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The Aeolian Company, New York
Universal Music Co., 29 W. 42nd St., New York
The Orchestrelle Co., London
Aeolian Co. SA of France

Aeolian_Music_Lovers_Library.jpg (64 kb)
Aeolian "Music Lovers' Library" of Piano Rolls

Based on the patents held, the Universal Music Company of New York began business circa 1905 or 1906.  Universal brands were Autograph, Metro-Art, Uni-Record.  Perfecta rolls also were punched by Universal.  There was also another Aeolian-controlled firm of the same name: Universal Music Company Ltd. of Hayes, England, issuing rolls branded as Meloto.

In spite of all the brand names and company names, the music performances were all created by Universal Music Co. in New York, or by a dependent subsidiary.  Thus the same performances may be found under several brands (usually with different artist pseudonyms).  Many Duo-Art rolls were published without the expression codes as Universal or Melodee brands.  The activities of the Orchestrelle firm in London add some confusion, because this firm made rolls from their own masters as well as from New York master rolls sent them by Aeolian/Universal.

Aeolian of France is discussed in the article, "The Coupleux Brothers & Aeolian Co. SA of France", by Douglas Heffer (MMD 020208)

Note that "Themodist" is Aeolian's name for the accenting system often installed in Pianola brand player pianos; the same system was named "Solodant" by other firms.  "Metrostyle" means that the music roll is imprinted with a continuous wavy line which indicates the paper speed; Pianola pianos were equipped with a small pointer connected to the Tempo lever, which the Pianola player (the "Pianolist") would wiggle to keep aligned with the (usually green) Metrostyle line.

Frank Himpsl wrote in 970709 MMDigest: "The 65 note rolls inscribed "Aeriol Piano" at top were the earliest Aeolian products as far as I'm aware.   Their convention of using extremely plain looking 88 or 65-note labels started very early, probably around 1905 or maybe a year or two earlier yet.   The Aeolian rolls spell out the words "Eighty-Eight Note" or "Sixty-Five Note" at the very top of the label.  Rolls which have the numerals "88" or "65" in the upper corners were not Aeolian products, but were all made by the United States Music Roll Co. of Chicago."

88U300879.gif (15 kb)
Rolls arranged by Universal artists Herman Avery Wade, Edwin E. Wilson,
Mae Brown and George Swift are prized by many collectors.

Aeolian 58-note organ rolls issued in Great Britain:

Aeo10377.gif (14 kb)Aeo30801.gif (13 kb)

Aeolian (presumed) 65-note roll not in Aeolian catalogue.  At the end is stamped FEB 16 1914.

Aeo90019.jpg (114 kb)
(courtesy John Phillips)

Aeolian 88-note with Themodist perforations and Metrostyle tempo line (metal flanges).


Aeolian France

AeoFr1792.jpg (14 kb)
The red sticker covers l'EMP

AeoFrUK_L30224.jpg (7 kb)
A green sticker at the bottom covers the UK origin.

Aeolian UK

Aeriol Piano
Artist Song Roll (Aeolian/Universal, London)
Artistyle - Artist Song Roll (British Aeolian/Universal)
Duo-Art (Aeolian Co.)
(courtesy Bill Jelen)

Aeriol Piano

Eighty-Eight Note
eightyeight30325d.gif (10 kb)

Echo 88 (British Aeolian/Universal) -- Harry Akst arranged for Aeolian/Universal in New York.
Mel-O-Dee (Aeolian)
(courtesy J. B. Roth)

Metro-Art (Aeolian)
Metrostyle (Aeolian)
Metrostyle Themodist (Aeolian)
Meloto (The Universal Music Co., Ltd., Hayes, Middx, Eng.}

Meloto (The Meloto Co., Ltd., London.}
(courtesy J. B. Roth)

Staffnote (Aeolian/Universal)

Themostyle - Aeolian/Universal 88-note for sale in Canada (metal flanges).

TS41021c.gif (5 kb)


Universal 88-note -- Early 9/inch roll with wood flanges


Universal Song-Roll -- circa 1918, with metal flanges.


22 January 2011

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