After hearing it said many times, I must register my protest at calling
player pianos early computers.
Even a basic computer performs an arithmetic function or calculation,
which a player does not. A player is more like a relay (the valve)
controlled by a switch, just 88 times arranged in a tuneful pattern.
The Duo-Art is an excellent example of a digital-to-analog converter
though. What a coincidence that these are called D-A converters!!
But a D-A converter is still not a computer. Admittedly the D-A (the
Duo-Art one) does use binary codes but a computer does a mathematical
function with these codes. Also players don't give you as many
headaches as computers! :)
Anyway I have had my 5 cents worth -- we don't have 2 cent coins in
[ One might argue that the Ampico A performs addition: the hinged
[ board with the intensity force-pneumatics adds the leveraged forces
[ of the discrete (binary) commands together with a force created by
[ the crescendo logic. It is a "mechanical analog computer", as is
[ an engineer's slide rule. (Yes, I still use mine!). But it's true
[ -- no one ever called these devices "computers", any more than
[ office adding machines were called computers!
[ I'm now working at a NASA research facility, where I read recently
[ that the ladies who reduced the telemetered aircraft data in the
[ '40s and '50s were called "Computers". They worked with graph
[ paper and slide rules, and often labored all night to present a
[ report the next day in "Engineering Units". Nowadays the radio
[ signals are piped directly into the ubiquitous computer and
[ displayed instantly. -- Robbie