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MMD > Archives > December 1999 > 1999.12.02 > 22Prev  Next

Autopiano with 178-hole Tracker Bar is Kastonome
By Julian Dyer

The instrument described in yesterday's MMD is a Kastonome -- the
archives have three articles indexed by 'Kastonome' which describe
this system, and one under 'Kastner' which describes the company.  The
Kastonome system can accent any single note, hence the huge number of
additional holes in the tracker bar for the accenting system.

If the instrument has an 88-note tracker bar scale, then it was made
some years after the 1905 claimed for it.  Until the early 'teens,
Kastonome systems were made with 65/88 dual-scale tracker bars, so an
88-note only version should (logically) be later.

The instrument was made by Kastner, a firm which was very active
in the UK market although its origins were in Germany.  They are an
interesting company, but for some reason modern-day enthusiasts have
little enthusiasm for them or their products.  Perhaps this is because
Kastner were more of a reseller than a manufacturer: they brought in
player actions, pianos and rolls (although they did have their own
roll-making plant in London), and labelled them as Kastner products,
or with their trading name 'Triumph'.

The Kastonome may well be their only 'own brand' product.  I don't know
who made the stacks; the ordinary players were American Autopianos.
The ordinary 88-note Kastner-manufactured rolls are the lowest-quality
rolls to be found on the brand, lacking sustaining pedal or Themodist
marking, although I suspect they are copied from Aeolian rolls because
you can sometimes detect Aeolian editing traits used for accenting
single notes in chords.  I wonder who created the Kastonome rolls;
perhaps they were based on Themodist originals as well?

I second a statement made by Dan Wilson in an earlier discussion of
these instruments: it would be very interesting to hear one of them
properly restored.  I've certainly never encountered one, working or

Julian Dyer

 [ Perhaps Inigo's Autopiano was made in 1905, and the Kastonome
 [ player was installed several years later.  -- Robbie

(Message sent Thu 2 Dec 1999, 12:51:44 GMT, from time zone GMT.)

Key Words in Subject:  178-hole, Autopiano, Bar, is, Kastonome, Tracker

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