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Indroduction to Ragtime automated products and kits - Please Read

Ragtime was founded by Ken Caulkins in 1971. The original design was to be electronic with solenoids and an 8 track or cassette player instead of pneumatics and a paper roll. Research soon concluded that the paper roll was definitely more authentic and since the recording industry was ever changing the 8 track or cassette may soon become obsolete. The decision was made to go with authenticity. Paper rolls have been around for a century now and many of the original rolls can still be used, however try to find a place that sells 8 track tape players. It looks as though the decision was a good one. Besides being authentic, paper rolls are interesting. When is the last time anyone you know spent even 1 minute watching a cassette tape go around? People watch the rolls and show their children how the holes in the paper generate a note on the piano. They soon learn that each hole represents a different action. Besides being more interesting they also last longer. Paper rolls have been known to still play after 100 years. Even the best magnetic tape can't say that. Manufacturers shouldn't confuse player piano technicians with electronics. They are already familiar with pneumatics and can easily service the authentic mechanisms. All of our band organs use vacuum and pressure to operate the pipes and other instruments anyway, so pneumatics is naturally the best choice.

You could probably count nearly 8,000 Ragtime piano conversions, not including Ragtime band organs if you knew where to look. The problem is they are mostly in private collections. Ragtime has just recently began doing international shows and expositions. You may start noticing our products in public places. Try Euro-Disney, Hollywood (Guiness) Wax Museums, Ripley's Believe It Or Not Museums, numerous Casinos in Branson, Las Vegas and Cripple Creek. The Gran Pa Pa chain in Japan now has installed four band organs in four of their stores and have just requested more. You can find our instruments in Guam, Singapore, The Aleutian Islands, The Virgin Islands, Bermuda, England, Ireland, Luxemberg, Denmark, Switzerland, Germany and we have just sold some of our largest units to a new customer in Holland. Watch for our Products at Universal Studios, Bush Gardens, Marine World and numerous antique shops through out the world. We have installed several band organs in commercial carousel operations lately. Boom Town in Nevada, City of St. Catherines in Canada, Mall of America in Minneapolis and many other Mall carousels display our band organs. The sound is good and the operation authentic. The volume can be turned down to accomodate the mall management. Extended warrantees are available, however in private use service may never be needed since the machines are built for constant commercial applications. For this reason you will find that the Ragtime service line is never too busy to answer your call. (209) 668-9704 try it! As you can tell from this Catalog, all of our products are of a unit block construction. This means that parts replacement is simply a snap! In commercial applications this is important. Down time must be kept to a minimium. A more than 5 minuite service problem would be a rare thing indeed.

MIDI has been around long enough now to be considered virtually standard and permanent. For those who long to create their own music for orchestrions or band organs an interface can be purchased which will allow playback, record and composition. Programs are available for the personal computer which can even read sheet music from a scanner. One of the programs for musical composition and MIDI interface refers to the piano roll method of composition. This is where the notes go by like a piano roll and you may edit them in real time or slow it to a crawl. This system allows you to put all your paper rolls on floppy discs and also to create your own on the computer. Direct playing of the piano and editing the music for the percussion is available too. Playrite Music Roll company is now putting all their rolls on floppy discs for MIDI interface to the roll perforator. This means that you could send your floppy disc to Playrite to produce an authentic paper roll from your floppy composition! If you only have the program and not the interface you would need to convert your MIDI file to a paper roll but if you have the playback record feature, you wouldn't have to. This system is of particular value to those building unusual instruments of which paper rolls are not yet available. We offer the Jamaican Steel Drum band organ but Island music is not yet available. We plan on producing Island music, and we are discussing it with several musicians now. One customer expressed interest in a machine that plays jungle music on hollow logs for his circus act. This is easily done with Ragtime pneumatic products but the operation must have music. MIDI files are a perfect match.

Some Ragtime customers have already added MIDI interface to their band organs and their reasons vary. Some like tapping in to an on-line library of music, while others say it's for the unlimited playing of music from their computer's hard drive. Composition would have to be a good reason for those who are musically inclined. If you desire more information on this subject you will have to call Ken Caulkins on his personal line at (209) 634-8475. We will have these products available in our catalog in the near future because they augment the piano roll, not replace it. But they can be purchased now and will be included with some of the larger band organs not listed in this catalog.

Last Update: 12/17/08
Web Author: Ken Caulkins