Collector and professional musician, John Ravert, had a fire in his
living room which started in what looks like an early Steinway (?)
"doorknob" Temponamic Duo-Art. He and his wife were listening from
the bedroom to a Duo-Art roll. I guessed Steinway as the decal on
the nameboard is burned off. Also, Steinway Duo-Arts are notorious
for starting fires in their motors.
I don't know if they used an inferior motor in the Steinway model or
if people just play a Steinway Duo-Art more. I have known at least
three Steinway Duo-Arts that burned up along with the house, and one
that burned a round hole in the soundboard requiring a new soundboard
to be installed. That one was caught in time to keep the house from
Let me give all readers some advice: _Please,_ if you have not done
so, take every player pump motor to a reputable motor shop that knows
about old motors so they can pull it apart and check bearings, starter
windings, or starters as well as install new pigtails from the winding
We cannot afford to lose more top-notch reproducing pianos or even
orchestrions to motor fires. As you see in the story below, the room
that burned contained also a Violano, Seeburg G and other valuable,
historic, elegant instruments that luckily may have only sustained
As a rule very few motors need to be rewound, so fees should not
be extremely high. I have a motor shop that I use here in Alton,
Illinois, that does the whole thing for under $300 most of the time.
70% of motors need new bearings and 50% of them need work on the
starter system. You cannot replace these motors with new ones today
as new ones are not the right size, speed, or shape to fit into a grand
piano like the old one did, so take care of your original motor. A few
of them, like in Duo-Arts, need specially milled bearings and I have a
fine machinist to do that now so I can have it done cheaper than having
a motor shop make it. I have a couple made up just for those motors.
If you cannot find a shop near you to do this work, you may ship your
motor to me as some folks have in the past and I will take it one mile
to my motor shop and have them go through it to my usual specifications.
I will happily see that it is shipped back to you in refurbished
condition. It will include a new electric cord complying with modern
codes. The fee will be whatever they charge, plus shipping plus $20
for my time.
Lets protect our treasured historic instruments from needless
destruction, with whatever it takes.
Here is the story:
Doug L. Bullock
[ See also
[ -- Robbie