Stinson Band Organ Company
Designers of Magnificent Band Organs since 1965
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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.

The time has arrived for another trip to good old Mexico toservice our organ in a waterpark on the outskirts of Toluca. Unlike Mexico CityI feel half way safe in that area and if I have good luck and hit the greenlight everything should go well.

For you who have never traveled to Mexico I will explain howthe customs inspection works there. First you have to wait your turn until theinspection line you are in is clear of the previous person at which time youwalk up to a post with a large button. You are required to push the button andsee what color light comes up. The colors are at random and you just have tohope it comes up green instead of red. If you are lucky and get the green lightyou are ushered through and on your way. If it comes up red be prepared to openup everything for inspection and possibly pay custom charges on anything theysee fit to collect on. I have only hit the red light one time and the agentlooked at my tool kit and passed me on with no problems.

Wish me luck. If the customs donít get me the water will andMontezumaís revenge will take over.

One warm summer night I reported for work on second shift atthe Bellefontaine N.Y.C. round house and immediately noticed a great differencein the air. At that time we had mostly steam and a few diesel locomotives thatusually filled the shop with a nasty blend of coal smoke and diesel fumes. Onthis night things were different and a very nice odor was in the air.

After walking past several stalls loaded with steamlocomotives we came to one which had just been sent in and noticed it wascovered with a white substance. We determined this locomotive to be the onegenerating the very nice change in the air. It was later learned that someone paid a hard price for thesweet odor in the shop. Our foreman told us the train hit a shave cream truck at highspeed and covered the front of the engine with broken bottles containing many sweet smelling items.

During my stay at this location I was witness to many thingshit by the giant steam locomotives and most of the time they came in with littledamage but it was a different story for the auto or truck involved.

At another time a diesel locomotive hit a truck hauling halfround brass castings about the size of baseballs. The heavy plates on the enginewere beat up and the front door was caved in but the locomotive came in underits own power with no injuries to the crew. An engineer told me that the thinghe feared most was colliding with a gasoline truck with a covered wagon typediesel.

There were cooling fans mounted on the top side of thelocomotive to cool the engine and if they hit a gas truck with the fans runningit would pull the raw burning gasoline in the locomotive and there might be noway out for the crew to escape.

Then there was the story told one time to agitate a grumpyold engineer and it did the job very well. Several engineers were standingoutside one day when an employee came up and asked if they had heard about thecollision of a steamer and a circus train.

When they all said no the employee told them theinvestigators were looking through the wreckage when they discovered a deadgorilla. The first investigator turned to the second one and said" With thatsilly grin on his face and those heavy calluses on his bottom I think we canrightfully determine this was the engineer." And so it was in the old roundhouse.

Next Band Organ Note No. 18, July/August 2000
Previous Band Organ Note No. 16, May 2000

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