Link Piano Company
Pipe Chests

Cutaway of pipes in a Link Style R Coin Piano.

(Photograph courtesy of Rusty King)

Illustration from a Link advertising poster showing an internal view of a Link Style R automatic coin piano. Here the two distinct pipe toe-boards located above the keybed are clear to see, with the lower one at left holding the tallest eight bass pipe notes. The upper level toe-board supports the rest of the more treble part of the pipe rank. The actual pipe valve chest is both compact and separate from the two toe-boards and is situated over the backside of the piano keys covering a portion of the treble note range. It is visible in the above illustration immediately above a range of treble piano keys and underneath the upper level pipe toe-board, and also behind the fanned out rubber tubing that connects the pipe chest to the toe-boards. It should be obvious from this illustration as to why the bass pipes in a Link Style R are consigned to an offset lower toe-board, so as to provide adequate clearance from the music roll bin just above.

Automatic piano #20634 with the pipe chest removed.

(Photograph courtesy of Rusty King)

Pipe valve chest aligned over the key capstans in Link keyboard style orchestrion #2264. The piano in this particular instance was built by Schaff, circa 1910, for the Automatic Musical Company. Apparently the piano sat unused in a warehouse room until circa 1913, after Link had taken over operations of the company. Link, however, bought Haddorff pianos, and so pipe valve chests were constructed for the keybed spacing used by this company. Schaff, however, constructed their pianos with a slightly different break point between the mid and treble piano sections, and so the piano key capstans for two notes had to be special so as to accommodate the Haddorff piano spacing requirements. This accommodation can be observed by noticing the two wire rods bent at a right angle, to properly contact the pipe chest valve buttons. The small coil springs situated between the bottom of the chest and the topside of the felted buttons keep the valves tightly closed when not purposely pushed open. The brass tubing elbows coming out of the side of the pipe chest connect to the pipe toe-board using flexible rubber tubing.

Manual control Valve on left end of the pipe chest in Automatic piano #20,634.

(Photograph courtesy of Rusty King)

Piano key capstans and two special wire rods bent at a right angle in a Schaff piano used in Link keyboard style orchestrion #2264. The special spacing adjustment is to accommodate a pipe chest made to fit a Haddorff piano. Here the pipe chest has been removed to more clearly show the special piano key capstan arrangement. The balance point of the piano keys is in the foreground; the piano action stickers are partially visible at the back.