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MMD > Archives > February 2005 > 2005.02.01 > 07Prev  Next

43 Player Piano Actions Described at Web Site
By John A. Tuttle

Hi All,  Some time ago I mentioned that Diane DeTar had sent me
numerous pages of data about player piano actions which she located
in an old AMICA Bulletin.  The title of the extensive treatise was
"Individual Mechanisms Described", by William Braid White, and it was
submitted to AMICA by Robin Pratt.  From what I could tell, the data
was originally published by Lyman Bill, in 1914, in a publication
titled "The Player Piano Up-To-Date".

After obtaining permission from Robin to publish the information at
Player-Care, I set about the task of trying to figure out the best way
to present the work on the 'Net.  Naturally, the easiest way seemed
to be to scan the pages and present them as images.  The two problems
with that approach were (a) images cannot be 'seen' or 'read' by Search
Indexes and (b) they would be difficult to link to specific locations
elsewhere at the site.  This second problem was further complicated
by the fact that the pages were, in essence, continuous, like a book.
So, the pages would have to be cut apart and pasted back together for
each player action.

At the time that I received the data, I had a good scanner and the
latest OCR (Optical Character Recognition) software.  However, after
numerous failed attempts to convert the scanned images to text files
(that didn't require hours of editing) I put the project aside,
resigned to the fact that I would have to retype every last word.
(Not a problem if you're a good typist, but a good typist I am not.)

Then, about a two weeks ago, I got a new computer and a new
scanner/printer/copier, with state-of-the-art OCR software.  Well,
within four hours all of the pages were scanned and converted to text
files.  Within a few more hours, the pages were converted to web pages,
and a few more hours later I completed the editing of the single web
page which contained all of the information.

This afternoon I finished linking each of the 43 player piano action
descriptions to the web page, "925+ Player Piano Makes & Makers, and
the Player Systems that They Installed".  To access the new information
point your browser to the URL below and look for the link that reads
'described' (in parenthesis).

Concerning this 'new' information, please bear in mind that it
originally came from a publication that was published in 1914.  This is
important because it will be obvious to some people that the data often
conflicts with service manuals and other references that were published
in the 1920's and beyond.  I found some glaring differences and was
tempted to make corrections or additions to the data.  However, after
serious consideration, I felt it would be wrong to tamper with the
facts as they were in 1914.  To access the new web page, go to:

In closing, I consider this a major addition to the available data on
the Internet concerning player piano actions, and I again want to thank
Diane DeTar for sending me the data and Robin Pratt for allowing me
to present it at Player-Care.  (By the way, if you find any spelling
errors, please bring them to my attention.  The OCR software isn't
perfect and I haven't had the time to proof-read every word.)

John A Tuttle
Brick, New Jersey, USA

(Message sent Tue 1 Feb 2005, 21:43:14 GMT, from time zone GMT-0500.)

Key Words in Subject:  43, Actions, Described, Piano, Player, Site, Web

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