Single-Finger Music Roll Tracking System
by Julian Dyer

jdyer1a.jpgDan Wilson described how the single-ear systems seen in the UK are fitted with a locking device that prevents any tracking action in rewind.  This uses a sprung pneumatic, powered from the stack supply so that the lock is removed during play.  The lock consists of a bar with a slot that links with a pin in the tracking pneumatic.  When the bar is in place, the tracking pneumatic cannot move, and the device stays centred.  The photo shows the action fitted to my 65/88 note Pianola pushup, in case anyone sees fit to make an Aeolian-like locking device for their own machine.

The interesting thing about this is that the locking device was quite obviously fitted after the machine had been made.  Aeolian pushups mostly seem to have a label stuck in front of where the tracker is fitted that tells owners about a spare linkage to operate sustaining pedals for grand pianos.  The locking device for the tracker is screwed on top of this label on all the machines I have seen.  The same modification has been made to all the machines, so it's not a home-made fix.

The conclusion must be that either the UK branch of Aeolian decided to fit an extra locking device to these machines (which were all made in the USA but labelled for the destination market), or that American Aeolian changed the machines between manufacture and shipment.

Perhaps this answers the questions expressed earlier in the MMD about how the single-ear devices must have worked originally, despite the present-day problems they present.  This modification shows that the devices were problematic right from the start!

Julian Dyer
Fri, 19 Nov 1999 13:45:42 +0000

21 November 1999