Aeolian Pianola Player Brake Adjustments
by Richard Vance (MMD 001002)

Dear Mr. Morrey,  The brake pad you mention should be functional, during play only.  The thick wire lever holding the pad is not really connected to the reroll lever in any permanent way.  It is just arranged so that when the piano is in reroll, it is moved slightly away from the wheel, to release the brake for rewind.  During play, the brake pad is allowed to freely press the brake pad onto the wheel, by means of a spring.

This spring is what appears to be missing or out of adjustment on your instrument.  They are often removed or bent back, in an attempt to make the roll move easier, but they should be in place.  If the piano is properly rebuilt, the roll motor is strong enough to move the roll with the playing brake "on", and the brake is needed to hold the paper tight.

There were at least two ways that this was done (knowing Aeolian, there might have been more).  On earlier models, the brake lever was long, and pushed into the brake mode by a leaf spring at the bottom.  On later models, a coil spring pulled the brake lever into the brake position.  In either case, the far end of the brake lever was positioned so that when in reroll, the reroll lever relieved the brake pressure by moving the brake lever against the spring, away from the wheel.

The picture shows this more clearly.  It is not to scale, but shows the principle.  You need to find or replace the spring, or adjust it so that it creates the brake pressure.

Best regards,

Richard Vance
Date: Fri, 29 Sep 2000 09:53:43 -0400

17 October 2000