Pleased as punch
After completing basic assembly of the perforator on 2/27, the team has reached another milestone: We loaded “blank” paper onto the perforator and successfully punched holes into a paper roll! For this basic test the holes were random, but when arranged properly the holes can be “read” by a band organ to trigger its musical instruments and play a song. They are the “sheet music” of the organ.
Nitty gritty details
To try to give you a better sense of the mechanisms involved: There are 8 shelves to the stack. About 11 punches are operated by each shelf. We are installing the shelves (an exacting, time-consuming job) one at a time and then testing the shelf before installing another.
The brass stack is awaiting pneumatic tubing to the tracker bar. After tubing, the Machine Tester stencil will be run (that is like the test page you print out to calibrate your home printer). If performance is verified we will be almost ready to punch a “real” music roll. Before that, we must install and adjust paper trimmers (which cut a large roll of paper down to the right size to be played on the band organ) and resolve some adjustment problems with the paper tractor.
Whew! Thanks for following. Remember the museum opens April 1st.
Photo gallery from 3/3 and 3/11
See also: A perforator in action
Watch an overview of the steps involved in making a paper music roll. This video features a Wurlitzer perforator in the museum’s collection, but the concept is the same. Perforator at 0:52.