Link Piano Company
Keyboard-Style Automatic Pianos

Catalogue illustration for the Link Style R.

(Photograph courtesy of Rusty King)

Link Style R catalogue page. It reads: This instrument combines a piano with flute pipes and mandolin attachment working automatically. The flutes and mandolin can be cut off at will. Can furnish with violin pipes instead of flute pipes if desired.

Early Link Style R with a Schaff piano.

(Photograph courtesy of Dana Johnson)

A beautiful Link (Haddorff #55844; Link #2203) Style R, with richly colored "parrot" art glass. The catalogue describes this instrumentation as having a piano, mandolin attachment, and flute pipes. This particular instrument was found by dealer who got it out of an estate he had bought. The piano had been cut down and all of the mechanical works removed. The art glass was found hanging in another part of the house and the pump and hanging lamps in the basement. He built the sides back and put the glass back in before selling it to its current owner.

Link "chain" logo on the pinao fallboard for a Link Style R coin piano..

(Photograph courtesy of Dana Johnson)

A beautiful example of the "chain-link" logo on the piano fallboard of a Link (Haddorff #55844; Link #2203) Style R coin piano. This particular trade-mark was selected, according to M. J. Kennedy, vice-president and general manager of the Link Piano Company, "because we believed it to be original and easily remembered and because there have been four big links in our success—our four piano styles. They have been the basis of the business we have attained. Perhaps the most popular of the quartet has been our Style R." The three other styles making up the so-called "Link quartet" were not mentioned by Kennedy and so they remain subject to speculation.

Catalogue illustration for the Link Styles A, AX, B, C, D, and E.

(Photograph courtesy of Dana Johnson)

This case was used for several popular Link styles including the C (flute pipes), E (xylophone), A (pipes and percussion) and AX (xylophone and percussion). It is taller than the earlier style R case because the roll bin has a sloping bottom instead of the earlier chain and fingers to assist paper feed. It seems to have replaced the R by at least 1915. As readers submit more Link pianos to the registry database, we will be able to pinpoint its introduction to the market with greater accuracy.

Special Link case.

(Photograph courtesy of Glenn Thomas)

A beautiful, restored Link Style A, #3237, in a walnut veneered case. The art glass torches in the two outer panels glow when the instrument is in operation. At the top of the case is the novel horizontal music roll cabinet, with the looped music roll visible behind glass.

Special Link case.

(Photograph courtesy of Glenn Thomas)

The interior of Link Style A, #3237. At the top is the horizontal music roll cabinet, loaded with a music roll ready for play. Below it and behind the pipework is the piano with a mandolin attachment. The pipework consists of a front rank of metal violin pipes, and behind it a rank of wooden open flute pipes. At left is the snare drum, with the triangle hanging on its right-hand support leg, and at far right is the tambourine/tom-tom effect.

Immediately below the keybed is the 3-tier stack. On the floor of the case (from left to right) is (1) the pipework register control unit, (2) Holtzer-Cabot motor, (3) pressure reservoir, (4) combination horizontal vacuum/pressure pump, and (5) a cone type friction drive tempo/speed control for the music roll frame. For the pipe register unit, a horizontal pneumatic on the top right half of the unit is connected to the general cancel. Two vertical pneumatics control each of the two pipe registers, the rear pneumatic for flutes and the front one for violins. The left side of the unit contains a large pressure supply line from the pressure reservoir with two large pressure out lines, each connected to its respective pipe chest.

Special Link case.

(Photograph courtesy of Art Reblitz)

Link Style C in a beautiful quartered oak case. The upper front design resembles a taller version of the style R art glass, rather than the usual C design. The instrumentation consists of piano, mandolin attachment, and flute pipes. It uses style RX music rolls. The roll mechanism and horizontal roll storage bin is located in the top case extension.

Special Link case.

(Photograph courtesy of Dana Johnson)

Special Link piano #2638, made in the mid or late teens. It has the instrumentation and mechanism of a Style C, but in custom case with four large art glass panels and two wood and art glass lamps extending forward from upper corners. Instrumentation consists of a piano, mandolin attachment, and flute pipes. It uses style RX music rolls. One other example is known to exist. It is unknown whether it had a style letter, or not.

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