In MMD 12/3/98 Bryan Cather mentions "other odd pianos" and includes
one without a pinblock.
I have recently restored a Beale player and they have no wooden
pinblock. They use a system designed by Vader (German) which has a
full cast plate and which is about 1" thick where the pins go. The
pins have a 3/8" tapered section and are 1-1/2" long. They push in
from the back and have a locking screw which locks the taper up.
These screws are not normally set very tight, just enough to hold the
pins tight but still make then able to be turned for tuning. The back
of the player has an access cover where the pinblock normally is, which
gives access to the screws. This system makes pin replacement a breeze
-- never a problem with pinblocks, etc., and the piano stays in tune
The Beale is a very well known Australian Piano (very well known in
Australia anyway!), and are very well made pianos and players. Early
Beale's used Otto Higel player actions, but most are Amphions in either
88-note, Ampico and Art Echo formats.
Beale used Vader's design and called the early players Beale-Vader, but
soon just called them "Beale- with the Beale Patented all iron tuning
system". Perhaps they bought the patent from Vader?
Also there was a period when, I think from lack of supply, Beale made
their own Marque Ampico expression boxes of their design. They have the
Ampico valves behind the spoolbox and a semi working type of crescendo.
Looks quite interesting (I have a diagram for this one), the Beale I
have is a normal Marque Ampico type system.
The Beale factory (in Sydney) also made many pianos and players with
other names on them (trade jobs) but only the one badged "Beale" had
the Vader tuning system in them. In fact, the Palings Victor Recordo
(rebadged Laffargue from the U.S.) I have was assembled at the Beale
factory as noted by the A... serial number.
There you go -- a bit of Australian player trivia!