Monday, May 04, 2009

I saw a truck today with the above url on the back door, and a blurb that said they specialize in player pianos and calliopes. So I had to check it out.

Ragtime Southwest is a company in San Antonio that manufactures electrified player pianos, calliopes and nickelodeons. Quite amazing. They also convert existing pianos to "players."
The original design was to be electronic with solenoids and 8 track or cassette player instead of pneumatics and a paper roll driving the Player Piano! Research soon concluded that the paper roll was definitely more authentic and since the recording industry was ever changing the 8 track or cassette might soon become obsolete when Ken Caulkins, in 1971, founded Ragtime. He made the decision to go with authenticity. Paper rolls have been around for a century now and many of the original rolls can still be used. It looks as though the decision was a good one (Try to find a place that sells 8 track tapes).
This post is not an ad. I just found their website to be quite fascinating and you might, too. Check it out for more info on all these antique, automated instruments, as well as some great photos of old player pianos, calliopes and nickelodeons.

1 comment:

  1. Very cool I had no idea they stil existed outside of museums.