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MMD > Archives > July 2001 > 2001.07.11 > 07Prev  Next

Total Production of Player Pianos
By Julian Dyer

Picking up recent postings of the number of players sold, I refer back
to my note in MMD 2001.04.12.  This listed the numbers of players sold
each year, as identified by the US census bureau:

  Year  All Pianos      Players

  1921    221,210       114,288
  1923    347,589       194,855
  1925    306,584       168,393
  1927    218,140        95,454
  1929    130,973        37,004
  1931     51,370         2,744

Interpolating these figures for the even-numbered years gives estimates
of player sales:

  1920                   90,000
  1922                  150,000
  1924                  180,000
  1926                  120,000
  1928                   50,000

Hence this suggests total sales for all player pianos of 1.2 million
for the years 1920 to 1929 inclusive.  That's just under half of
yesterday's MMD estimate!  My estimated interpolations are based on
the relatively sharp peak in popularity during the early 1920s, error
in the total perhaps +/- 50,000 from these estimates.

Sales 1930 onwards probably sum to no more than another 20,000 or
30,000 to date.  Industry estimates were perhaps 5000 instruments
a year during the small recovery during the mid 1930s.

Sales before 1920 were significantly lower than the peak.  Taking a
rough guess for this of perhaps 1 million suggests a total of 2 to 2.5
million players of all types overall were made by American companies.
I'll have to find out whether more US census figures are available to
improve this figure!

I wonder how many machines were made in other counties, particularly
Germany and England.  Although I would expect a fairly large number,
it's probably significantly less than the US total.

Julian Dyer

(Message sent Wed 11 Jul 2001, 11:34:02 GMT, from time zone GMT+0100.)

Key Words in Subject:  Pianos, Player, Production, Total

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