This book contains over four hundred fifty tuning scales, tracker scales and key frame layouts for player and reproducing pianos, coin pianos and orchestrions, music boxes, table-top organettes, reed, pipe, and electronic organs, barrel organs and various other miscellaneous mechanical musical instruments.
In addition to the six hundred fifty pictures and illustrations, there are capsule histories of many of the companies which produced these instruments on both sides of the Atlantic Ocean.
There are numerous informative articles on such subjects as arranging piano rolls, how to decode an unknown scale, how "nickelodeon" rolls were originally made, selecting the type of roll to be used for a new orchestrion, arranging music for barrel organs, tuning antique instruments, how rolls are perforated and detailed pictorial tours of both the QRS and Play-Rite Music Roll factories as they manufactured rolls in the early 1980s.
There's a good bit of information on player pipe organs, and for the carousel buffs, a fascinating collection of pictures of Charles Looff, the carousel builder, and many of the fine machines he made—all of which were fitted with beautiful mechanical organs.
Arthur A. Reblitz is recognized as one of the world's leading authorities on automatic pianos and organs. He is a 1968 high honors graduate of the University of Illinois with a Bachelor of Science in Music Education. Owner of Reblitz Restorations Inc., he and his employees have restored automatic instruments for many well-known private and public collections since 1964.
Mr. Reblitz is also known worldwide as a music arranger for these instruments. His work has appeared on nationwide educational and network television, the National Geographic special Treasures from the Past, in the Rose Bowl Parade, Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus, Radio City Music Hall, the 1981 Paramount motion picture Reds, and the television special Colorado's Historic Carousels.
Other books by Mr. Reblitz include The Reblitz-Bowers Encyclopedia of American Coin-Operated Pianos and Orchestrions (co-authored with Q. David Bowers; 904 pp., 2020), The Golden Age of Automatic Musical Instruments (436 pp., full color, 2001), Piano Servicing, Tuning and Rebuilding (3rd edition, 2019), Player Piano Servicing and Rebuilding (1985), and The Mills Violano-Virtuoso (co-authored with Mike Kitner, 1984).
Q. David Bowers has collected, studied, and enjoyed automatic musical instruments, beginning in 1960. In the intervening years he has written several books on the subject, including A Guidebook of Automatic Musical Instruments (1966), Put Another Nickel In (1968), Encyclopedia of Automatic Musical Instruments (1972), The Violin-Playing Machines, (2012), Encyclopedia of American Organettes (2019), and The Reblitz-Bowers Encyclopedia of American Coin-Operated Pianos and Orchestrions (904 pp., co-authored with Arthur Reblitz, 2020).
From the late 1960s to the early 1980s he was a partner in Hathaway & Bowers, Inc. (with Terry Hathaway), American International Galleries, Inc. (with Bonnie Tekstra), and the Mekanisk Musik Museum (Copenhagen, with Claes Friberg). These companies were major suppliers of—and advisors to—many of the finest private and museum collections of automatic instruments ever formed.
A 1960 graduate of the Pennsylvania State University, he is a recipient of the Pennsylvania State University College of Business Administration's Alumni Achievement Award (1976), a fellow of the American Antiquarian Association, the Massachusetts Historical Society, and the American Numismatic Society, and is a trustee of the New Hampshire Historical Society (2010-2011).