Pictured without its case, this machine represents perhaps
the most complex home entertainment device of its day. Using the push
button tablet at the far left, any of the ten rolls could be selected to
play. Some concertolas had multiple tablets so that the organ roll
player could be controlled throughout the home. If continuous music
was desired, the "Program" button was pushed and all rolls would play in
order. At any time, the user could push the "Repeat" button, and the
roll that was playing would continue to repeat.
A vacuum pump, which cannot be seen, is located in the
base of the machine. The vacuum powers all operations of the concertola.
The electric buttons only program the vacuum system. Two vacuum powered
wind motors are used. One wind motor operates the drum holding the
rolls. That drive train is a worm gear arrangement. The other operates
the roll drive mechanism. Since organ rolls are marked to play at
various speeds called "Tempo", an automatic scheme of setting the tempo
is present in this machine.
At the very bottom of the picture, is a fan accordion pneumatic
with variable width segments. This four segmented accordion can set
the tempo of the roll. It responds to special roll perforations that
precede the beginning of the music. One feature unique to the concertola
is that the roll is wound backwards on the lower spool. It can be seen
above. In 1929, this concertola cost $3,500.