Original Location: Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
The chassis and all major components, i.e., pumps, main chest, piano, register controls, pipe chests and pipes, xylophone, and trapwork actions are Philipps, with the electrical wiring, lighting sockets, motor, coin accumulator and associated mechanisms installed by Wurlitzer. The separate, wrap-around furniture case was designed and manufactured by Wurlitzer.
The hotel name is unknown, however, the PianOrchestra is said to have been placed in the hotel ballroom.
The PianOrchestra, being intact, but in disrepair and no longer playing, was sold to a local piano tuner for $100.
According to Durrell Armstrong, Wichita, Kansas, the late Bob Nelson was a restaurant owner in Atoka, Oklahoma, who had an adjacent "nickelodeon" museum. He was apparently well known and respected throughout the area, often coming across various mechanical music devices, trading, buying, and selling them to enhance his collection. It is unknown how he happened across the 30-A PianOrchestra.
Durrell Armstrong, purchased the 30A PianOrchestra from Bob Nelson of Atoka, Oklahoma in 1958 for $300. While in Durrell Armstrong's possession, there was no attempt to restore the PianOrchestra.
Roy Haning reportedly did major restoration work on the chassis and case. The register unit valve chest (which controls what instrumentation is playing, as well providing the valve action that operates the trapwork, i.e., drums, triangle, et cetera) was rebuilt using walnut-veneered Plexiglas in place of the original wood structural components. Copper tubing, with mitered and soldered joints, replaced the original lead, brass, and/or cardboard tubing connecting the register unit to the various trapwork actions. The piano harp/backboard was reinforced with heavy steel plates added to each side to strengthen the backboard assembly.
Information provided by Durrell Armstrong, Art Reblitz and Terry Hathaway.
Circa 1914 Wurlitzer catalogue.
Art Reblitz (from his book The Golden Age of Automatic Musical Instruments).