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Jun 2 09 12:30 AM

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Hello,

Last Edited By: Pablo Oct 14 13 1:08 AM. Edited 2 times

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#1 [url]

Jun 2 09 8:53 AM

Hello Paul,

that looks like a very special instrument you have.

the player action is definately german. It's not Hupfeld as far as I can see, but I my knowledge of other systems is to little to say what it is.
foot pedals as well as an electric pump would make it some kind of reproducing or expression piano. but the trackerbar seems quite normal to me. if it's indeed a reproducing piano then probably some of the highest and/or lowest notes might be omitted and those holes used for expression functions.
when the type of system is determined you can get a tubing diagram more easily, but variations do excist, sometimes it's even impossible to find a similar instrument, but if it's a common system it shouldn't be that much of a problem.

-- Phonola 73-note vorsetzer (in restoration) -- Steck pedal electric Duo-Art (in restoration too) -- Citroën Dyane (drives great, but needs restoration too)

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#2 [url]

Jun 2 09 11:41 AM

Hi Paul, I don't think any metal tubing is missing. It is possible that there were extra holes drilled when it was new but not all the holes were used. Sometimes you find players which have only 80 or 85 playing pneumatic notes but the trackerbar that reads the music is always the standard 88. The rubber tubing has fallen away at certain places but should be quite easy to connect together. It may be a basic German "expression" system piano but (because it has a "Standard" action) is more likely an American concept. There are a few different brands to investigate. The roll you have in the photo looks like a QRS "Automatic" to me but the trackerbar layout is just an ordinary tracker bar. The take-up spool has an automatic shut-off mechanism. Have a look at all the piano rolls that came with the player to see if there are any clues - otherwise I think it is just a regular player with an electric pump that's all.


regards


Adam

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#4 [url]

Jun 2 09 10:12 PM

Interesting... looks like a Standard tracker bar and roll-tracking device (that is, made in New York by the Standard Player Action Company). However, the suction pump underneath is a typical German design (large bellows with moving centre boards, rather than the normal American rotary "box" pump). The only place where you tend to see electrically-driven standard 88-note players is Germany, and the labels on controls support this.

Yet another clue is the plate in the first photo for Obiglio & Hijos, who were dealers in Buenos Aires, Argentina - Mario Obiglio was an Italian, from Bologna, and the firm adopted that particular name in 1914.

It is almost certain that the instrument was made specifically for the Agentinian market, and possibly was put together using components from different makers. We know that makers were very flexible indeed in what they sold, and would always make instruments exactly as the importer wanted - which almost guarantees that there is no general tubing diagram that will fit any of them!

In this case, if it is an 88-note player, the basic tubing is obvious - the lowest playing hole in the tracker bar goes to the lowest pneumatic, and so on. The outer 4 holes (2 at either end) are for tracking, and should be connected using the Standard tubing layout. The larger square hole on the left is for the sustaining pedal, and the double-width holes are for a Themodist-style accenting device, which will be found attached to the windways at the extreme left and right on the piano, underneath the keys. As far as I can see, that's all there is to connect!

The levers and labels? In the spoolbox, "Melodie" is the switch for the accenting device (ab / an = off / on) and "Pedal" is for the automatic sustaining pedal on / off. The keyslip control "Pedal" operates the sustain manually; Bass / Diskant will be for operating the accenting (probably adding an accent by hand to bass or treble) and PP may well operate a half-blow lever or a pneumatic restriction device.

Julian

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#6 [url]

Jun 3 09 7:54 AM

Hi all,

That is a very interesting player. I'm certain that the player parts were made by Philipps of Frankfurt. Philipps made 88 note players that were sold as their own brand "Ducanola", but they also sold parts without any name on it for piano companies to build their own players. The white labels are identical to those on the Ducanola, the overall impression with the black finish, airmotor, the treadles, the varnished lead tubing and nickelplated steel is typical for Philipps, but most of all the playerstack and the motor-driven pump. This design with the cast iron eccentrics was patented by Philipps in 1912 and used from 1912 onwards in many of their Duca and Pianella piano's. The strange thing of your piano remains the "Standard"-label. I will post some pictures of my own Philipps piano soon.
Mark

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#7 [url]

Jun 3 09 9:37 PM

Mark, of course the "Standard" component might just be a single component that was swapped onto the player at some later time so your suggestion of a Philipps player seems very logical. I have also seen players where people added various metal nameplates like the Standard one in the photograph for not particular reason - they just had a spare hanging around and stuck it on somewhere! I know a Steck like this with a Higel plate in the spoolbox. The owner added it decades ago as that Steck has no original spoolbox plate to stop roll tags hitting the wooden back.


regards


Adam

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#8 [url]

Jun 4 09 12:03 AM

In this case the tracker bar has the Standard 4-hole tracking, which I assume Philipps didn't use (if this is indeed a Philipps player action). It has to be more than a casual swap - a new tracker bar at some time to improve tracking, or built that way from the start?

Julian

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#10 [url]

Jun 7 09 12:11 PM

Thanks!

Last Edited By: Pablo Oct 14 13 12:56 AM. Edited 1 time.

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#11 [url]

Jun 7 09 2:25 PM

What a great player! & beautiful piano, excellent project, the results of restoration can only be stunning. Some parts are very much like my Zimmerman (wind motor, transmission, labels and general layout) However yours is a way more deluxe player and certainly worth any effort you make in restoration. Congratulations and good luck!!


Paul

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#12 [url]

Jun 7 09 4:15 PM

the black box in the bottom on the right side of the piano, with the leaf spring on top and the bid wooden nut on the treaded wire is the tempo governor to keep the music roll tempo constant.
no idea about the others....

-- Phonola 73-note vorsetzer (in restoration) -- Steck pedal electric Duo-Art (in restoration too) -- Citroën Dyane (drives great, but needs restoration too)

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#14 [url]

Jun 10 09 9:44 PM

HI ,
DOES YOUR PLAYER HAVE DIVIDED STACKS?
WELL,THIS MEAN,IF THE UPPER PART IS AIR FEED FOR JUST ONE TUBE OR TWO TUBES,ONE IN THE RIGHT AND ONE IN THE LEFT.THIS TUBES USUALLY CROSS THE KEY BED TO FEED THE KEY VALVE SYSTEM PART.IF THE STACK IS DIVIDED YOU HAVE A REPRODUCTION PLAYER PIANO,IF THE STACK IS NOT DIVIDED YOU HAVE A EXPRESSION PIANO,WITH VARIOUS INTENSITIES OF SOUND LEVELS BUT FOR THE FULL 88 NOTES LIKE THE PHONOLIZST MADE BY HUPFELD.IT'S INDEED MADE IN GERMANY,NO DOUBTS ,BUT ALSO AEOLIAN WITH THE SAME QUALITY WAS MADE ALSO IN GERMANY,IN THE PAST I HAD SEVERAL VERY EARLY 65 NOTE AEOLIAN INSTRUMENTS MADE BY THE GOTHA FACTORY.MY GESS,AND IT'S JUST A GESS,AND BY YOUR TRACKER BAR,JUST ONE NAME CAME TO MY MIND :RECORDO SYSTEM
BUT NOT SURE...
GOOD RESTORE
MATTOS

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#16 [url]

Jun 11 09 6:16 PM

Humm...well if you would like to take the lower part,i'm quit sure that you have to take the the key bed,usually all German players have the lower parts attached to the key bed,and yours would not be an exception.I's hard to gess what kind of mechanism you have because the tracker bar it's a regular 88 note one,used in regular 'pumping' players.The Recordo system it's just that bar,but usually the first and last 4 holes are greater,but no problem if they are regular like yours,and Standard actions had this systems in there piano.The reproduction players have divided stack actions for simulating the right and left hand independently,this way you can have different levels of sound at the same time( Duo-Art,Welt-Mignon,Triphonola,DEA,etc).In expression pianos you have also different levels of sound but for all the entire 88 piano notes at the same time (Phonolizst,Recordo,Melodica,Aria-Divina etc).In my opinion there is no better or worst players pianos,or systems...well,just well made and not very well made machines.I (and this is just my opinion)prefer German players (specially made by Ludwig Hupefeld,special the early models) every little thing was very well done,the woods were dry and very well chosen before construction,the skins were first quality,in many players they used zephir leather for me the most of the sensitive of the skins,pillow pouches,good chromium bath in the metal parts and so on.They worth the price of a car,don't forget that...This made them very exact and responsive machines.You can see my 1913 Phonola vorzetser restore in this site at http://pianola.21.forumer.com/viewtopic.php?t=462 (thanks to Niels help)
and see what i'm talking about.For me the Rolls Royce of the palyers.
But don't forget that there are also Bentleys,Aston Mirtins and Ferraris.
When you have a vorzetser (push-up piano player) you don't have to mind about the piano,because it's your choice,
When you have a player piano you have to look at this both parts,have a good player machine in a good and responsive piano.Usually,German player machines were fit on very good pianos like,Steinway,Grotian-Steinweg,Berdux,Carl Ronish, and many very fine others that ended with the 1st or 2nd world war and we never had heard about them.In same cases after the 1st world war lot of them had fake French names to get the UK,French and many other EU market.And so on,and so on...all of this to tell you that i'm sure that you have a fantastic player piano.Get all the notes you need to dismantling the player,do it smoothly with no hurries,try to understand where each valves goes and what for,step by step you'll understand it,i'm sure.
Regards
Mattos

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#17 [url]

Jun 11 09 6:56 PM

Hi Pablo,
Your pianola is not a full reproducer. The player parts have been made by Philipps that is certain. Philipps made electrically driven reproducing piano’s called “Duca”. These can play only the special “Duca” reproducing rolls. Later Philipps developed an 88-note foot pump player called “Ducanola”. Then they developed a combination instrument first called Ducaliszt, and later “Ducartist”. It could play both 88-note standard rolls and Ducartist reproducing rolls. Your piano is none of the mentioned models and there is not such a name on your piano.
But I now may have found out what it is. Philipps also made neutrally looking player systems that were supplied to piano builders to make their own 88 note players.
In the old German “Zeitschrift für Instrumentenbau” (Magazine for Instrument Builders) of October 1st 1925 I found an article about new Philipps products that were offered on the Leipziger Messe (Trade Fair). It mentions the new “Duola” that plays 88-note Einheits rolls. Einheits means someting like uniformity. There was a roll manufacturer in Germany who developed and produced the so called Empeco rolls. Also called “Einheits notenrollen” These were hand played rolls based on the 88-note system with some extra perforations for a limited expression. We would now not call these reproducing rolls but expression rolls. The article says the “Duola” is offered “neutrally looking" to piano factories to make their own players. It might be that the Duola (I have never seen one) plays Empeco rolls.
This would make sense because it would be a bit strange to put an electric pump in a 88 note player with no automatic expression at all.
If I were you I would try to find out where all the tubing from the trackerbar goes to.
Try to find out which ones go to the playing pneumatics and which ones don’t.
There are at least 7 not for the playing pneumatics: One for the sustaining pedal, two for the accents and 4 for roll tracking. If there aren’t any for extra expression then try to discover if the trackerbar is original. I think it looks a bit suspicious. It may have been replaced sometime.
I don’t know anything for sure, but its well possible. Success! Mark

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#18 [url]

Jun 11 09 8:53 PM

Well done research Mark,

I have a few empeco rolls but never saw a system to play them on...

-- Phonola 73-note vorsetzer (in restoration) -- Steck pedal electric Duo-Art (in restoration too) -- Citroën Dyane (drives great, but needs restoration too)

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#20 [url]

Jun 12 09 12:45 AM

An impressive bit of research! Interesting possibilities, then.

Expression is a general term to describe any mechanism that changes the playing volume - mostly by controlling the suction supply but also by operating the hammer half-blow mechanism. There will have to be perforations to operate the suction-control device(s).

Accents are short periods of higher suction, achieved using a pneumatic device. On your tracker bar will be operated by the wider holes in the tracker bar, which are standard 'theme' style accents as used on many 88-note rolls.

However, I agree with Mark that the tracker bar isn't what you'd expect for an automatic piano - it's a normal theme-style 88-note bar. It might be that the outermost holes are used to operate the expression, but generally there's something different about automatic instruments' tracker bars. It may have been adapted to 88-note simply because its special rolls became unavailable, which probably happened around 1930, maybe earlier in Argentina. That would explain the "Standard" tracking device as well.

If it has been converted to 88-note, then you need to figure out how they matched the new rolls to the expression system! It's possible they didn't bother and fixed it to play at a constant level. If it can be proven as a converted expression piano, it would be interesting (but maybe hard) to convert it back.

Julian

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