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MMD > Archives > July 2001 > 2001.07.13 > 01Prev  Next

Total Surviving Roll-Playing Pianos
By John A. Tuttle

Hi All,  For the past week or so, I've waited for an answer to
my question about the number of _existing_ player pianos.  So
(if Robbie doesn't change the Subject line), I'd like to try
asking the question again.

 [ John wrote in 010706 MMDigest:
 [ > Hi All -- "How many pneumatic player pianos are there?"
 [ > Seems like a simple enough question ... Wrong!
 [ Right!   :->  -- Robbie

For the record, I don't need to know many player pianos have been
manufactured since player pianos started being made.  That information
is fairly well documented.  What I want to know is:

How many 'roll-playing' player pianos still exist?

2 million?  600,000?  150,000?  Who Knows?

Over the past 25+ years, I've been personally responsible for
destroying 30-40 units for one reason or another, and I'm certain
that many other rebuilders have "set the torch" to their own share
of un-restorable units.  And who knows how many units have been hauled
to the junkyard by the owner for any of a hundred reasons?

If someone likes, we can narrow the question further, and try to
determine how many "working" and "non-working" players still exist.
Perhaps if we poll all of the player piano technicians, we can find out
how many units have been worked on over the past 30+ years.  At least
that would give us a rough estimate.  Personally, I've worked on or
evaluated over 7000 units in the tri-state area (NY, NJ, PA).  Of
those, approximately 4,000 were working when I last saw them.

Here's why I want to know.  The value of an item is typically based on
two criteria: Supply and Demand.  Right now, the market seems to be
driven only by demand.  However, if it was discovered that the supply
was much lower than anyone currently realizes, prices might start going
up to more reasonable levels.  This would make the job of selling a
rebuilding job easier since the value of the unit when completed would
be closer to the cost of the restoration.  Also, I just think it would
be "nice to know" information.


John A. Tuttle

(Message sent Fri 13 Jul 2001, 14:21:17 GMT, from time zone GMT-0400.)

Key Words in Subject:  Pianos, Roll-Playing, Surviving, Total

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