Mechanical Music Through the Ages

A collection of Mechanical Music and Arcade Machines – highlighting examples of the development in mechanical entertainment over time.

Push-up Pianolas

The pneumatic player piano mechanism, played by perforated paper music rolls and powered by suction, made it’s  public debut in America in the late 1890’s in the form of the Aeolian Pianola, a “pushup” external piano playing device. From that time until a few years after 1908 when 88-note music rolls were standardised, many early brands of mechanisms were developed and incorporated into pushup piano players and player pianos. There were many and varied scales of rolls for these devices, there were, 58, 65, 70, 73, 82, and 88 , many of these were short lived and are fairly rare today. The piano player came before the player piano and utilised a set of fingers which were pushed up to any piano, a roll of coded music was placed in the instrument and the operator pedalled to provide suction for these felt covered fingers to operate the keys of the piano and present the composition on the roll. The Germans produced the Claviola and was usually a 73 note player.