by Dr. Bill Black


This month we will install the top of the calliope and do some preliminary work to prepare to tube up the pipework nipples.

PHOTO A shows the calliope with the internal parts installed except for the calliope keyboard.

In PHOTO B we have placed small pieces of tape on each of the linkage fingers and the fronts of the windchest nipples. On the linkage fingers, the pitches which correspond to the stack valve which will operate that particular note on the music roll (and the corresponding note on the keyboard) and the corresponding pipe of the machine are marked. Tangley marked each pipe on the machine numerically, starting with the largest pipe (lowest pitch) marked number 1.


The pipes are marked in sequence throughout the music scale. The tape on the windchest nipples is marked in sequence starting at the left side with number 1. We will need this information when we begin to attach the rubber pipes to the nipples on the top of the machine. This will allow us to check the tubing to each pipe against the pitch marked on the linkage fingers.

In PHOTO C, we have attached the brace which mounts to the underside of the top and connects the sides of the case to each other. The smaller brace provides a support for the middle of the keyboard to be mounted later.


PHOTO D shows the top of the case installed. This is a heavy piece of metal with a slight lip on the keyboard side. We have previously painted this top when the rest of the case was painted. The threaded nipples for the pipes were soldered into the top by Tangley. These were checked to be sure none had broken solder joints before painting. These threaded nipples were plugged with paper to prevent the paint from getting on the threads.

In PHOTO E, we have applied masking tape and marked the number of the pipe which will be inserted into the nipple. Since the pipework is arranged on the top so as to present the most pleasing appearance and not in numerical order, a diagram of the pipe layout was carefully noted during the disassembly of the machine. The larger pipes have larger toes and corresponding nipples on the top of the machine.

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.