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Reproduco Piano-Organ
mfd. by Operators Piano Co.
compiled by Robbie Rhodes
data courtesy Hal Davis, Art Reblitz and Don Teach

logic5.gif (11 kb)

reproduco_TB1.gif (30 kb)
Illustration from Operators Piano Co. literature reproduced on page 163 of
"Rebuilding the Player Piano", by Larry Givens, (C) 1963 by Vestal Press.

The basic "Reproduco" model may be described as a piano that also includes one full rank of 61 flute pipes plus a short rank of 37 quintadena pipes.  Similar instruments were also made by Wurlitzer and Seeburg.  Operators Piano Co. also built the "Unified Reproduco" player organ that played music rolls of 15.25 inches width.

Styles OS and NOS music rolls (11.25" wide, 9 holes/inch) for the Reproduco piano-organ were supplied primarily by Columbia/Capitol.  10-tune rolls similar to Coiniola style 'O' rolls were offered, as well as single tunes mounted on player piano style spools.

The playing notes are on channels 13 to 82.
The piano plays 70 notes, channels 13 to 82, A to F-sharp.
The organ plays 61 notes, channels 16 to 76, C to C.
The treble hammer rail lift reduces the hammer travel distance of piano notes Middle C and above.
The function "piano off" moves the long hammer rest rail so close to the strings that the piano
    is effectively silenced or "muffled".
The tracker bar has 94 holes, spaced 9 holes/inch.
Middle C sounds at channel 40, same position as 88-note piano roll.

Don Teach examined a Reproduco which uses channel 87 to control an accenting device.  Some late production style 'O' rolls use a similar channel to accent the cymbal.  A Coinola SO orchestrion (that plays the style 'O' rolls), displayed in the legendary Svoboda's Tavern in Chicago, was equipped with a little pneumatic that exerts additional force to aid the reference spring on the suction regulator (at the vacuum reservoir), which causes the regulated suction to increase throughout the instrument.

Tony Marsico reports that a Super Reproduco he examined had an original mandolin device installed just like seen in most Coinola instruments, using hard wood paddles struck by the hammer shanks.  The device is shifted sideways to enable or disable it.

  12 diapason
  49 flute
  37 quintadena
  98 pipes total

Super Junior Reproduco:
  41 stopped diapason
  32 open flute
  49 viola diapason
  37 quintadena
159 pipes total

Super Reproduco:
  41 stopped diapason
  32 open flute
  49 viola diapason
  37 quintadena
  49 vox humana
208 pipes total (also xylophone 30 notes)

Art Reblitz describes the disposition of the pipes in the Reproduco:

    There is a continuous scale of 61 flutes, starting with the 12 stopped flutes on the back (C-B), the next 12 stopped flutes inside the case (C-B), and the remaining 37 open flutes in the treble (middle C-C).
    The "diapason" stop tab turns on the 24 stopped flutes as one "rank," and the "flute" tab controls the 37 open flutes as a separate "rank."
    The "quintadena" tab turns on 37 quintadena pipes playing the same notes as the open flutes (middle C-C).
    Very rarely, 37 skinny scale metal violin pipes take the place of the 37 quints. The flute & quint combination is what provides the characteristic "Reproduco" sound, however.

    The Reproduco has a "piano muffler," a big pneumatic that lifts the hammers all the way to the strings to mute the piano. Almost all OS/NOS rolls keep it actuated all the time, so the piano hardly ever plays. Collectors often swap the control tubes so the piano will play most of the time.

    Reproducos are musically fun and versatile, and a good way for a beginning collector to have an instrument with pipes at relatively low cost.

Art writes that enjoyable audio recordings of Reproduco music are included in "Speakeasy and Silent Movie Pianos, Vol. I.", available from Marion Roehl Recordings,

Catalog illustrations

Reproduco Piano-Organ -- Instructions and List of Parts

MIDI file (59 kb) of  "Yes! We Have No Bananas", piano roll QRS 2272, played by Pete Wendling.  The MIDI file arrangement is adapted to sound a little bit like a Reproduco with xylophone.

Many tracker scales and key frame layouts are included in "The Golden Age of Automatic Musical Instruments," copyright 2001 by Arthur A. Reblitz, and in "Treasures of Mechanical Music," copyright 1981 by Arthur A. Reblitz and Q. David Bowers.

29 June 2003

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