Wurlitzer APP Roll Frame Types

Standard (early) APP de Kleist design roll frame.

(Photograph courtesy of Dana Johnson.)

Wurlitzer Regular Roll Frame: Early regular roll frame for 5-tune APP rolls in Wurlitzer Style I piano #12,539. This is a regular rewind type roll frame designed during the de Kleist era—before Wurlitzer took possession of the de Kleist facility in January of 1909. Here the tapered leader terminating in a tabbed metal ring (that slips over a recessed hook in the take-up spool) is partially visible. The APP roll shown is a modern Play-Rite re-cut music roll.

Early Wurlitzer APP red paper 5-tune music roll No. 203 for use with a standard 5-tune roll frame.

(Photograph courtesy of Dana Johnson.)

Early Wurlitzer APP red paper 5-tune roll #203, with a tapered leader with tabbed end piece and eyelet, meant for use with a regular roll frame. The metal eyelet slips over a recessed hook in the take-up spool. These early red paper rolls are now over one hundred years old, and consequently the paper is usually quite brittle and easily torn, making them generally unsuitable for unattended play.

Music spool bearing pinned end on an early wooden spool with wooden flanges.

(Photograph courtesy of Dana Johnson.)

Music spool bearing pinned end of an early wood music roll spool with rounded wooden flanges. The wood core is visible extending away from the flat inner side of the spool. Each end of the core is turned down to a smaller diameter forming a shoulder, whereupon a wooden roll flange is then pushed onto the shoulder and glued in place. The rounded steel pin protruding from the center of the core fits into a spring loaded bearing socket on the roll frame, which, due to spring pressure, pushes the spool rewind driving pin on the other spool end securely into and engaged in the slotted music spool driving shaft. A major disadvantage of wooden flanged spools is that the flanges are fixed on the core and cannot be adjusted to accommodate varying paper width caused by changes in humidity. Another issue is the tendency of the wood flanges to warp as the wood ages and dries out, which over time and after many plays can damage the edges of the music roll paper.

Music spool driving pin on an early wooden cored spool with wooden flanges.

(Photograph courtesy of Dana Johnson.)

Close-up of the music roll driving pin on the right end of a wooden cored roll spool with wood flanges. The steel pin projecting out of the center wooden core has been die-stamped so as to form two projecting blades. When the spool is inserted into the roll frame's music spool driving shaft these two protrusions are gripped by the slotted rewind shaft. The portion of the steel driving pin that is inserted into the wooden core is lightly serrated to keep it from spinning freely when torque is applied to rewind the music roll. The distance between the end of the wooden core and the inside surface of the roll flange is critical, because this measurement determines the alignment of the paper roll in relation to the tracker bar. This type of music spool usually has a roll fitted with a tabbed leader intended for use with regular roll frames, but has also been observed with rolls having a wire leader for use on roll changers.

Music spool bearing pinned end of a wooden cored spool with metal flanges.(Photograph courtesy of Dana Johnson.)

This second generation music roll spool design replaced the wood flanges with nickel plated stamped-steel flanges. Metal flanges remained flat during the lifetime of the music roll, and the flange on one end could also be adjusted to bring the flanges up loosely against the spooled paper. Shown is the end with the rounded pin that fits into the spring loaded music spool bearing on the left side of the roll frame. The large metal nut on the threaded center shaft is used to adjust the tightness of the adjustable flange against the spooled paper, with the flange on the other end of the spool being fixed.

Pinned end of spool with the adjustable metal flange assembly disassembled.(Photograph courtesy of Dana Johnson.)

Here the adjustable end of the spool is shown dissembled. At left is the threaded metal nut; at right is the stamped steel flange, with its outer surface facing upwards. The wooden core (on which the paper is spooled) supports the center steel shaft, and has been bored with three holes in which are inserted coil springs. These springs push the metal flange outward, keeping it against the metal nut. To the right of the center shaft is a steel pin that has been driven into the wooden core. This pin fits through one of the three small holes surrounding the center hole in the flange, so as to keep the flange from spinning freely on the spool's center shaft.

Music spool driving pin end of wooden cored spool with metal flanges.(Photograph courtesy of Dana Johnson.)

This view is of the working end of the metal flanged roll spool, showing the music spool driving pin that fits into and is gripped by the roll frame's music spool driving shaft. The flange on this fixed end is the same as the one on the adjustable side, except that on this end it is held in place by three round-head wood screws. Notice that the outer edge of the flange is rounded outward to prevent the sharp edge of the stamped steel from acting as a knife, cutting and damaging the edge of the paper during rewind. This type of spool was commonly used with both regular roll frames and with automatic roll changers.

Green waxed paper roll spooled on a cardboard core with an internal metal slip-lock clip.(Photograph courtesy of Dana Johnson.)

Green waxed paper roll spooled on a cardboard core. By the time the green waxed paper rolls came into use (circa 1918) the paper was spooled on a cardboard core as standard practice, and an interchangeable roll spool replaced the older wooden cored music spool designs. To keep the cardboard core from spinning on the spool it was "locked" to the core by a strip of wood glued to the inside of the core, which interfaced with a slot in one hub of the spool assembly. With rough handling these wood strips could be rather easily knocked loose. This issue was resolved by using a metal clip that was securely stapled to the core, an example of which is shown in the picture above. With the introduction of the cardboard core all music rolls were shipped boxed, but without a roll spool. The interchangeable roll spool was available separately for extra cost.

Six station Wurlitzer Automatic Roll changer loaded with rolls.

(Photograph courtesy of Dana Johnson.)

Wurlitzer Roll Changer: A Wurlitzer roll changer loaded with six 5-tune music rolls in Wurlitzer Style CX Orchestra Piano #14,493. Although termed a 5-tune music roll, the number of tunes varies between one and 5 tunes, with rarely as many as six. Single tune changer rolls are typically classical overtures and/or operatic selections, and occupy the entire length of the (5-tune) roll. The rolls pictured on the roll changer are of a green waxed paper vintage.

Wurlitzer APP boxed green paper 5-tune roll for a Wurlitzer automatic roll changer.

(Photograph courtesy of Dana Johnson.)

Wurlitzer green paper 5-tune roll with a special leader to accommodate a Wurlitzer automatic roll changer. Here the roll is shown boxed, with the box top off and oriented to show the roll label for roll #1173. But, as is typical for Wurlitzer rolls, the boxes get mixed up when changing music rolls, and so box labels would commonly be overwritten with a marker, in this case marked up for roll #1845.

Long Tune Roll Frame, a.k.a. 10-Tune Roll Frame.

(Photograph courtesy of Dana Johnson.)

Wurlitzer Long Tune Roll Frame: This long tune roll frame is in Wurlitzer Style C Orchestra Piano #14,727. Often called a 10-Tune Roll Frame, it plays rolls of 10, 15, and 20 tune length. However, the number of tunes per roll can varies widely, usually from one to ten. Single tune rolls, for instance, are classical arrangements of overtures and/or operatic selections and are equivalent to the length of ten regular tunes. The roll pictured is a normal looking green waxed paper 10-tune APP roll.

Wurlitzer green paper long tune roll frame roll.

(Photograph courtesy of Dana Johnson.)

Wurlitzer green paper long tune roll frame music roll. Part of the tapered leader with end tab and eyelet is visible in the upper part of the image. The paper is rolled up on a hollow cardboard core that fits snugly on the flanged hubs of an interchangeable metal roll spool. These rolls typically are of ten tune length, but the number of tunes varies between one and twenty tunes. Single tune rolls are usually an overture or operatic piece that use the same length of paper as would a standard ten tune roll filled with popular music.

Wurlitzer APP Program card.

(Photograph courtesy of Dana Johnson.)

Wurlitzer program card for APP music roll #20199. Program cards are typical for Wurlitzer-built coin pianos. For 65-note automatic player pianos and orchestrions the program card would fit into a slot, or in the case of a piano equipped with a roll changer, six or more slots were provided. The program card was located near or on the access door to the roll frame (or roll changer), so that anyone with a nickel in hand could easy see it and be enticed by the selection of music available.