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MMD > Archives > November 2013 > 2013.11.03 > 06Prev  Next

Value of a Wurlitzer Orchestra Photoplayer
By Matthew Caulfield

[ Ref. Gary Goldsmith in 131102 MMDigest --

At first I doubted that Gary Goldsmith's Wurlitzer which he describes
in the 131102 MMD could be a Photoplayer, because most Photoplayers
built for theater use have eleven or so foot pedals, whereas Gary's
piano, pictured on his web site for which he gave a link, has only
three.  His web site information also shows that the piano has a serial
number 24490, plays the Wurlitzer 65-note APP roll, and has a patch on
the right side of the case.

Q. David Bowers' "Encyclopedia of Automatic Musical Instruments"
illustrates many Wurlitzer piano models, but notes that Wurlitzer's
APP pianos came in a multitude of case styles.  So appearance is no
help in identifying Gary's piano.  Searching Wurlitzer serial number
information in the Wurlitzer records housed on the Mechanical Music
Press web site did not help, because it lists Wurlitzer serial numbers
from 10,000 up to 16470 then skips to the 80,000 group.

Piano 16470 was shipped from the Wurlitzer factory December 23, 1911.
Further help in dating Gary's piano may be inferred from a chart on
page 681-682 of Bowers which lists serial numbers for Mandolin
PianOrchestras (not that Gary's is one of those).  Bowers shows piano
no. 24369 as being shipped August 13, 1916.

Although most Photoplayers in Bowers are big theater-size machines,
page 697 does describe the Style D Duplex Orchestra as being the
smallest Photoplayer made.  It appears from the picture as the size
of a standard piano.  On the same page, Bowers pictures the Style F,
having eleven foot pedals and a side case on the right-hand side
containing drums, cymbal, triangle, and numerous other percussion

But -- aha! -- on page 698 is a picture of a hotel dining room having
a small Style F Photoplayer in one corner.  It does not appear from 
the picture to have the array of foot pedals pictured on the Style F's
overpage.  So Gary's instrument could be, as advertised, a Style F
minus its side case.

Matthew Caulfield
Irondequoit, New York

(Message sent Mon 4 Nov 2013, 00:46:23 GMT, from time zone GMT-0500.)

Key Words in Subject:  Orchestra, Photoplayer, Value, Wurlitzer

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