pennsylvania.  Frank intended to make periodic trips back to
Pennsylvania to operate the perforator, but I believe that has been
difficult to do.

On a visit to the Neilson Collection a few months ago, I saw the
perforator, but it hasn't been run in quite a while.  Donald Neilson
expressed an interest in getting someone trained to run it, but again
I don't have any recent news on that.

Time takes its toll on all things.

Matthew Caulfield,
Irondequoit, New York

(Message sent Mon 21 Nov 2011, 00:04:45 GMT, from time zone GMT-0500.)

Key Words in Subject:  as, Frank, Grant, Himpsl, Mike, Music, Roll, Sources

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