Illustrated Link to ARTCRAFT Newsletter #4 - October 16, 2000

Photo Gallery for the October '00 Newsletter

    As Summer draws to a close, we are — at this writing — in the process of closing down our 'upgrade' acquisition for seaside camping (and perforating!): a 31-foot long Salem trailer at Searsport Shores on Penobscot Bay, Maine. Fall is at its height ... while the foliage has been spectacular along Route 1 and elsewhere this year. All the perforating activites will continue in in the Wiscasset Studio, since the trailer has to be 'winterized' by October 15th; we will return on May 1st of 2001.

    In case you are wondering about our VW Campers and the Aliner (folding) trailer — shown at this address: — the answer is, "We still have them!" Short camping trips can be launched from Searsport next year, using the smaller equipment. We have no means of towing this fully-equipped trailer, since it was backed up to the woods and is facing the sea, being placed in a 'permanent' site. It is, rather, a "second home" ... a Cottage By The Sea, to quote the title of the Ian Whitcomb song in the ARTCRAFT catalogue!

Salem trailer in Searport, Maine

    At Summer's end, we had a porch deck constructed for this stationery trailer. The "perforating gazebo", formerly on the cliffs of Searsport Shores Camping, is now safely away from the ocean's spray ... for the wind and the mist often interfered with our Master Rolls, last year. We are still close enough to the rhythm of the waves, now combined with rustle of the pines, to experience the beauties of Penoboscot Bay — and our antique Leabarjan perforator, one of several borrowed from the Studio in Wiscasset, no longer suffers from surface rust!

View of Penobscot Bay from our trailer

    Looking out the trailer door toward the cliffs of Penobscot Bay. The "perforating gazebo" has since been taken down and is in the Salem trailer's storage compartment. Here in the woods, the strong winds present no problem, when inclement weather arises ... as is often the case on the rocky coast of Maine!

'ARTCRAFT North' without a porch: July 2000         AFTER: 'ARTCRAFT North' has a new porch!

BEFORE and AFTER: 'Roughing it" in July-August ... 'completed' at the end of Autumn!

Here are 2 views of the Maine Coast, from Searsport Shores:

Penobscot Bay, from Searsport Shores         View of Penobscot Bay from Searsport Shores

    With 500-900 music rolls arriving in Wiscasset, every couple of weeks, our inventory is just about bursting at the seams, but that's what we get for estimating what's needed until 2008! These are the first rolls to arrive in 4 years, since the Play-Rite factory fire took place. Once back in Wiscasset, after leaving this idyllic spot, we'll be assembling/processing backorders and getting ready to launch the Year 2000 selections, here already!

It's almost Hallowe'en 2000 ... and so ARTCRAFT presents a real

Chamber of Horrors!!!!

     Who needs Frankenstein's Monster, Dracula or the other seasonal terrors, when hideous pianos can chill one's spine?
There are, at this date, two MUTILATED Victorian upright pianos being offered on an Internet auction. (The opening bid for these "trashed" pianos is about 1/3 of a million dollars each, US currency, believe it or not!)

    Back in the 'Forties it was common to see uprights (which were often players, originally) made into tacky "pseudo-spinets" called Mirra-Piano™ and other trade-names. Some piano butcher would get a kit, reach for a saw ... and slice down an old upright, adding a mirror in front of the tuning pins ... often combined with ghastly blue paint and rounded plastic keys (as on an Italian accordion of that day).

    We thought such disgusting destruction of venerable uprights had ended, but ... here are two 'victims' shown below -- a Weber and a Berhr Bros. piano, both with the potential to have been splendid instruments before the psychedelic cabinet work took its toll.  First, the Weber:

A 1930's automobile on a 19th Century Weber? Ugh!!

And now, the disfigured Behr Bros. instrument:

A scary-looking antique piano!

    The current advertising texts for these 19th Century pianos suggests that one use them for CD album covers ... pose with a jacket slung over one's shoulder ... and the promotion also makes references to an aging rock star.

    Years ago I had a wonderful Behr Bros. piano, with a cabinet style similar to the photograph above ... with a gorgeous tiger maple veneer in perfect condition. The tone was superb and the only reason I never kept it was the absence of a player action, this being built before the Pianola era began.

    I also know the robust, organ-like sound of vintage Weber uprights ... especially from the period before The Aeolian Co. acquired the Brooklyn-based enterprise. There again one had a piano with a memorable tone quality.

    Let's hope that this LSD-like  pianoforte disfiguration ends with these 2 unfortunate instruments!

    Meanwhile ...

Happy Hallowe'en!

ARTCRAFT Music Rolls
Wiscasset, ME 04578 USA
Telephone: (207) 882-7420
Website:  [Home Page for ARTCRAFT Music Rolls]