I think the use of magnetic wire lasted a lot longer than most people would think. At my previous employer, we purchased a state of the art CNC milling center from a European company (in the late 80’s early 90’s). It had magnetic wire programing. There was a spool in the control cabinet with what I assume was the default program settings.
Great idea! The scanning bar could easily detect the holes. There's plenty of free and open source software to do the rest.
I was interested in hearing the music, but it might be fun to have a "Max" mannequin playing a piano - Hawaiian shirt and all!
it was 'only' in the late 90's that a company I was with was replacing wire recorders in a military system for a solid state version.
wire recordings were preferred over plastic tape, as thay were all but indestructible.
Oh do I remember the day when the take up spool 'broke loose' and the wire shot all over the office. health and safety had no procedures for wire recorders.... after that , it was kept behind a screen.
out of interest, if you have a wire to read, you "can" do it with a magnetic pick up and a computer. 'just' draw the wire at a constant speed, record, and correct for speed on the computer.
I see wire recorders from time to time in antique shops. I'm not sure that they're worth repairing. The sound quality is pretty bad, which is why the tape recorder blew them away almost overnight. If you have a supply of wire recordings that may be of value, I can't imagine that it would be difficult to build a player from modern parts. You could probably even compensate for the distortion caused by the wire twisting.
I've often thought of building a piano roll player since old piano rolls are everywhere and the pianos are hell to move and restore.