The first Ampico I ever rebuilt was done in a client's home. About
1959 Larry Mangus called me and asked if I would come from Rochester,
New York, to Middletown, Ohio, and restore an Ampico player in a Knabe
grand that belonged to a customer of his. At the time I was starting
out in business and was in the midst of a slow season and decided to
drive to Ohio and take the job.
As the job progressed, Larry assisted and I taught him as we worked
together. The owners of the piano were most congenial and we remained
friends for many years. The client had no idea that the interior of
their Ampico contained so many parts. It also helped them to understand
the complexity of the job and to know we were not charging them a huge
sum for "fixing a little hose that was leaking", like so many player
owners assume is the _only_ problem when their players stop working.
Larry was greatly impressed when the job was finished and eventually he
became a well-known Ampico specialist until his untimely death a few
Another time, I did some work on a player that was located on an island
without electricity. You haven't lived until you work on pianos by
light from a kerosene lamp! The people also had a generator that
resembled a power lawn mower. When I needed power for the vacuum
cleaner, they pushed this device around to a window near the piano,
started the generator, opened the window and connect the vacuum cleaner
to it, so I could vacuum out the dust in the piano. The family also
had a work shop where most of the gluing was done. The job went well
and the experience is fondly remembered.