The Apollo Dynaline Device

One of the big reasons why many people have been unable to get the same results with a player piano in their home, that the salesman does in demonstrating the instrument, lies in the fact that musical expression is ordinarily difficult to obtain.

In the Apollo you will find the Dynaline Device—a guide to musical expression which enables anyone after a half-hour or so of practice to secure exactly the same results in the way of expression as a finished artist.

On each music roll is a blue line. This line represents the correct expression of the composition marked there by the musician who made it. The Apollo is equipped with an indicator. When one pedals rapidly this pointer advances to the right—pedaling slowly, it recedes to the left.

Now all that one has to do to secure correct expression with the Apollo is to pedal so that this indicator follows the line.

This is simplicity itself.

Now—is it not a fact, that since the musician who marked the roll indicated the correct expression by his blue line, that when the player piano owner makes the Dynaline follow this marking, he is playing with exactly the same expression as the musician who made the roll?

In this simple way we have enabled our owners to at all times pedal their instruments correctly, at the same time not interfering with their putting their own individual interpretations on the music when desired.

Above test from an Apollo Player Piano Catalogue, circa 1916.

The Apollo Dynaline Device in piano #14075.

Photograph courtesy of Jere DeBacker.

This close-up of the area left of the spool-box in Apollo player piano #14075 shows the Dynaline device and its interconnecting linkages. The large Dynaline motor pneumatic (covered in purple rubber cloth) is at picture center. It is connected via a rubber tube to an adjustable choke, which in turn is then connected to the piano's vacuum header or supply. At the left end of the pneumatic is a fixed vertical bracket that holds one end of a coil spring, the other end being attached to the movable Dynaline lever that pivots at bottom center of the pneumatic. An arm extending out from the right of the vertical lever connects via a shot link to the top of the pneumatic. The force exerted by the spring pulls the vertical Dynaline lever to the far left, which in turn acts to push the pneumatic open. When there is no vacuum applied the pneumatic rests in the fully open position, with the Dynaline lever and attached pointer rod at their full left rest position. Under such conditions the Dynaline pointer is out of the way and clears the tracker bar area, so that music rolls can be easily changed without interference by the Dynaline mechanism. When a variable vacuum level is created by pumping the player pedals the Dynaline pointer moves outward to the right, and does so proportionally in relation to the vacuum level applied.

Close up of spoolbox for Apollo player piano #15985.

Photograph courtesy of Jere DeBacker.

This close-up of the spool-box in Apollo player piano #15985 shows the Dynaline device on/off switch block (at lower left) and the Dynaline pointer rod (disconnected and laying loose just above the tracker bar). The pointer located at the right end of the rod is pointing down, but once properly connected to the Dynaline linkage the pointer will look upward. The other pneumatic on/off block switch at upper left controls the automatic damper pedal.

Close up of Dynaline decal at the bottom of the spoolbox in piano #15985.

Photograph courtesy of Jere DeBacker.

Close up of the somewhat rare Dynaline decal located at the bottom of the spool-box in Apollo player piano #15985. The presence of this decal advertises the Dynaline device installed in the piano. However, the absence of the decal has no bearing on whether a Dynaline device was installed, or not. The majority of instruments observed that have (or originally had) a Dynaline device installed show no evidence of a Dynaline decal ever being affixed,