For four days now, a story has stayed on The Buffalo News' "most popular stories" list. That is the story about how QRS Piano Rolls is ceasing making piano rolls and transferring most of its operations to Pennsylvania.
Well, let's say it in plain English. QRS is leaving Buffalo and moving to Pennsylvania. You can read the story here.
That is a sad truth to have to swallow. Walking through the old QRS factory on Niagara Street, you can't help but be struck by the history there. There are acres of ancient machines, built for the arcane and complicated business of making piano rolls. There are miles of conveyor belts. Old tools lying around. I saw one machine shored up by what looked like a century-old coffee can. It's no wonder the company says it will no longer make piano rolls. How could you move all this equipment? Where would you begin?
Just to give you an idea, that is a picture up above that I took myself of a QRS machine when I was there recently. I didn't know when I took that picture that the company was moving. When I found out, it made me feel very sad.
I also took the picture below, of someone's work station. I just could not get over the ambiance of the place!
QRS was one of those treasures that make Buffalo unique. We were the only place in the world that still made piano rolls. The company's museum area was full of pianos and pictures of musicians. You just felt the pride. And as far as the piano rolls themselves go, even if they were able to produce the piano rolls somewhere else, I do not think they would not have the same cachet. A piano roll made in Buffalo reflected the city's history, our old wealth, our traditional importance on the music circuit.
QRS and Buffalo made a good team for a long time. I wish it did not have to end.
-- Mary Kunz Goldman