Chickering Ampico Reproducing Piano
I wasn't looking for it. It found me. Last week a Chickering Ampico reproducing piano followed me home! We are going to be great friends.
The reproducing piano is the refined cousin of the more familiar player piano popularized in the 1920s. The reproducing piano was developed with the intention of recreating the performances of virtuoso musicians. The video below shows the capability of the Ampico reproducer system on a nicely restored Mason & Hamlin piano:
The reproducing piano typically uses an electric motor to drive mechanical bellows. No electricity is involved beyond the bellows motor. The piano is controlled through the marvel of pneumatic valves and actuators.
As a lover of historic technologies and pianos (Chickering in particular), I couldn't resist the offer of this instrument. It will consume most of my shop time for the next two years. First up will be a complete rebuild of the piano itself. The player system restoration will follow.
Additional resources about Ampico reproducing pianos:
- Ralph Neilson video explains the expression system in detail
- History and Engineering of the Ampico Reproducing Piano
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