Operators Piano Company Piano Plates

Smith, Barnes & Strohber piano used in early Victor and Coinola pianos.

(Photograph courtesy of Dana Johnson)

1. Early Coinola pianos were probably obtained from Smith, Barnes & Strohber. The part of the plate above the tuning pins and bearing the name Operators Piano Co. is separate from the lower part of the plate, the front of the pinblock is exposed, and the hammers are divided into four sections.

Operators piano of unknown manufacture.

(Photograph courtesy of Dana Johnson)

2. Mid-era Coinola piano with new design of Smith, Barnes and Strohber piano. The piano plate is made in one piece and fully covers the pinblock, and the action still has an extra break in the middle of the treble section.

Seybold piano used in later Coinolas and Reproducos.

(Photograph courtesy of Art Reblitz)

3. Late Coinola X with a piano of Seybold design, with a one-piece plate covering the pinblock. In the midrange and treble sections the tuning pins for adjacent notes are staggered farther up and down than in any other brand of piano.

Detail of odd Seybold tuning pin placement.

(Photograph courtesy of Dana Johnson)

4. Detail of odd tuning pin staggering found only in pianos made by Seybold of Elgin, Illinois. Seeburg used similar Seybold pianos in the early teens, then Peerless used them circa 1914-1915 before it went bankrupt, and finally Operators used them in the 1920s.