The tracker action on a steam calliope is much stiffer than that of a pipe organ. The last tracker steam calliope I performed on (Gentry Twin steam calliope, 32 note, Thomas J. Nichols Sons 1936, performance July 1999). was a little bear. Hardest I ever laid hand to! Of course the other one I have experience with (Sparks Bros, 32 note, Thomas J. Nichol, 1927)was tough but, not nearly as bad. I almost made it thru the "12th Street Rag", Vic Tooker style. Just had to slow it down a bit, as fast jazz chords become sloppy when strength starts to run low.
I am glad to hear the Str. President (Str. Capitol) calliope keyboard was saved. I was heart broken when I heard Miner MFG. had electrified the instrument and added the player system. That instrument was the last totally authentic Thomas J. Nichol 28 note instrument left (in performance condition).
Now it languishes, waiting for an uncertain fate.
The Str. Admiral calliope, as I have heard is in Capt. William Carroll's garage. This was the disposition I was told by Capt. James R. Blum when he was aboard the Str. Belle of Louisville back in the early 1980's.
It was my understanding the calliope was removed in 1976 (lore has it the calliope came down of her own accord when when the boat had an allision with the Eads Bridge...I could believe this, as it was the highest mounted appurtanance on the vessel, and rather vulnrable up there)and last played in 1971. Do you know if these dates (and info) are correct?
I have heard it had made a few outtings with an air compressor attached to it in the early 1980's. But, that is where the trail runs dry on it.
Thanks for the information.
Should you ever find the recordings you have of the Str. Admiral steam calliope, I would gladly pay for copies to add to my collection. Most the good older stuff I have is of the Str. Delta Queen (early 1960's, 1 in particular is really fun, Gaylord Carter playing a patriotic medley in KY Lake Lock on the 4th of July) and of course the 1960 Doc Hawley recording aboard the Str. Avalon.
Am I starting to come off as a "calliope snob"?