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Restorers and Manufacturers of Automatic Musical Instruments

Cremona Orchestral J

The Marquette Piano Company, the first of the Chicago-based automatic piano builders, introduced its largest orchestrion, the Cremona Orchestral Style J, about 1912. Cremona orchestrions were beautifully designed with bird’s-eye-maple veneered interiors and art glass windows of assorted colors and clear beveled glass reminiscent of the works of architect Frank Lloyd Wright. The windows would offer an enticing peak of the moving mechanisms inside the lit interior, giving Cremona instruments a unique quality. They are considered by many collectors to be among the most attractive orchestrions, both inside and out.

This model plays the Marquette style M music roll, an orchestrion roll using QRS player-piano arrangements, specially orchestrated for Cremona solo orchestrions, styles J, K, and 10. Marquette was one of the first to use QRS and its large library of popular music played by favorite artists of the day to make orchestrion rolls. M roll arrangements can stand up against the best of its competitors, including the popular Capitol style O, and sophisticated Seeburg H arrangements.

This style J was fully restored by D.C. Ramey Piano Company in 2005, one of the last orchestrions restored by Dave Ramey, Sr. It contains a piano (with mandolin attachment) that has a solo mechanism to allow featured instrument solos, two ranks of pipes (32 each, flute and violin), 19-note Una-Fon bells, snare drum, bass drum with tympani effect, tambourine, castanets, cymbal, and triangle, all with automatic expression control. It is truly a delight to both ears and eyes.  Purchase includes twelve re-cut Style M music rolls (more are available).

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