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MMD > Archives > December 2013 > 2013.12.08 > 01Prev  Next

Wurlitzer 180 Band Organs
By Matthew Caulfield

Apropos of nothing, I am posting the following information about the
Wurlitzer 180 band organ, just because I put it together to answer
someone's query.

Wurlitzer never should have created the Style 180 band organ and the
180 roll.  But it did, bringing it on to the market at the wrong time,
in 1922.  They never sold enough style 180 band organs to make it worth
while to create music rolls for it.  Style 180 rolls were only of
8-tune length.  Not many 180 rolls were sold, I am sure; thus only nine
survive.  They are all with the Sanfilippo (ex-Jim Wells) organ, except
for roll 15070, which is owned by Tim Trager.  They are listed here on
my web site: 

Wurlitzer sold only six style 180 band organs.  In addition they
converted one Bruder to play the 180 roll.  Here are the serial numbers
of the organs:

  3439 (1922),
  3612 (1923; converted in 1932 to play APP rolls),
  1713 (the Bruder conversion, 1924),
  3765 (1925),
  4182 (1924; converted in 1936 to play APP rolls),
  4275 (converted in 1937 to play APP rolls).

As you can see, by the 1930's, Wurlitzer had no market of 180 rolls.

My theory was that the theater organ/Hope-Jones contingent at the
Wurlitzer factory talked Farny Wurlitzer into coming out with the 180
band organ.  But Art Reblitz disputes any theater organ influence,
based on his greater knowledge of organ design and construction.
Whatever the motivation, the last thing Wurlitzer needed in 1922 was
the grandiose scale and complex design that its 180 band organ

Today there are only three 180's in existence: the Sanfilippo one,
still playing 180 rolls on one tracker bar and 165 rolls on the other;
the Bies-Boehck organ, playing APP rolls, and the one in the Virginia
City collection, not playing anything.

Matthew Caulfield
Irondequoit, New York

(Message sent Sun 8 Dec 2013, 18:33:10 GMT, from time zone GMT-0500.)

Key Words in Subject:  180, Band, Organs, Wurlitzer

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