Wednesday, January 17, 2018


                                                         MAKING AN ORCHESTRION
                                                                             PART 1

We have a few player pianos that have not been restored and decided to make an orchestrion out of one of them.    First we removed the player parts and fixed whatever problems existed with the piano action.


The next step was to rebuild the stack, eliminating the pneumatics not needed for the 66 playing notes  to be controlled by the O Roll we had decided to use and substituting connections for additional functions.

We obtained a Ragtime roll drive and now we are ready to start assembly.

Wednesday, January 10, 2018



                                                     NEW SILVERTONE PHONOGRAPH


We recently received a Sears Silvertone floor model phonograph.   The oak cabinet is in good cosmetic condition and the phonograph works and sounds fine.

Since most of the Sears Silverstone Phonographs were made by Columbia, I suppose this machine falls into that group.   There is no model number or for that matter any identification label anywhere that we could find, except for the Silverstone label on the underside of the lid.   From the case design, we suppose it is a 1910 to 1920 unit, but to date we have found no way to be sure of the manufacturing date.    If you have any info about this, please contact the museum at either debencemusem@verizon.net or at 814-432-8350.








Wednesday, January 3, 2018




                                       REPAIR OF A ROLLER ORGAN             PART 6


We were sent an Autophone Concert Roller Organ for evaluation and repair.

As the assembly progressed, we finally reached the point where we inserted a song and tried it.

It seems that the tangs on the end of the valves that are tripped when the song plays, are very fussy about being properly located.

The adjustments are made by bending the tangs.   When you bend them, it is easy to throw the valve faces out of good closure, so this turns out to be a fussy job.   Not only must they project the correct amount, but they must be vertically aligned to get the notes timed right.



Basically the ends must be correctly positioned both vertically and horizontally and at the same time, the valve face must meet the seat exactly.

Wednesday, December 27, 2017




                                                 REPAIR OF A ROLLER ORGAN - PART 5


We were sent an Autophone Concert Roller Organ for evaluation and repair.

All of the parts are coming together now and the base is on the case, the organettes action is dry fit and we are ready for fine tuning.



As expected, there were adjustments to get the valves to close tight and the return to start needs more work.   With any job of major repairs such as this, there are always questions about how far to go in replacing original parts.   We only replace where absolutely necessary for functionality.   In this case, the sides of the case were retained , even though their condition limits the finish we can achieve and the organettes shellacked wood was retained in spite of some unrepairable blemishes.

All the moving parts are lubricated and after some fine tuning, we will be ready to try making the covers.

This unit is looking pretty good now, but of course it will never be "like new".



Wednesday, December 20, 2017





                                                            REPAIR OF A ROLLER ORGAN
                                                                                      Part 4


We were sent an Autophone Concert Roller Organ for evaluation and repair.   With the pump and reservoir rebuilt, the valves were recovered and the mechanism readjusted to overcome some of the damage done during storage.   Hopefully, the core of the unit is now ready to be installed into the case.


More gluing of the veneer and bottom parts were required, as defects were found.




Then the job of making a base was tackled.    Once this is done we will be ready for the final assembly.

Wednesday, December 13, 2017




                                                  REPAIR OF A ROLLER ORGAN
                                                                         Part 3


We were sent an Autophone Concert Roller Organ for evaluation and repair.   After the pump and reservoir were under control, we turned our attention to the case.

A lot of loose veneer was reglued.   Then missing corner braces were installed and the missing front lower brace and related trim were made and glued in place.

The lower base and top covers were missing, so we got the material for them and cut it to size.  We are ready for the next step.




Wednesday, December 6, 2017




                                                                  Repair of a Roller Organ
                                                                                   Part 2

We were sent an Autophone Concert Roller Organ for evaluation and possible repair.   After the owner decided to go ahead, we pulled the pump/reservoir assembly and found a lot of mouse damage.


After separating the two pumps, the repair started.


The first half pump was easy.   Cut out the damaged wood.


Then glue in a patch.


Trim the patch and this half pump is ready.