Recent Happenings At the Herschell Carrousel Factory Museum
from Douglas Hershberger
I met with Rae Proefrock, trustee/President, and Meg Hahin, Executive
Director, to lay out the placement of machines in our rebuilt Band
Organ Exhibit building. This building replaces the last of the current
campus' original buildings which was so dilapidated that it had to be
torn down. A historically correct reconstruction could be completed
next year. It will be devoted to the North Tonawanda Music history.
The "High Bay" building as it was known was demolished many years ago.
I'm not sure there are any photos of it except an aerial view of the
whole campus. The building was typically nestled up behind another
building (the roundhouse) and shared a wall with the closest remaining
There will be a (last, I hope) big campaign for the purchase of our
North Tonawanda Musical Instrument Works (NTMIW) band organ. We have
organs from every other builder already. That will certainly include
publicity about the dedicated building, by then taking shape. We may
also, by then, be able to make some rolls with the B.A.B. perforator.
It's operating, but not reliably enough to make a product. If it is
operating soon it would be a wonderful underscore of our credibility.
Gordon Tussing celebrated his 100th birthday in January 2018 but passed
away in April. His wife remains but, last I heard, was distraught
missing her husband of 73 years. Barbara, their daughter, has been my
contact the last couple years. She arranged a wonderful visit last
year, with much reminiscing and laughter -- the four of us.
The trombone donor is Tom Tussing. Mel visited Tom and acquired the
Rzlph Tussing trombone. Tom's granddad is Raymond, one of Ralph's
brothers. Tom told our new volunteer Mel, who worked with Tom, that
Ralph gave him the trombone when Tom was young and encouraged him to
learn to play it. I've no idea if he did. Tom is alleged to have
photographs and a lot to tell but we need to record him, as nothing
(Maybe this is a good place to state again for the record how the
Tussing family pronounced its name: not "tuss-ing" but "two-sing"
This was a big day at the museum. The woman who is stripping the 125
band organ uncovered the original lettering below two layers of paint.
Two more dates were clearly discovered inside the pump of one of our
deKleist barrel organs. We now have demonstrable evidence that the
organ was built in the first 6 months of the deKleist factory operation.
The dates on the newspaper are all May, 1893. The Tonawanda NEWS
reported on June 20, 1893, the first day of business for the new
Martinsville Organ factory. It is by no means inconceivable this
41-note barrel organ could be the first band organ built in America --
a nice piece for our museum.
The 1893 barrel band organ will be the next to play, possibly late
Doug Hershberger - volunteer
Herschell Carrousel Factory Museum
North Tonawanda, New York