Medford Ore Store Introduces Pianola to Music Lovers


Friday, Feb. 3, 2017


Luana (Loffer) Corbin


3 118

Music lovers in Medford were entertained in 1902 by an enterprising businessman, H. S. Coss, whose Piano House store offered a series of musicals featuring local men and women performing vocal selections and piano pieces.

One musical evening caught nearly everyone by surprise.  Its opening number featured a short talk on the virtues of the Pianola by a local druggist, opera lover and community musical activities leader, Ivan Humason.  The Pianola is a brand of mechanical-player piano.  A bellows created air pressure to press down the piano’s keys by passing the air flow through perforations on a rotating paper roll.  The perforations regulate which key is depressed and when.

Humason first selected a roll perforated to play the overture from the “Barber of Seville.”  Many in the audience had never heard a Pianola and expressed surprise that a mechanical device could produce such feeling.  Halfway through the evening, Humason played another selection and ended the evening with a ragtime piece.

The musicals continued each Wednesday to enthusiastic applause and frequent shouts for encores.

Sources: "Medford News-1902 Musicale---Coss Piano House.", edited by Tina Truwe, Medford Mail, 25 Apr. 1902, Accessed 24 Jan. 2017;  "Pianola." Collins English Dictionary. , 2008. Accessed 25 Jan. 2017; "Andrews Opera Company When Farmers Sang Opera.", edited by Tina Truwe, Medford Mail Tribune, 12 Jan. 1923, Accessed 24 Jan. 2017.


Select for Ashland Tidings: