Reproduco Music Roll Mechanisms

Roll frame for Standard Reproduco Player Pipe Organ #282965.

(Photograph courtesy of the Stevens Mortuary, Altoona, Pennsylvania.)

Roll frame for Standard Reproduco Player Pipe Organ #282965. This piano organ was configured for the mortuary trade, with a simple windmotor powered wooden roll frame tubed to play the small diameter OS (Organ Series) or NOS (New Organ Series) music rolls. The vacuum source was a wood frame four-way rotary pump and windpressure was generated by a blower, both housed in a remote soundproof cabinet.

10-tune roll mechanism for a Standard Reproduco Player Pipe Organ.

(Photograph courtesy of Art Reblitz.)

10-tune roll mechanism for a Standard Reproduco Player Pipe Organ configured for the theatre trade. This setup plays the large diameter OS (Organ Series) or NOS (New Organ Series) music rolls that are spooled on a 3" core, and make use of a standardized flanged interchangeable metal spool. The electric motor is belted to both the vacuum pump and the roll frame. The pump is the vacuum source needed to operate the player mechanisms, and a remote blower provides windpressure for the pipework. Curiously, this Operators commissioned photograph shows a combination vacuum/pressure pump, and not the type of unenclosed vacuum only pump normally installed above the keyboard. This type of four-way rotary pump is incapable of supplying sufficient "wind" for the pipework in any Reproduco organ.

10-tune duplex roll system for a Standard Reproduco Player Pipe Organ.

(Photograph courtesy of Art Reblitz.)

10-tune duplex roll system for a Standard Reproduco Player Pipe Organ configured for the theatre trade. In this setup there is no room for a vacuum pump above the keyboard, and so a more or less standard wood frame four-way rotary vacuum pump is installed alongside the blower in a separate soundproof cabinet. The pump and blower are powered from the same electric motor, with the pump belted around a small pulley on the blower's motor shaft. In the duplex arrangement shown here one roll plays through to the end and then the roll frame shifts into rewind, while the other roll mechanism shifts into play mode. This provides a continuous flow of music without any annoying interruption during the rewinding of a music roll.

(Photograph courtesy of Richard Lokemoen.)

Roll mechanism in the Reproduco Cabinet Style Player Organ #0527. The roll mechanism is a standard 10-tune type as used in the standard Reproduco piano-based organ players built for theatre use. The stepped pulley on the roll frame allows for a speed change to accommodate both OS and NOS music rolls. The NOS rolls track forward at a much slower speed than do OS rolls. The casework column partially obscuring the roll mechanism is hinged and can be opened and swung out of the way, thereby allowing full and easy access to the roll frame. The wooden shelf that supports both the vacuum pump and the roll mechanism is similar, if not identical, to those used in many standard piano-based Reproduco player organs. The serial number for the organ is located on the front edge of the support shelf, about midway between the pump and the roll mechanism.

Wooden frame roll mechanism in the console of a Reproduco Unified Mortuary Organ #288711.

(Photograph courtesy of Jim Quashnock.)

Wooden frame roll mechanism in the console of a Reproduco Unified Mortuary Organ #288711. This simple roll frame is powered by a windmotor to its right. This roll unit plays the small diameter 134-hole Unified Mortuary Organ music roll, which is wound on a flanged player piano type spool. A pair of sliding wood doors can be used to conceal the roll playing mechanism when not needed.

Closeup of the roll frame and its 134-hole wide brass tracker bar.

(Photograph courtesy of Mike Mount.)

Closeup of the roll frame and its 134-hole wide brass tracker bar. Here a fully spooled Unified Mortuary Organ roll has been inserted, but not yet hooked to the take-up spool so as to reveal the tracker bar. Behind the tracker bar face some of the rubber tubing going to the vacuum operated valve chest is visible.

View of the Unified Mortuary Organ's roll mechanism from above.

(Photograph courtesy of Mike Mount.)

View of the Unified Mortuary Organ's roll mechanism from above. The roll frame, with a music roll in place, is midway on the roll frame shelf. The windmotor that powers the roll frame is just beyond the roll frame, with its little wooden pitman arms plainly visible along the top of the windmotor. The pitman arms connect between the crankshaft and the vacuum operated motor pneumatics that provide the motive power. The tracker bar tubing can be seen trailing away from the roll frame and connected to a valve chest manifold.

Capitol music roll leader with label for a Unified Mortuary Organ.

(Photograph courtesy of Jack Conway.)

Capitol music roll leader with label for a Unified Mortuary Organ. This single tune roll, No. 303, contains a rendition of Ave Maria by Schubert. Unified Mortuary Organ rolls tend to be single tune, but for short selections 2 or more tune rolls have been observed. The metal loop at the tip of the roll leader is to be placed over a small hook on the take-up spool.

Roll mechanism in Reproduco Unified Theatre Organ #283561,

(Photograph courtesy of Jack Conway.)

Roll mechanism in Reproduco Unified Theatre Organ #283561, A wood door can be slid shut when the roll player mechanisms are not in use. The organ plays the 15-1/4" wide Reproduco Unified Organ Music roll.

Unified Theatre Organ roll mechanism.

(Photograph courtesy of Jack Conway.)

Unified Theatre Organ roll mechanism with a roll played well into the first tune. The Unified Reproduco Organ Music roll in the upper part of the roll frame is wound on a 2-1/2" cardboard core, which slips onto an interchangeable flanged metal spool. The bottom spool is the take-up spool. The music roll is 15-1/4" wide with a matching tracker bar of 134 holes.

Right side of the Unified Theatre Organ roll frame.

(Photograph courtesy of Jack Conway.)

Right side of the Unified Theatre Organ roll frame. The left hand end of the music roll spool fits into a slotted socket, so that the roll frame gearing can rewind the music roll. Once the spool is seated in the slotted socket the other end, which terminates in a pin shape, is aligned with a tiny cup shaped hole machined into the end of a metal shaft fitted with a knurled knob. This metal rod and knob is located in the upper middle part of the photograph. Using the knob, the shaft can be easily moved in or out, and when the spool is properly aligned the knob is pushed in and then locked in place. What locks it in place is the long threaded horizontal rod with a right angle bend at the outer end (it is basically a long thumbscrew).

Looking over the roll frame in the Unified Theatre Organ.

(Photograph courtesy of Jack Conway.)

Looking over the roll frame in the Unified Theatre Organ. The large pneumatic in the foreground shifts the roll mechanism transmission gears from play to rewind. Below it is a thin black painted metal oil shield, to prevent oil from gears being thrown onto the pneumatic. Just below the front of this oil shield the two-stepped belt pulley for the roll frame power is partially visible, with a round leather belt threading its way downward to an Emerson 1/8 HP motor located below, which is also quipped with a similar two-step pulley. By moving the belt to a different pulley groove the tempo of the music can be increased or decreased. Splotches of excess oil and grease stain the sheet metal drip tray mounted under the roll frame transmission, put there to catch dripping lubricants and prevent them from soaking into and damaging the underlying wooden roll frame support shelf and other components.

The Emerson electric motor that powers the roll mechanism in the Unified Theatre Organ.

(Photograph courtesy of Jack Conway.)

The Emerson electric motor that powers the roll mechanism in the Unified Theatre Organ. Made by The Emerson Electric Mfg. Co., it is motor number X63727; 220i Volt; Type 64615 KZ; 1.9 Amps; 1150 RPM; 1 Phase; 60 cycle; and 1/8 HP. This little motor is located below the roll frame and has no function other than supplying power to the roll frame via a slender round leather belt. Notice that the two-step pulley has two separate v-shaped belt grooves, the innermost groove having a larger diameter than the outer groove. In this photograph the belt is running in the outer or smaller diameter groove, and so by moving the belt to the inner and larger diameter groove the tempo of the music will be increased by a set amount. A similar two-step pulley on the roll mechanism also allows for tempo adjustments.

Capitol Unified Reproduco Organ Roll No. 518.

(Photograph courtesy of Jack Conway.)

Capitol Unified Reproduco Organ Roll No. 518, Very Latest Snappy Hits.
1. What Do You Say.
2. I Don't Believe You.
3. Is She My Girl Friend ?
4. After My Laughter Came Tears.
5. Wobbly Walk.
6. All My Life.
7. Mary.
8. Sh ! Here Comes My Sugar.
9. Sunshine.

In this photograph the music roll leader has been pulled over the tracker bar and hooked to the take-up spool, with the leading edge of the music roll label over the tracker bar. The Capitol Music Roll Co., 721 N. Kedzie Ave., Chicago, Illinois, is the address of the Operators Piano Company factory.

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