Max Nowicki

Band organ expert

Max Nowicki
Interview Date:
May 1 2006



Born in 1920, Max has been in the band organ restoration and maintenance business, which he learned from his father at an early age, all his life. After serving as a paratrooper in World War II, he went back to work with his dad until his death in 1948. Max then took over the business, at which point there were five merry-go-rounds in Coney Island. In the 30's, band organs gave way to "book music" (folding cardboard), then paper (rolls, like those in player pianos) then eventually jukeboxes. Max often gets calls from people whose band organs were improperly fixed. One of his favorite merry-go-rounds was the B&B Carousell in Coney Island. The ride was bought by Messrs. Bishoff and Brienstein in the thirties and sold to Mike Saltzstein and James McCullough in 1973. Max recalls working for Mr. Bishoff, who cared very much about the ride and maintained it well, but he particularly seems to have enjoyed working for Mr. Saltzstein, who died in 2001 at the age of 60. Whenever Max worked on the B&B's band organ, he stayed in a room above the merry-go-round itself. Max is one of a few people who still work on band organs. When parts are required, he makes them himself at his home/studio in Connecticut. In this interview, he gives insights into the carousels of Coney Island and explains the nature of his work.

Max Nowicki passed away on February 24, 2012 at 91.