Mechanical Music Digest  Archives
You Are Not Logged In Login/Get New Account
Please Log In. Accounts are free!
Logged In users are granted additional features including a more current version of the Archives and a simplified process for submitting articles.
Home Archives Calendar Gallery Store Links Info
MMD > Archives > December 1998 > 1998.12.23 > 16Prev  Next

Unknown Origin of Used Player Piano Parts
By John A. Tuttle

Hi D. L.,  I do hope 'collectors' like yourself are in the minority.
I don't have a lot of used pieces but I know where they came from and
have marked them accordingly.

What I'm attempting to do is find those pieces that are either very
generic or very specific, such that they can be easily refit into
existing units without an extreme amount of effort.

It goes without saying that every player piano ever built (until the
60's) was completely hand-fit and therefore, some amount of 'adjust-
ment' will be required to accurately place the 'used' part into it's
'new home'.  Conversely, there are many parts that can easily replace
missing parts with almost no modification, i.e., air motors, tracker
services, auto-sustain mechanisms, bass and treble soft devices.

Certain manufacturers, like Standard and Simplex, sold their player
mechanisms to dozens of different piano makers and the stack was
constructed in such a fashion that adapting the stack to the scale
design was really no big deal.  Fact is, the spacing between the notes
on virtually all upright actions is almost identical.  And with regards
to lower sections, I've never encountered any difficulty swapping one
for another.  Slight adjustments and a few new screw holes and you're
back in business.

It is, however, imperative that the name of the manufacture, the
general specifications and any other specific identifying 'marks' be
made known, since simply stating that you have a stack from an upright
would be useless.

Some of you might be wondering what stimulated me to undertake this
venture.  It's simple.  Recently, Ed Gaida advertised that he had an
entire player assembly from a Kimball player.  I bought it.  It cost me
about $180.00/w shipping.  In ONE road call, I made that money back and
then some, and I still have more than 20 unit block valves, all the
controls, the roll drive assembly and other odds and ends.

There are hundreds of old Kimballs still around, just in my area.
There are thousands of circa 1960-1980 Aeolians, and probably 1/4
million Standard and Simplex units still in existence.  Wouldn't it be
nice to have an extra set of Simplex valve/pneumatic blocks or an extra
100 Lauter valve blocks at your disposal?  Or maybe a couple hundred
Aeolian block valves?

The list of desirable parts is extreme.  From the very common to
the very unique.  I know I'd like to have access to that database.
That's why I want to create it.  I realize I'm not going to get rich
by bringing parts and pianos back together.  Fact is, it might be a
losing venture.  But as my Father and his Father and his Father have
said, "Nothing ventured, nothing gained".

I think it's sad that you have spent numerous dollars storing and
moving tons of used player pianos parts from place to place.  But
frankly, I have no sympathy to give.  You obviously thought they were
of some value to your business or you wouldn't have bought them.  From
where I sit, it sounds like you're having second thoughts about your
own decisions.  I'm merely trying to help you out of an otherwise
wasteful situation.  Do you feel it's worth your time to categorize,
label and list the stuff you have?  Only you can answer that question.

In closing, I have three signs that are within arms reach of where I'm
now sitting.  They read: "Conceive, Believe, Achieve", "Positive Mental
Attitude" and "No Excuses".  I'm quite proud of the fact that in the
face of all who attempted to discourage me, I've created a successful
web site and have now become one of the largest (if not the largest)
Internet roll dealers in the world in just two short years.  I don't
allow myself to be discouraged by what other people believe to be the
truth.  And if I'm proven wrong, I'm the first to admit it.  I believe
there are numerous technicians and player piano owners who would love
to have access to a database of available used player piano parts.  If
you'd like to contribute to the list (and possibly unload some of the
tons of stuff you have), put that list together and send it to me.

Send it to:


John A. Tuttle (

Key Words in Subject:  Origin, Parts, Piano, Player, Unknown, Used

Home    Archives    Calendar    Gallery    Store    Links    Info   

Enter text below to search the MMD Website with Google

CONTACT FORM: Click HERE to write to the editor, or to post a message about Mechanical Musical Instruments to the MMD

Unless otherwise noted, all opinions are those of the individual authors and may not represent those of the editors. Compilation copyright 1995-2024 by Jody Kravitz.

Please read our Republication Policy before copying information from or creating links to this web site.

Click HERE to contact the webmaster regarding problems with the website.

Please support publication of the MMD by donating online

Please Support Publication of the MMD with your Generous Donation

Pay via PayPal

No PayPal account required

Translate This Page