Remote Control Magazine

Parts list drawing of a play-counting accumulator magazine.

(Photograph courtesy of Dana Johnson.)

Electrical Switch and Tune Accumulator Magazine for the Reproduco Player Pipe Organ. The word "magazine" refers to a collection or storage location, for which the drawing depicts a device that stores and/or counts the number of musical selections that are to be played before the instrument shuts off. For coin-in-the-slot pianos it would be a coin magazine (or accumulator), but apparently for the Reproduco it was simply a "magazine." The device represented would be perfect for remote pushbutton operation from a distant projection booth, for example, enabling the operator to both start the Reproduco and then set the number of tunes to be played. Every tap on the pushbutton would energize the electro-magnets at the bottom of the cast iron case, the first tap allowing the ratchet wheel to rotate one notch counter-clockwise and the electrical contacts to close, with each successive tap incrementing the ratchet counting wheel forward another notch to record another play. It is interesting that this device has two sets of electrical contacts, one for the electric motor that powers the roll mechanism, and the other to deal with the larger and more powerful blower motor. When the magazine unit is activated the contacts for the blower motor (the set of carbon block contacts at right) close immediately, but the contacts for the motor located inside the piano (the set of contacts at left) do not close—until a certain level of blower windpressure is achieved, whereby a small pneumatic lifts the latch that then allows the motor contacts to snap closed. When the final or last accumulated tune is finished, and the ratchet wheel is rotated clockwise one last notch into the off position, a pin on the backside of the ratchet wheel forces the contacts on the blower motor to open, which, in turn, causes the motor contacts for the vacuum pump and roll frame to open.

The above said, the Reproduco piano organs observed to date do not make use of the aforementioned magazine device. However, a cabinet style Reproduco organ exists that does use the above pictured magazine, but with an original adaptation that also allows the magazine to be tripped by means of a coin drop. The piano organs with a 10-tune roll mechanism usually have two manually operated switches (one for the roll drive and the other for the blower) located to the right, just under the organ keyboard. The piano-organs equipped with the wooden 88-note size roll frame have two levers installed in the key slip, one for roll tempo and the other controls an electrical on-off switch located on the underside of the keybed.

Reproduco tune-play accumulator magazine.

(Photograph courtesy of Richard Lokemoen.)

Looking downward at the Electrical Switch and Tune Accumulator Magazine originally installed in a late Reproduco cabinet style player organ (pipes only—no piano). The magazine device is located behind the right-side case column, which is hinged to swing outward, so as to access the roll mechanism and the tune accumulator magazine. Above the cast iron housing is the large pneumatic that interacts, by means of a long rod, with the ratchet wheel and that is used to subtract any accumulated plays. Beneath it, and partially hidden, is the smaller pneumatic that unlatches the motor electrical contacts, allowing the motor that operates the vacuum pump and roll mechanism to power up. This particular magazine is identical to the unit described above in the parts list diagram—except that, in addition to the electromagnet trip system, it also has an adaption for drop coin triggering. The cylindrical sheet metal adapter, in which a coin chute would normally be inserted, is attached to the magazine's cast iron housing at its bottom right. Curiously, the magazine unit is mounted on the framework for a coin box, although the actual coin box drawer is missing. The organ itself was never equipped with a coin slot, and was operated remotely using the electro-magnet trip mechanism in the accumulator magazine. Usually this kind of low voltage system was battery powered, but in this instance the magnet coils were wired in series with a standard light bulb for resistance, and then with a push-button, and powered by connecting to a regular 115 Volt source. But it is also obvious that the Reproduco cabinet organ was also intended for coin operation. There is a factory cut hole and screw holes in the upper right-hand side of the case (toward the front edge), in which a coin slot mechanism could have been installed, but instead had an exterior wooden plate covering the cut-out that matched the case finish. During restoration a replica Operators Coinola push-button type coin drop was added.

Closeup of a Reproduco tune-play accumulator magazine.

(Photograph courtesy of Richard Lokemoen.)

Closeup of the Electrical Switch and Tune Accumulator Magazine. For this photograph the two control pneumatics above the cast iron housing and the rod that interacts with the ratchet wheel have been removed for restoration. Amidst the tangle of electrical wires crammed into the magazine housing are the two pairs of electrical contacts, the pump and roll frame motor contact pair at left, and the blower motor contacts to their right. The two copper wire wound magnet coils at bottom trigger the ratchet wheel to power up the Reproduco organ, and with each additional electrical impulse another tune play is added (up to an upper limit of about 20 plays). The magnet armature (on top of the two copper wire coils) has a long lever attached to it that, when activated, presses down on the right-hand side of the ratchet wheel dog, allowing the ratchet wheel to rotate one tooth (for one tune play). The ratchet wheel dog also has a flat metal extension that protrudes to the right into the coin chute path, enabling a dropped coin to trigger an advance in the ratchet wheel's position.