Hi All, First, I'd like to thank Arthur Marino for giving credence to
my tale of the "cement" Lauter. Thanks Arthur! Why these instruments
never made the history books is anyone's guess...
Next, I'd like to address a couple of the other comments Arthur made
about the Lauter-Humana. As some of you might remember, I have stated
in this forum that I have owned eight Lauter-Humana player pianos. My
favorite player piano, the one I love most today, and the one that sits
in my living room, is a Lauter-Humana. Having owned so many of them,
and owing to the fact that Lauter sold thousands of player pianos here
in New Jersey, I've rebuilt numerous air motors.
In the earlier part of my career, I worked tirelessly to perfect a
technique for dishing the pouches. While I have never been totally
successful, I believe I know how they did the job. I believe the cloth
was 'stretched' over a vacuum-operated dishing tool that was similar in
design and function to a ring-compressor used to install pistons into
an engine block. Then, while the cloth was in this stretched state,
it was positioned and pressed tightly into the pouch well.
Next, a second part of the device, which held on to the edges of the
cloth, keeping it stretched, was lower down around the rim of the pouch
well and pressed the edge of the pouch to the glued surface. While I
can visualize the machine and how it functioned in my mind, duplicating
it for use on a small scale has proved very difficult because it
requires at least four hands.
As Arthur also noted, the striker cloth that Lauter used is better than
any cloth I've ever encountered. Although my current Lauter is now over
80 years old, the striker cloth is still extremely supple.
I once heard somewhere that the cloth was called Bylon. I have just
contacted Rutgers University about having the cloth chemically
analyzed. (I have a Lauter stack that has been sitting in my basement
for about 20 years. All of the bellows are extremely supple and show
absolutely no sign of wear or deterioration.) As soon as I find out
how to get the research done, I will send them samples.
John A. Tuttle
Brick, NJ, USA