Hi All, I want to thank Paul Manganaro for the information he posted
about Lauter in yesterday's MMD. As soon as I read his article,
I walked briskly to the living room and checked the plate of my
Lauter-Humana (serial number 49963). Sure enough, there was a
five-digit number embossed on the plate, which was made by Kelly.
Using the method described by Paul, the number (25625) indicates that
my Lauter was made in 1925, not 1915 as indicated in the Pierce Piano
This is disturbing information because it means that I have been giving
out erroneous manufacture dates for over twenty years. :-( It also
makes me wonder about another piece of information about Lauter that
I heard back in the 1970's. I was told that there was an article in
the New York Times, in the late 60's, that stated that Lauter-Humana
players with serial numbers between 30,000 and 50,000 were "the best"
regular player pianos ever made in America.
Judging strictly from the condition of the many Lauters I've
encountered, as compared to the relative condition of other makes of
similar age, I have never been able to find fault with the claim made
in the Times. In fact, the striker pneumatics on my Lauter are still
very supple, the ivories are pearl white, the finish is relatively
clear, and the tone of the bass register puts many small grands to
shame. All this from an instrument that is 75 years old (revised from
85, which correlates to the serial numbers listed in the Pierce Piano
I did go to the NY Times web site in hopes of searching through the
Archives, but, unfortunately, their on-line Archives only go back to
1996. So, if anyone has any more definitive information regarding
Lauter-Humana players, I would appreciate hearing what you know.
John A. Tuttle
Brick, NJ 08724