Automatic Pianos - A Collector's Guide

The history of the self-playing piano is fascinating. Player-pianos, piano-players, Pianolas, piano-orchestrions and street barrel pianos were all forms of mechanical musical instruments. Ihey were created at the zenith of the extraordinary history of automatic instruments. Early ones worked entirely by clockwork, later examples were pneumatic and some even operated electrically. However, while the roll-playing instruments were the most common, the true mechanical piano performed entirely by pins and levers. This extremely large and heavy book describes the history and development of automatic pianos from their earliest beginnings through to the era of the amazing reproducing pianos of the early 20th century. A major section on restoration and preservation covers every aspect of repair and conservation. In addition there is a section given over to the restoration of the Aeolian Orchestrelle player reed organ. Comprehensively illustrated with photographs (many in colour) and extensive line drawings by the Author, this book deals in depth with the many makers and inventors worldwide and includes a section of music-roll makers and piano brand names and price-guide.
Published by Schiffer Books, Pennsylvania, 2004. 504 pp hardback, ISBN 0-7643-2024-6. Contact the publishers at