Rönisch Claviola 88-Note Player Piano
by Robbie Rhodes
photos by Colin Campbell

Mr. Colin Campbell, of Perth, Western Australia, writes, "I have recently purchased a Rönisch Claviola player piano; however, I am having difficulty establishing the origin of the player mechanism despite numerous web searches."

Mr. Campbell sent us photos of his newly restored piano, showing an 88-note Themodist/Solodant tracker bar and spools for transporting the roll from top to bottom.  The hand controls are on a small console which unfolds from the case below the keys.  The Rönisch piano bears serial number 46054 stamped into the right inside case wall.

Could somebody please tell us the possible origin of the player mechanism, and the date of this beautiful instrument?

Robbie Rhodes

campbell_claviola4a.jpg (33 kb)
The action stack apparently has 88 pneumatics, as the hoses visible above appear to cover the full span of keys. At the left of the spool frame is the roll tracking pneumatic.  The marque "Claviola" is faintly visible at the far left of the key cover, while on the far right is "Rönisch".

campbell_claviola2a.jpg (35 kb)
At the far left of this photo can be seen the 88-note tracker bar with an additional wider Solodant / Themodist hole, and edge-tracking fingers extending through the tracker bar.  The pair of bellows near the top probably shift the transmission from play to rewind.

campbell_claviola3a.jpg (37 kb)
The controls, from left to right, are labelled Ped, Treble, Bass, Solodant, Tempo and Re=.  The celluloid tempo control scale shows 73/-upper, 65/-lower, as though it was intended for a piano which plays 73-note and/or 65-note rolls.  The control console folds into the piano case when not in use.

12 May 2003