John Hupcey was bemoaning the fact that his old Duo-Art rolls were
self-destructing on rewind. Back a gazillion years ago, or maybe 90
years ago, most player piano companies didn't care what happened to
a roll after its popularity period had expired. For classical rolls
that were always popular, the major roll companies that offered
classical rolls kept a good supply of them in stock, to replace those
older copies that had "worn out".
For a while we had a Stroud Duo-Art grand that would play any condition
Duo-Art roll with no problems. At present we have a 1933 Steinway XR
with an electric roll drive, and it too, likes to eat an occasional
original roll, when I foolishly put it in the spool box.
One day, I invited a cousin of mine to come over to our house with some
"tools". Before he retired, he was an engineer for our local Ford
Motor plant. He came over with a variety of micrometers. He measured
the lateral and vertical position of each supply chuck, take up chuck
and end of the tracker bar in the Duo-Art spool box.
He found that no pair of measurements were close. There was up to 40
thousandths off on the supply chucks. The tracker bar ends were off
and so were the take up spool ends. But there is a difference, though,
between John's spool box and ours. His supply spools move back and
forth, whereas our tracker bar moves back and forth.
The only thing that I can suggest is to take some measurements with
a micrometer to make sure that when a new straight roll is in the
spoolbox, each measurement is exact from top to bottom. And also
loosen the brake on the take-up spool during Rewind.