Dave Ramey - Monday, December 14, 2015

Earlier this month, the American Treasure Tour had a very unexpected by very exciting visit from Dave Ramey, Jr. - one of the celebrities of the automatic music world!  The Ramey name is not only very well known in the niche market of nickelodeons, but also extremely highly regarded.  Dave Ramey, Sr. started the Ramey Piano Company in 1955 to restore and maintain machines at numerous businesses and private residences throughout the Chicago region.  In 1978, though, Dave, Sr. took it to the next level with reproductions of the Encore Automatic Banjo.  They sold very well from the start, so the company also began reproducing the beautiful Seeburg "H" nickelodeon (the machine with the wooden statues of Strength and Beauty depicted on either side of elaborate art glass).

Dave, Jr. joined the business full time in 1986, after completing a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree, and bigger things came along for the Ramey Piano Company.  1994 was a landmark year for them - not only did Dave, Sr. receive a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Music Box Society, International (MBSI), but the first Banjo Orchestra was completed!  They have since made thirty of these magnificent machines that incorporate a banjo (of course), drums, piano, triangle, tambourine, and a wood block for good measure!  They make automatic music look easy, but don't be fooled.  The Banjo Orchestra is a highly complex machine that creates beautiful music!  Check out ours, right here at the American Treasure Tour.  Or buy one for your home off of their website at:  http://dcramey.com/
QUESTION:  In what year were the first Encore Automatic Banjos produced in the United States?
A)  2012
B)  1979
C)  1924
D)  1897
ANSWER BELOW

ALOHA!  In a world where satellites and cell phones make communication around the world ridiculously easy, it is difficult to imagine what it was once like.  From the beginning of time until the late 18th century, the only way to send information over long distances was very, very slowly.  By land, horses were the most effective.  By sea, a fast boat.  Often dangerous and unreliable, they were replaced by the railroad.  Then the telegraph.  The telegraph changed everything, on land and across the water.  Or more specifically under the water.  On this day in 1902, the first cable was laid along the ocean floor between San Francisco and Honolulu, Hawaii.  Next stop - Asia.

TODAY IS SPIKE JONES DAY!  Born on this day in 1911 was a baby who would grow up to be one of the funniest funny men of the 1940's (not the funniest times ever).  Born Lindley Armstrong Jones, Spike used his considerable musical prowess to help people laugh at what was going on in the world around him - no small feat considering the trials of the times, most notably World War II.  He adapted to the times after the war, and did well for himself until his early death at the age of 53.  Unfortunately, Jones was a heavy smoker, which cost a heavy toll.  But we are glad he was around!

QUOTE:  I love people that willfully defy what you're supposed to be and create theor own definitions of their selves. - Spike Jones

ANSWER:  D)  1897.  They must have been quite a sight - at a time when almost no one had electricity in their homes!