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." idmind.net, edited by Tina Truwe, Medford Mail, 25 Apr. 1902, id.mind.net/~truwe/tina/news1902.html. Accessed 24 Jan. 2017; "Pianola." Collins English Dictionary. , 2008. https://www.collinsdictionary.com/dictionary/english/pianol. Accessed 25 Jan. 2017; "Andrews Opera Company When Farmers Sang Opera." idmind.net, edited by Tina Truwe, Medford Mail Tribune, 12 Jan. 1923, id.mind.net/~truwe/tina/andrews.htm. Accessed 24 Jan. 2017.