Friday, July 30, 2010

Player Piano on Steroids

I believe I have seen it all, now. On display at The World Museum of Mining is a player piano on steroids.

The contraption below is The Seeburg Style H Solo Orchestrion.That's right, it's a band inside a piano. This one is set up to run off of coins, but I think that may be a later addition. If you're totally interested in how the mechanism works, you can click on the link above. The above site also has a photo of the original sales brochure. The photo on the brochure shows how these machines looked new. The Seeburg in Butte has had the front panel replaced with clear glass, so you can watch it play. I'm all for that, however the original panels are very beautiful, so I recommend checking that out.

While one of the most awesome experiences of my life, I only had one regret, not bringing some ear plugs. It's a pretty loud machine. It may be set up that way so everyone can hear it no matter where they are on the museum premises. Since the museum is a copy of an 1800s mining town, visitors are outside and can be scattered throughout a large area. I did find a note about calliopes and apparently they were loud, so could be that's just how these machines were built.

Even so, I'm really glad I got to see one of these machines in action.

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Hilary said...

What a cool instrument.. and a funny post title. :)

Unknown Mami said...

Very cool!