by Dr. Bill Black


This month we will take the frame apart and make any needed repairs.

In PHOTO A, the trackerbar has been removed and taken apart. The unit is composed of four pieces, the front portion which reads the roll, the back plate with the nipples for the tubing and two mounting brackets. The parts have been cleaned and polished. The front part is removable by means of brackets, one on the top and another bracket on the bottom of the back plate. These slide back and forth by means of slots and screws. The front portion also has screws which engage other slots which are positioned at an angle so that as the brackets are moved sideways, the trackerbar is drawn down against the back plate to create a seal with the back plate. Both these parts are faced with a leather gasket. We use a fine mesh screen between the two parts to trap the paper dust from the music roll. This arrangement allows the removal of the bar to clean off the screen.

In PHOTO B we have removed a portion of the frame exposing the gears. The previous owner had new gears made for the frame at some point. There is no visible wear on these gears since the pneumatic system became inoperative later and for many years the calliope was played by hand. The frame is closely inspected for potential problems. The large lower gear which drives the takeup spool had a problem (PHOTO C). This gear is retained on an axle by means of a set screw which rides in a groove in the axle. It is a loose fit on the axle so it can free wheel when the frame is in the rewind mode. The set screw is a bit undersize for the groove in the axle and allows the gear to wander back and forth on the axle. This situation creates the possibility of the gear wandering to the left enough to begin to engage the teeth of the clutch during the rewind phase and lockup the frame. The solution to this problem was to cut a small groove in the axle and insert a E type spring clip in the groove to limit the travel of the gear to the left. This work was done at Bob Ryeskys Machine Shop. We also noted that one of the holes in the wheel which contacts the brake shoe was not quite in the center of this wheel. When the wheel rotates, the was quite a bit of wobble on the shoe. Bob repaired this by means of a bushing in the hole.

In PHOTO D the various parts of the frame have been removed, cleaned and sprayed with metallic silver paint. Then a clear coat is applied which helps make the silver more durable.


In PHOTO E, the other parts of the frame including the gears have been cleaned, some painted with the silver finish and others just with a clear finish. The entire frame was reassembled along with the supply and take up spools so that the operation of the frame could be checked.

Dr. Bill Black is one of the nation's most knowledgeble Wurlitzer band organ experts. He has made recordings of many band organs and other mechanical music machines which are available for purchase in our CarouselStores.com website.