Tuesday, February 7, 2017

The Berry-Wood A.O.W. Orchestrion

Established in Kansas City, Missouri in 1907, the Berry Wood Piano Player Company was an early entry into the coin-operated piano field. They built very rugged, yet extravagant pianos, instruments and orchestrions. The Berry-Wood A.O.W. Orchestrion combined a piano with 34 wood flute pipes, 34 wood violin pipes, a tambourine, a triangle, a cymbal, a wood block, castanets, a bass drum, a snare drum, a marimba, metal bells and a mandolin rail all in one! This player piano operated via a paper roll and featured three stained glass panels and two decorative lamps. Because the A.O.W. Orchestrion plays 10 instruments it was perfect for use in "motion picture houses."
Even so, the company went out of business in 1920. Shortly thereafter demand for coin operated pianos increased dramatically as they became widely popular in public facilities, bars, and dance clubs or the era.
Today there is only one functional Berry-Wood A.O.W. Orchestrion (pictured here) in existence and it resides at DeBence Antique Music World in Franklin.

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