Currently in my shop for restoration is one of the two or three Mason & Hamlin pianos built with an Ampico. Like other concert grand Ampico pianos, this piano had a special, highly modified Ampico unit installed. In my knowledge, all of these pianos except one have been stripped of the Ampico. Therefore, few people have ever seen the special features. When I saw the complete mechanism in a concert grand Chickering in 1975, I made photographs of everything unusual. Those photographs have allowed me to remanufacture mechanisms for two concert grand pianos since then.
Beside having special valves and tubing which allow remote control, these pianos have multiple motors and a pump that possess a second stage of amplification. Logic devices control the pump output.
The factory had installed a placard in this Mason & Hamlin that gives various pressure settings. I have sent a photo of that to MMD for the Archives. The terms of the placard seem to indicate an Ampico B, but that is not the case. This is an Ampico A. The placard photo clearly shows the pianos tension resonator. It also identifies the piano as RCC EBONY. The piano is indeed RCC 36811.
A second photo shows that the beams make for a tricky layout for the Ampico. This piano will be playing again soon.
18 Mar 2007 20:10:21 -0500