It's a Family Affair

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					           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
family piano.
                                                                                                                                                                                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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    12th Annual Piano Roll
    Flea Market & Movie Event
                                                                                                                                                                        My Green!
                                                                                                                                                                        and Save
                                                                                                                                                                        Go Green

    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
                                                                                                                                                                                                            (612) 378-1102

                                                     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
                                                                     occupied the
At the time of                                                                            this type of pneumatic player system          Lisa and Richard picked up the piano
                                                                     building. From
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
                                                                     a multi-tenant
unlikely that the                                                                         our Aunt Doris knew this when she             absolute success. Art Munger , assistant
                                                                     building. Barton
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.

                                                                                                                                         Christmas Collector’s
   Pianos For Sale                               Lowest Prices in Years!                                                                     Roll 2011
                                                                                                                 Minnesota Moon
                                                                                                                The Foshay Tower-
                                                                                                               Washington Memorial

  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:

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