Hi All, Although Robbie and D.L. Bullock opened the door of this
thread so wide that you could drive a truck through it, I'll attempt
to close that door and get to the topic at hand.
Vinyl is a poor choice for pouches. Vinyl and many other types of
flexible synthetic membranes have been exhaustively researched and
tested for suitability as pouches for player pianos. After more
than 30 years, no synthetic material has been found to be better than
The main problem with vinyl is it's [reduced] flexibility at
low temperatures. In that regard, it is worse than polyurethane,
polyethylene, neoprene, or natural rubber. See
In the 1990's, Story & Clark (the only company that still made a
pneumatic/electric player piano) did extensive research and spent tens
of thousands of dollars trying to find a 'suitable' synthetic material
for the pouches. (By 'suitable' I mean that it worked good and lasted
a long time.) They finally settled on Tuftane. However, within less
than ten years they abandoned the material and started using leather.
In closing, I can understand why John Cabrer thought that he had found
an answer to the age old problem of synthetic pouch materials. Just
look in the MMD Archives. Prior to May 18, 2006, there wasn't a single
posting about vinyl pouches. So, he just assumed that no one had ever
tried the material.
If you're not in the trade and aren't aware of the thousands of hours
that have gone into researching synthetic pouch materials, is it a
hideous mistake to try something about which you can find no mention?
I think not. And what's nice about the MMDigest Archives is that now,
thanks to John Cabrer, there is new information about vinyl pouches in
the Archives. So, it's less likely that others will select vinyl as
a pouch material in the future.
John A Tuttle
Brick, New Jersey, USA