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.

The time has arrived for another report on Mexico. I havejust returned from a service trip to Mexico City and to the Tepetango waterpark, which is located about an hour west of Toluca.

Several years back I went to Mexico on Delta Airlines only tofind they transferred us to a different airline from Atlanta to Mexico.

On that flight everything went wrong and I decided not to flyDelta to Mexico again. Trying to build up my frequent flyer time with Delta Idecided to try once again and booked the second half of the fiight on the sameairline.This time I found the airline to be very good and they were using fairly newaircraft. My only problem was with the return flight when the meal was served. Iasked for the beef meal and I cannot say for sure but I think the bull lost thefight in the bull ring and I ate the beef.

On arrival at Mexico City I was taken to the location of myfirst organ to service and found it in good condition. The organ belongs toGustavo Fuentes of the Hnos. Fuentes Gasca Circus. This is one of the largecircus families in South America and I had the privilege of attending theircircus after completing part of the repairs.

Unfortunately they put me in the same hotel as they did on myfirst visit to Mexico and it was the only bad part of the trip. The last time Istayed there they sold my room and when I came back after a long days work I hadnowhere to go. You can read about that episode in my earlier stories.

This time I found a dirty towel on the floor, Maintenancetools scattered about the room and the television controller would not work. Iwas on the fifth floor and no one in Mexico slept that night, as it was the weekthey celebrate their independence. All night long fireworks were going off andeveryone was singing in the streets. Between the noise outside coupled with thenoise inside it was a very long night.

After completing my work there I was picked up by two men andtransported to the Tepetango water park where I found the organ in need ofrepairs I could not make with the parts in my tool kit. There was a malfunctionof a vacuum switch and after they finished trying to repair it they not onlyneeded the switch but had ruined a transfer relay and shorted out the circuitboard in the motor control system I will be going back next week to finish the repairs and install the new parts.

The men who picked me up to take me to Tepetango were drivinga ten-year-old Volkswagen beetle which is a very common car in Mexico. Theystill build the old style beetle there and there are thousands of them on thestreets, Most of the taxicabs are beetles with the front passengers seatremoved. When you enter the cab you put your baggage in front and climb in theback seat and hope for the best. if you do not speak the language do not ridethe taxi as you will be overcharged or in some extreme cases taken somewhere androbbed.

The men transporting me ran the beetle at 80 miles per hourand faster and I was surprised it would go that fast. The trip from Mexico Cityto Toluca was over a mountain range and the road from Toluca to Tepetango wasmostly in flat country until we were near our final destination. One section ofthe highway had tollbooths and had federal police stationed outside withshotguns strapped on and pointed down. I asked why they were there and they saidthe road was operated by an outside company much the same as some of our toilroads in the U.S. are operated and they were just guarding the road.

The hotel I was taken to while at Tepetango was first class and Ienjoyed my stay there.

Now Tepetango is a first class water park with many differentpools including several wave pools and giant water slides. There isentertainment going on most of the time in the park and also in the large openamphitheater. The organ is just there for free entertainment and adds ambienceto the park. It is a model 87 Stinson with special bright colors to match theother attractions.

On this trip I decided I would not eat any food, which wasprepared with the local water, and try to escape the consequences I havesuffered on every other trip to Mexico. Every hotel has bottled water in therooms as a standard fixture. Montezuma’s revenge is the common word for thetravelers to this part of the world and I was just not going to get caught by itthis time. if our hospitals here in the U.S. would just give you a glass ofwater from Mexico they would save millions each year on fast acting laxativesand get better results.

On my second day in Mexico City I was invited to go to dinnerwith Gustavo and his friends and we went to a smorgasbord and I ate the food thereand hoped for the best.

During the stay at Tepetango I ate at the food stands in thepark and figured I was in for it. I was very fortunate to get home with noproblems and even told my wife I had finally made one trip with no problems. The next day Montezuma aimed both barrels at me and I knew Ihad lost the battle, in fact he just might have aimed three barrels at me thistime so I will just hope the beef from the bull ring was the culprit.

During my last night the men told me they would like to giveme a tour of the town we were staying in and it was an experience I could neverhave as a tourist. They drove me to the center of town and parked the Volkswagentwo blocks down a very dark Cobblestone Street and we walked to the town squarewhere the last day of the independence celebration was still going on. There wasa very large carnival set up which included the entire major rides and twocarousels with no music. A large street market was spread over the remainder ofthe downtown and everything was for sale from rag dolls to home baked breads ofall kinds.

I think I might have been the only American in the towncelebration but the men told me to relax as I was in real Mexico with realpeople and not the tourist area as in Mexico City.

Happy Mexican music was everywhere and most of the peoplethere were caught up in the celebration and had big smiles on their faces. Itwas a pleasant experience and a rare one to be able to see the people withoutall the tourist traps and I felt at home with the people in this town.

In the center of the town stood a large and beautifulCatholic Church, which we entered as a mass was being conducted. These churchesare very beautiful inside and I wish I could have taken pictures but could notwhile services were going on.

On my return trip I will take some pictures of the TepetangoPark and will submit two or three of these for the next issue.

Back at the organ factory we are in the final stages of newproduct development. Over the years we have had many people who would like to useorgans on carousels in quiet locations but felt they could not control thevolume of the instrument.

For this reason we have developed a very high quality soundsystem using a compact disc player coupled to a very high quality amplificationsystem and a small organ facade. This system sounds much like the real organ andmaintains high quality sound from extreme low volume to the sound level of thereal organ and above.

We will feature this in the next issue with completespecifications and pictures.

Another new development is our new generation organ with MIDIcontrol taking the place of the traditional music roil. This feature is verygood for commercial applications and features the Wurlitzer and Stinson music.More on this in the next issue. We still offer our organs with music roil orMIDI.

Next Band Organ Note No. 22, December 2000
Previous Band Organ Note No. 20, October 2000

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