Pianola and push-up player

... those are found usually among experts, collectors and museums today. Even though there were millions of self-playing (grand) pianos in many households, bars, restaurants, music academies and concert halls in 1920, these mechanical pneumatic marvels disappeared abruptly with the proliferation of radio and record players and significantly increasing leisure time in sports associations and other activities. 20 - 30 years later, about 1940/1950, most of the remaining pianolas were no longer operational, because the materials were too severely aged and worn. A lot of pianolas were then disposed of, or their self-playing mechanism was removed to use them as conventional manual pianos. Many instruments were also destroyed all over Europe during the wars.

Thus, there are very few complete and ready-to-play pianolas left. The number of high grade restored pianolas that can again reveal the original quality is even much lower. No wonder then that the fame and popularity of these instruments turned negligible in recent years.

But we are sure that the appreciation for these self-playing instruments will increase again - after all, they combine the ability to play a conventional piano with the chance to attend to the opuses of great composers and pianists virtually live, in your own home. Piano rolls recorded by the composers themselves are of course the most interesting ones - besides rolls that were recorded by composers or pianists of whom no other audio documents survived. Three examples on the following pictures show: E. Grieg, S. Rachmaninoff and C. Saint-Saens, recorded on piano rolls of Welte, Ampico and Hupfeld.

Welte Ampico Hupfeld roll labels

Original reproducing pianos and grand pianos

On the following pages you will find a wide variety of rare originally preserved, restored or refurbished pianolas, used either as push-up players or (grand) piano - sorted by different manufacturers. We will be glad if you find an instrument among them that will fascinate you …

Pianola and reproducing pianos

L. Hupfeld AG, Leipzig M. Welte & Söhne, Freiburg The Aeolian Company, New York
J. D. Philipps AG, Frankfurt American Piano Company, New York Other manufacturers