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MMD > Archives > July 2005 > 2005.07.27 > 13Prev  Next

Colby Player Piano Mechanism
By John A. Tuttle

Hi All,  First, let me thank everyone who has tried to help identify
the player mechanism in the Colby player piano, both publicly and
privately.  I have only one piece of information to add and that is
that I counted the tubes and the system has 88 notes.

I don't know if the owner plans to tear into the stack but it would
be interesting to get some pictures of the valves and pneumatics for
historical purposes.

What I find somewhat interesting (besides the things mentioned before)
is that the trackerbar tubing appears to be made of rubber instead of
lead.  It makes me wonder if rubber tubing was the 'material of choice'
before lead tubing became so popular.  Also, I get the feeling, because
of the size of the and configuration of the exhausters and reservoir,
that the maker of the player mechanism was probably involved in reed
organ, player organ, or pipe organ manufacturing before they got into
player pianos.

The 'over-built' nature of the system makes me think of German or
perhaps French engineering.  Subtle little things like using cotter
pins to connect the crank arms of the air motor and rectangular holes
instead of the much more common oval holes suggest superb craftsmanship.
I'm also impressed by the number of instances where lock screws are
used instead of less expensive leather nuts.  It's almost like the
engineer(s) said, 'You can adjust these parts, but leave these other
parts alone.'

Thanks again.
John A Tuttle
Brick, New Jersey, USA

(Message sent Wed 27 Jul 2005, 12:13:10 GMT, from time zone GMT-0400.)

Key Words in Subject:  Colby, Mechanism, Piano, Player

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