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MMD > Archives > August 1998 > 1998.08.25 > 12Prev  Next

Production Dates of 65-Note Player Pianos
By Julian Dyer

Rick Inzero is right in pointing out the famous 88-note standard
agreement, as described in a 1911 article.  AMICA originally printed
this some time back in the 1970s, or possibly even earlier.  I don't
know when the article was uncovered, but probably it's been known to
researchers for a long time.  I copied it in the PPG bulletin a few
years back, from the AMICA Technicalities (there's good stuff in
there).  It has also been reprinted in the AMICA Bulletin and then
in the MMD.

However, the article is a bit misleading.  Although the convention
it refers to was held in 1911, the standard itself dates back to 1908,
agreed at a convention in Buffalo, according to the books that mention
it.  The 1911 one was a re-iteration of an already agreed format.
I don't recall ever seeing an article reporting the original 1908

Rick could well be right that the magic year is 1911, in that
reiterating the agreement shows the industry was at last getting
serious about the 88 note standard.  We know from more recent times
that standards take some time to be implemented, and it's naive to
assume everyone started making 88-note rolls in 1908 when the agreement
was hot off the press.

What I was interested in was the actual take-up of the standard, and
the abandonment of the 65-note instrument.  I've seen little, if any,
proper evidence for this.  It would be nice to pin it down with piano
trade reports saying something like 'xxx have introduced their first
full -- scale player' -- a bit like the news snippets reprinted on the
cover of the AMICA bulletin last year about the introduction of the
Duo-Art in 1914.

Julian Dyer

 [ I'd sure like to post a replica of the 1908 (or 1911) Agreement at
 [ the MMD web site.  Where might I get a photocopy of it?  -- Robbie

(Message sent Tue 25 Aug 1998, 12:23:34 GMT, from time zone GMT+0100.)

Key Words in Subject:  65-Note, Dates, Pianos, Player, Production

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