Saturday, April 04, 2009

The Last Piano Roll Ever Made

QRS Technologies has just issued its last piano roll, a recording of Michael T. Jones playing Rodgers and Hart's "Spring Is Here". From a Buffalo News article:
QRS dates back to 1900. Melville Clark, a Chicago piano designer and inventor, created a subsidiary of the Melville Clark Piano Co. based on the 88-note standard piano roll he developed.

The company changed names and hands several times — even locating for a time in New York City — before Ramsi Tick, manager of the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra, bought it in 1966. Richard A. Dolan, the current chairman of the board, bought QRS in 1987.

Mark Sommer's article makes for some fascinating reading, with a lot of history about this once thriving, now forgotten industry. QRS will now focus on developing, expanding, and marketing its Pianomation line of interactive digital products.

Update: Buffalo bloggers Mary Kunz Goldman and Howard Goldman have also written about the QRS story, and Howard has filmed Michael T. Jones playing the historic roll of Spring Is Here:


  1. Thanks for helping chronicle the demise of QRS! Here in Buffalo we are all saddened by it. Today in response to your blog I posted a video of Michael T. Jones recording that valedictory last piano roll. It's here at

  2. Thanks Mary! It's already tweeted: