by Dr. Bill Black


The cabinet is basically divided into 2 parts, the lower part of the cabinet housing the pressure reservoir tank and the upper part housing the roll frame, air motor, stack, windchest, hoses and associated control mechanisms. In PHOTO A, we have removed the back panel to expose the shelf which holds the roll frame and air motor. In the lower left part of the photo, you can see the air motor which runs from the vacuum supply. Considering the fact that this type of air motor is common to ordinary player pianos using a rather light weight roll frame, you might think that the rather heavy duty roll frame in the calliope would be asking a lot of the air motor. But, it works very well in this application.

In PHOTO B we have removed the supply spool and the take up spool. This reveals the mass of large tubing going to the pipework and the smaller tubing which goes from the tracker bar to the stack. The Tangley plays a 10 tune type A piano roll. The A roll was commonly used in coin operated A roll pianos. The A roll has 65 holes, not all of which control playing notes. There are 58 holes controlling the playing notes, holes number 4 to number 61 and several control holes. The piano uses a hole in the music roll to control the sustaining pedal on the piano. The arrangements on the piano roll take this into consideration. The calliope has no means to use the sustaining effect programed on the piano roll. The lack of this sometimes has the effect of sounding like the note has been shut off too soon.

In order to correct this problem, the Clark Orchestra Roll Company produced a series of A rolls which were designed to play on the Tangley. When a note was to be sustained a bit, the length of the perforation on the music roll was slightly extended. Now, the music roll had 58 playing notes but the calliope only has 43 playing notes. To adjust to this, the top two playing notes on the calliope are not played automatically. This leaves 41 notes available for automatic playing on the machine from the 58 playing notes on the music roll. This problem is solved by octave coupling of some of the bass notes on the tracker bar. In PHOTO C you can see this coupling by means of using Ys in the tracker bar tubing. I made a careful diagram of this arrangement.

PHOTO D we see this vacuum reservoir which is mounted on top of the pressure tank and below the roll frame shelf. There are two inlets seen in the lower left portion of the photo. The large lower inlet is for the wind pressure from the blower. The smaller inlet above the pressure inlet is on the vacuum reservoir. The vacuum reservoir serves to stabilize the vacuum level as the demand for vacuum varies according to the demands of the playing notes and control mechanisms.

PHOTO E shows the rewind shifter mechanism. This mechanism servers to shift the roll frame from the play mode to the rewind mode and then back to the play mode after the rewind is completed. The mechanism is vacuum operated. This is what we can see from the back of the machine.

Next month we will examine the parts visible from the front.

Dr. Bill Black is one of the nation's most knowledgeble Wurlitzer band organ experts. He has made recordings of many band organs and other mechanical music machines which are available for purchase in our CarouselStores.com website.