MusingMuso Posted March 1, 2010 Share Posted March 1, 2010 I came across something very unexpected, while trawling through the archives of the "Pipedreams" programme from Minnesota Public Radio. I was looking for recordings of the magnificent Skinner organ in the Woolsey Hall, at Yale University, and stumbled across a fascinating programme about Skinner organs, and recordings made of them. Featured in this programme was a player-organ in a private residence known as Elm Court, on the edge of western Pennsylvania, which operates by means of a paper roll mechanism; no surprises there, you may think. However, on digging further, I discovered something utterly remarkable for the date when the organ was built, in 1929. Apparently, the perforations act pneumatically, as might be expected, but then they are converted into electrical impulses, and transmitted to what is described as "an electro-pneumatic computer" in the relay room. Not only that, the electrical impulses are apparently multiplexed to save paper roll-width. The "electro pneumatic computer" (whatever that is), apparently works away like a mad thing, converting the signals into normal, switched electro-pneumatic currents, which obviously fire up the pneumatics of unit chests; presumably of the Roosevelt type (?) Obviously, the "computer" must be some sort of electro/mechanical logic device, and without further details, I cannot comment further. Has anyone heard of this, or have any idea where the idea came from? Would it have anything in common with the Welte player-system I wonder? Was it something developed from the relatively new system of multiplexing developed by Western Union? It all sounds fairly ingenious to me, (considering the date), but then, I am a simple soul. MM Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...
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