Telektra Paper Roll Reader
by Bob Billings
(reprinted from MMDigest 990107)

From: toadhall@sprynet.com.geentroep (Bob Billings)
To: rolls@foxtail.com
Date: Thu, 7 Jan 1999 08:08:21 -0800 (PST)

Subject: Telektra Paper Roll Reader

Between 1907 and 1918 the Telelectric company in Pittsfield, MA made two different all-electric piano player systems.  The earlier one was a 65-note system called the "Telelectric", and the later one was an 88-note system called the "Telektra."  Both systems were designed originally to use 3 thousandths inch thick (.003") brass rolls.

Sometime in the mid 'teens the Telektra was redesigned to use heavy paper rolls, probably due to the brass shortage during WW1.  The new paper roll reader was quite different from the old brass roll reader, and the rolls looked something like miniature standard paper rolls, including plastic end pieces.

I am looking for one of these paper roll readers.  Ideally I'd like to buy one, but at least I'd like to document it thoroughly for our next Rollography volume.  Does anyone have a lead on a reader like this?

Attached is a file showing the only known (to me!) picture of the reader.  It was scanned from a 1961 newspaper article in the Berkshire Eagle, a Pittsfield, MA local rag.

Bob Billings

 [ Click here to view the image at full-screen size  (58 KB). ]