Stinson Band Organ Company
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Don Stinson's Band Organ Notes
Stinson Band Organ notes are authored by band organ architect and builder Mr. Donald Stinson. Stories includes experiences, past and present, encountered during design and repair of mechanical band organs, along with Don's unique experiences during his early days with the New York Central Railroad.

I have two very fine employees who have been with the company formany years and I'll be mentioning them in some future stories. When we build the largeorgans they are sometimes difficult to move around due to the size and weight and this iswhere this incident took place. When we are ready to put the organ on dollies to move itto another department, Mr. Niswonger will take the Johnson bar and lift one end so we can putsome blocks under it and get it up off the floor.

Now it just happened we had some women visiting the factory one daywhen we were moving an organ and they were watching the operation. When Mr. Niswonger had the organ up on the Johnson bar and anotheremployee was to put the block under it. Mr. Sherer shouted OK to set it down, so we setthe organ down on his foot which was under the end of the organ. Everyone stood back anddid nothing while he kept shouting about the organ being on his foot.

Finally after a minute Mr. Niswonger came around to look over thesituation while the women were screaming to get it off his foot. We just moved at a veryslow pace and finally lifted it so he could get his toes out.

The women were all over him asking how bad it hurt when he just smiledand informed them he had an artificial leg and foot and felt no pain at all.

We have seen him do this several times and always know what the outcomeis going to be. Everyone in our crew was happy and laughing, but the ladies were notsmiling one bit.

I will more than likely see him pull this same trick in the futuresince he has a good sense of humor.

Back at the New York Central we were attending apprentice school whichlasted one half day each week at that time. We had two brothers in the class and one of them was nearing his 18thbirthday. It was his intention to have a big celebration on the special day.

His younger brother came in the day after and told the story about thebirthday party. After things settled down at the party he told his dad he was 18 and hewas going to smoke a big cigar whether he liked it or not and proceeded to do just that.

After the cigar he then informed his father he was going down to thebar and have a drink whether he liked it or not and he also stated that when he returnedfrom the bar he was then going to show his dad he could whip him on the spot whether heliked it or not.

Well, he did go to the bar and had his drink and returned home and toldhis dad it was his turn.

At this point the old man decided they would go to the vacant roomupstairs and settle it.

The younger brother told us that for about five minutes it sounded likethe whole house was coming down when the noise stopped and the old man came down and satin his chair in the living room.

As I understand it, the 18 year old came wobbling down the steps laterwith some battle marks and a good understanding that the 18th birthday does not alwaysmean you are an adult.

About that same time we had an old electrician working there and I wasassigned to him for a few days. We usually drew the short straw and ended up down in thepit under the locomotive blowing the dust out of the traction motors and changing thebrushes if they were worn badly. I often wondered why he would always ask me to hand himthe rat killer when he wanted his large pliers and his hammer, so I asked the question andreceived the following answer.

"One day after a very large rain I was working in the pit when a big ratcame out of the vent tube and looked right at me from a short distance away. I simplythrew the hammer and pliers at the rat and killed him on the spot."

The more I worked with him the more I referred to them as rat killers and to this day I stillcatch my self asking one of my men to hand me the rat killers instead of the pliers orhammer.

I think both I and the 18 year old learned a lesson from the oldman" which has stayed with us long after those days were gone.

And so it was at the old round house.

Next Band Organ Note No. 15, April 2000
Previous Band Organ Note No. 13, January/February 2000

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