THE OLD PIANO ROLL NEWS
A Publication of the Barton Player Piano Company Spring 2012
It’s a Family Affair
Restoring a player piano is generally an The day we moved the piano to South
expensive project. As the age of pianos Dakota was a memorable one. The
approaches or exceeds 100 years, the extent and piano had to be tipped on its side to get
cost of restoration often out paces the budget it out of the room and then once out of
of many individuals. Increasingly, family the house it had to be moved down a
members are combining resources to have their driveway that was almost a 30 degree
treasured heirlooms restored. Barton Piano angle to the home. Tim, a neighbor,
has recently completed and is in the process of helped us by driving his Jeep snugly up
restoring four family projects. Siblings Lisa against the piano as we slowly backed
and Richard Osman are one of the families that the piano down the hill.
are pooling their resources to restore the family
With the piano secured in the trailer,
piano. Following is Richard’s recollections of the
we headed back to South Dakota. We
took the piano to a piano rebuilder in
North Dakota. He wasn’t able to find
iblings Lisa and Richard any information on the Kranich & Bach
Osman are working together to player system, so he photographed the
preserve a rare 1913 Kranich parts and uploaded it to the internet to
and Bach player piano.
The Osman family gathered around the player piano with Aunt Doris looking
thoughtful, Richard pumping the piano and Lisa on right singing along. solicit information from player piano
“Growing up in South Dakota, Richard rebuilders throughout the country.
and I heard many stories and often Many were aware of this type of piano
dreamed about our Aunt Doris Able’s was within walking distance of the home Aunt Doris was surprised and overjoyed technology but no one had worked on
player piano that was in her home in of Microsoft founder Bill and Melinda because it hadn’t been played in nearly a Kranich & Bach pneumatic system
Washington state,” according to Lisa. Gates. 20 years. before. He came to the conclusion that
Here’s the remarkable saga of the of the this job was more than he wanted to
Aunt Doris was concerned about the Eventually, Aunt Doris was placed in an
Kranich and Bach player piano. tackle.
condition of the piano and explained that assisted living center and whenever we
Aunt Doris loved to surround herself it was probably not in working order. traveled to Washington, we would stop Richard began another search and
with beautiful artwork and collectibles However, with a few adjustments and by the house and play it for her so she contacted builders in Massachusetts.
and this piano was one of her many with a lot of leg power, we were able to could hear it over the phone. She loved He was ready to travel east when he
cherished antiques. In 2004, we had our have the Kranich and Bach filling the the sound of the player piano and often happened upon Barton Player Piano’s
first opportunity to take a trip to visit house with beautiful music. In Addition, requested certain rolls to be played. website and decided to give Mr. Barton
our aunt’s home in Washington, which we were getting some great exercise.
Family affair, to back
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If you no longer have your player
12th Annual Piano Roll
Flea Market & Movie Event
Piano Roll Flea Market $500. The suggested donation is $7,
however, feel free to donate more for
Saturday, April 14, 2012 such a worthy cause.
Barton Player Piano Co.
8:30 a.m. – 1:00 p.m.
2715-4th St. S.E., Minneapolis Movie Review—Who
Trim your roll collection or add some Framed Roger Rabbit
2715-4th Street S.E. • Suite #40
new tunes. Hundreds of new and Who Framed Roger Rabbit is an
Minneapolis, MN 55414
used piano rolls for sale from multiple American fantasy-comedy-noir film
vendors, as well as a great selection
starring Bob Hoskins as a private
of used and restored player pianos. detective who investigates a murder
Cost to vendors: $30 table/ $15 half table involving Roger Rabbit, Christopher
Loyd as the villain, and Kathleen
Turner, as the voice of the very
Movie & Organ Concert sexy cartoon wife, Jessica Rabbit.
Saturday, April 14, 2012 at 2:00 p.m. This film, by far one of the best
The Historic Heights Theatre examples of combining live action
3951 Central Ave N.E. and animation, intertwines romance,
Columbia Heights suspense, and comedy into a fun-
filled movie. And of
Barton Piano Co. is course, it includes
proud to sponsor the the Barton Player
12th annual Movie Piano Co.’s required
& Organ Concert. fantastic piano scene.
The feature film
will be Who Framed An underlying theme
Roger Rabbit. We will of the movie is the
also present a short attempt to destroy
silent film with organ Toon Town and the
accompaniment, street car system in
as well as a short order to make way for
documentary that the emerging freeway
illustrates the piano system in L.A. A
roll manufacturing timely topic, as the
process. This years Twin Cities rebuilds
proceeds will again go its rail system after
towards funding the the planned demise of
new handicap accessible bathroom the system in the 50’s.
at the Heights. Last year we raised A fun film appropriate for all ages.
Final Piano Roll Flea Market? Family affair, from front
a call. We were very excited when Mr.
Building Sold, Must Vacate Barton said he wanted to see the piano,
so we hauled the piano to Barton’s
The building at 2715-4th St.S.E. has Player Piano workshop in Minneapolis
been sold and will be torn down to in the fall of 2010.
make way for student housing. This Co.’s sponsored movie events in
development is not a total surprise since As Mr. Barton examined the piano at Minneapolis. Richard has a collection
the building is situated one block from his workshop, he was surprised at the of the black and white silver screen
a transit station on the future St. Paul excellent condition of the piano. After classics of the silent movie era. We
light rail line, but the announcement nearly a thousand miles and loading look forward to mini movie nights
still came as a surprise. It’s a little and unloading four different times, he with family and friends while the
ironic that it’s couldn’t believe how well it had stayed Kranich and Bach piano plays in the
the destruction in tune. background.
of Tune (Toon) Research shows that this Kranich
Town in reverse. Machinery Editor’s note:
and Bach will be the first rebuild of
At the time of this type of pneumatic player system Lisa and Richard picked up the piano
publication, it is in the United States. Most players on Saturday March 24. The Kranich
1986 to the
unknown where use similar in design, but the Kranich & Bach player system is indeed unique
present it has
Barton Piano and Bach kiss valves are unique. The in design and presented some interesting
been used as
will move. It is rarity of this piano makes it special and challenges, however, the end result was an
unlikely that the our Aunt Doris knew this when she absolute success. Art Munger , assistant
new location purchased the piano some sixty years player technician at Barton Piano was
piano moved into
will have a ago. instrumental unraveling the design and
the building in
large common 1998. Richard and I love music and regularly restoration process of the very unusual
area that would attend silent movie night at the Fargo Kranich & Bach “kiss valve.”
facilitate the Also anticipated
Theater in Fargo, ND. We have In addition, I doubt if this is the first
piano roll flea market, so this year’s flea in the move
also attended Barton Player Piano Kranich and Bach restoration in the U.S.
market may be the last. But as they say, is that the new show room will be
“never say never.” considerably smaller, so pianos in
the existing inventory will be sold at
The building was built by Smith reduced prices. If you are looking for
Welding Company in the early 1900s
which became Tescom Corporation after
an upgrade or know someone who is
looking for a player piano, now is the
Who Invented the Player Piano?
W.W. II. From 1973 to 1986 Parton time to buy. The question, “who invented the
player piano?” is like “ who invented
the automobile?” There just isn’t any
clear-cut answer ,for as in the the
QRS Piano case of the auto, the credit must be
divided among a number of pioneers
Roll Update in the field.
In 1863 a Frenchman named
Forneaux patented what appears
Some Good News to be the first player operating on
& Some Bad News pneumatic principles. The Pianista
formed the basis of practically all
The good news is that QRS is still later developments in the field. The
producing piano rolls at the Buffalo Chet on right. Grandson Phil on left.
Pianista had it’s American début at In 1891 William D. Parker received
N.Y. facility. They are running the the Philadelphia Exposition in 1876. a patent assigned to his employer,
production facility with one person, It is what is commonly referred to as the Wilcox and White Co., for a
down from four. Understandably, with a a “push-up” player. It operated by combination manual and paper-roll
labor force cut by 75%, there will always means of a hand crank operated piano. The first successful
Piano mover Chester LaRue, who
be gaps in the inventory, but with a automatic product of this company
delivered for Barton Player Piano Co. Alfred Dolge, publisher of Pianos
little patience, you will have a constant was the Angelus Orchestal player
for 24 years passed away peacefully in and Their Makers” suggests that
supply of piano rolls. There is even talk patented in 1897.
his sleep November of 2011. He was R.W. Pain was probably the first to
of putting out some new releases.
82 years old and was buried at Fort build a self contained player piano John McTammany, however, who
Now for the bad news….. QRS has Snelling National Cemetery. Chester in 1888. patented certain devices pertinent
restructured it’s dealer pricing making served in the army during WW 11. He to automatic organ construction
it unprofitable for Barton Piano Co. is survived by his daughter Kathy and In 1886 George B. Kelly developed
went to his grave claiming to be the
to carry new rolls in the future. We grandson Phillip. His moving career the slide-valve wind motor used to
inventor of the player piano.
purchased a large inventory before the spanned six decades. Although his cause rotation of the drive spool for
change, so there will be a great selection moving trucks always looked a little music rolls.
at the flea market. shabby, he always got the job done.
Pianos For Sale Lowest Prices in Years! Roll 2011
The Foshay Tower-
Steinway 88/65 note 1928 Chickering Ampico B The Best of Two “Jim Brickman Christmas”
player piano. Sold one, Piano and Ampico system Centuries! 1905
and we have one left. in XL playing condition. Beckwith Piano with the
2005 Amica $34.95
Don’t miss out on ths rare During the late 1920’s, revolutionary Pianomation Souvenir Roll 1. “Joy to the World”
opportunity to own one of Ampico perfected their CD system. Matching • Minnesota Moon 2. “It Came Upon a Midnight Clear”
the best player pianos ever reproducing system with bench, beautiful refinished
manufactured. Working and the “B” system. This piano walnut case. • The Foshay Tower-Washington 3. “Angels We Have Heard On High”
partially restored $5,000. expresses flawlessly. The Price reduced $8,995 to Memorial March
This is the 29th Limited Edition Xmas
Fully restored, $8,500. piano action, soundboard, $7,495. A few of these rolls still collectors roll QRS has presented. The
Includes 100 rolls. & pinblock are perfect.The available. Includes narrative arrangements are definitely arranged in
piano alone is worth double of the interesting saga of the the style of Jim Brickman (no printed
the asking price. Includes Memorial March. $21 lyrics).
100 rolls. $6,500
View more of our fine pianos on our website: www.bartonplayerpianos.com.