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MMD > Archives > October 2006 > 2006.10.25 > 08Prev  Next

Unusual 1919 Aeolian-Weber Themodist Upright
By John A. Tuttle

Hi All,  I've learned a lot about this piano in the past few days, and
I'd also like to thank those who sent me emails with their opinions.
I'll attempt to explain what I know for certain and give my opinions
about some other aspects of the instrument.  I'll start with some
simple things.

The Auto-Shut-Off feature is not part of the original configuration.
The most obvious proof of this is that the signal tube for the red
plastic valve block (1960's vintage) is tubed to the rectangular
Themodist hole on the left side of the trackerbar, next to the
Auto-Sustain hole.  The Themodist hole on the right end of the
trackerbar is still tubed to a 'bleeder' block on the right end of
the stack.

The Themodist levers are connected via linkage to air switches that
operate the 'bleeder' (or vent) blocks on both ends of the stack.
And, they both work, allowing the volume of the music to be reduced.

The 'mystery' lever under the keybed, that isn't connected to anything,
is connected via linkage to the damper lever in the piano action.
Pulling the 'mystery' lever (which is no longer a mystery lever) to
the right causes the dampers to lift away from the strings.  So, it's
obvious that the piano was equipped with an Auto-Sustain feature
originally.  It's my guess that the device was removed when the electric
vacuum pump was installed (probably in the 1960s).

The question arises: Why place the pump to the left of the exhauster
assembly instead of to the right, as is much more common?  I believe
the answer is simply 'convenience'.  Although I haven't seen the
backside of the reservoir yet, I'm guessing that the supply vacuum from
the electric vacuum pump is hooked into the vacuum supply flange that
was used to supply vacuum to the auto-sustain device.  It somewhat
follows that this decision may have been made partly because the On-Off
switch was located on the left side of the piano, and that that decision
was made because of the height of the air motor in relation to the
height of the spoolbox.

Regarding the type of wood, no one seems to agree.  I've received five
replies and five opinions.

I'll post more information as it become available, and I'll keep
updating the web page as the owner supplies me with more pictures and
more people send me their opinions -- which I will include sans their

Again, the page is located at

John A Tuttle
Brick, New Jersey, USA

(Message sent Wed 25 Oct 2006, 14:13:26 GMT, from time zone GMT-0400.)

Key Words in Subject:  1919, Aeolian-Weber, Themodist, Unusual, Upright

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