John Bernat Letter to the
Knight Campbell Music Company

Note to Knight-Campbell Music Company, Denver, Colorado, about getting a new motor for the Wurlitzer PianOrchestra.

(Photograph courtesy of Beverly and Roger Phillips)

This letter is fairly conclusive evidence that John Bernat purchased the Wurlitzer Style 32A Concert PianOrchestra from the Knight-Campbell Music Company, of Denver, Colorado. However, there still remains the question as to whether this letter was actually sent, or not. Moreover, a Perme family member suggested that the handwriting is too good to be that of John "Bernat" Perme, and so it might have been written by one of his children. Adding to the mystery, the electric motor in the PianOrchestra to this very day is the exact same motor as described in the above note, Holtzer-Cabot Electric Company's No. 154558. Maybe the alleged motor problem was resolved by simply plugging the electric cord back into the wall outlet, whereupon it was realized that a new motor was not needed, and the above note never sent. Whatever the case, this note is, nonetheless, an interesting artifact and it does seem to resolve the mystery of where John Bernat got the mighty Wurlitzer PianOrchestra.

Of note, one other Wurlitzer PianOrchestra sold by Knight-Campbell Music Company still survives. It is a Wurlitzer Style 30-A Mandolin PianOrchestra, and was sold in 1914 to Laura Evens of Salida, Colorado. Laura was a very colorfully outspoken and relatively famous Madam, with a far reaching reputation. The elegant looking Mandolin PianOrchestra stood nearly 10-1/2 feet tall and was quite an attraction in Laura's parlor, providing toe-tapping musical entertainment for her well-to-do patrons.

Nameplate for the original Holtzer-Cabot Electric Company motor used in the Wurlitzer Concert PianOrchestra.

(Photograph courtesy of Dana Johnson)

Nameplate for the original Holtzer-Cabot Electric Company motor installed by the Wurlitzer factory in the Wurlitzer Style 32-A Concert PianOrchestra. The smoky cast and crackling of the original black motor finish is due to the tremendous heat it was subjected to during the disastrous Cohen collection fire in 1979. Notice that the serial number of 154558 corresponds with the description in the above note addressed to the Knight-Campbell Music Company, Denver, Colorado

Fire damaged Holtzer-Cabot electric motor originally installed in the Wurlitzer PianOrchestra.

(Photograph courtesy of Dana Johnson)

The original Holtzer-Cabot Electric Company motor after suffering the consequences of tremendous and sustained heat and smoke, and then finally a shocking water dousing by the fire department. Since this picture was taken, sometime during the early 1990s, the motor has been thoroughly cleaned up, re-painted and electrically re-wound, thereby essentially making it as good as when it was brand new.