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MMD > Archives > December 2013 > 2013.12.14 > 12Prev  Next

Wurlitzer 180 Band Organs
By Matthew Caulfield

I am indebted to many people for providing me, both on and off list,
with bits and pieces of information about Wurlitzer 180 band organs.  I
will be pulling them all together into an article to be published next
year, probably in the "Carousel News & Trader," now owned by Rosanna
and Bill Harris' Royal Bell, Inc., expanded in scope, and renamed
"Carousel & Automatic Music News."

A couple of small additions or corrections to postings on Wurlitzer
180's already published in the MMD.  Both Mikey Mills and I were misled
by the entry in the Wurlitzer Shipping Dock records that called the
European organ (serial #1713) that Wurlitzer converted to playing 180
rolls a "Bruder."  That organ is a Model 38 Ruth, not a Bruder.  The
history of that Ruth is documented by Fred Dahlinger, Jr., in an
article published in the October 2012 issue (#59) of the COAA's
"Carousel Organ."  Fred's article is accompanied by a center-spread
full-color picture of the Ruth as it exists today in Roermond, Holland.
It plays book music now.

Organ #3765 was destroyed by fire some time after it was delivered to
G. Merritt Jones, Ocean Park, Calif., on April 29, 1925.  George
Merritt Jones was a developer and entrepreneur in Ocean Park, which was
in the early 1900's an amusement park mecca.  I have written to Jeffrey
Stanton, who is an amusement park historian in that area, to see
whether he can pinpoint what post-1925 fire might have destroyed the
Ocean Park Wurlitzer 180.

Dale Rowe mentions seeing the Jim Wells 180 (#3479), the only one still
playing 180 rolls.  Both Dale and I remember it playing 180 rolls on
one tracker bar and 165 rolls on the other.  That was a non-invasive
modification made by the late Mike Kitner when he restored the 180 for
Jim Wells after they dug it out of the Heller Hoard.  I have recorded
all the 180 rolls that Jim owned, plus one that Tim Trager then owned.
I also recorded one of my 165 rolls playing on the 165 tracker side of
the organ.  I learned this past week from Art Reblitz that the 180,
which is now owned by Jasper Sanfilippo, is playing 180 rolls on both
tracker bars.  That must have been a restoration to original
configuration done by Mike Kitner when he took the organ into his shop
again for refurbishing when it was in transit from Jim Wells in
Fairfax, Va., to Jasper Sanfilippo in Barrington Hills, Illinois.
Mike Kitner did tell me at that time of one other 180 roll that I
hadn't known about, which he found among the Wells 180 rolls, when he
was working on the organ.  Jim Wells was a collector but he was no
organ or roll historian.

Enough for now.  Wait for my article.

Matthew Caulfield
Irondequoit, NY

(Message sent Sat 14 Dec 2013, 17:02:00 GMT, from time zone GMT-0500.)

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

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