Seeburg Reiterating Xylophones

Early style reiterating Seeburg xylophone, made from late 1923 into 1926.

(Photograph courtesy of Art Reblitz)

The telltale sign of an early style reiterating Seeburg xylophone, made from late 1923 into 1926, is the little bracket attached to the lower end of each pneumatic, as shown here. The bottom end of the bracket is bent 90 degrees under the valve box, where it opens a pallet valve when the pneumatic plays. This admits atmosphere into the pouch, turning the reverse valve off and releasing the pneumatic. When the pneumatic opens, the bracket releases the pallet valve, starting the cycle again. This produces a very fast reiterating action. (Early KT Special #159,898, made in 1924.)

Early style Seeburg reiterating xylophone valve chest.

(Photograph courtesy of David Ramey Jr.)

In the early style reiterating action, the back of the valve chest has a small pneumatic for each note, connected by tubing to the piano stack. Each little pneumatic has a finger that closes a channel when it plays, allowing its pouch to pull down, and causing the reverse valve to apply vacuum to the beater pneumatic. The pneumatic stays collapsed as long at the note plays on the stack, while the bracket on the pneumatic and the pallet underneath cause the reiteration.

Late style reiterating xylophone mechanism with slide valves on top of the valve chest.

(Photograph courtesy of Art Reblitz)

The late style reiterating xylophone mechanism is easily identified by the slide valves on top of the valve chest. The metal piece on top of each pneumatic connects the moveable board to a small slide valve, which switches the valve off and on to cause reiteration. (KT Special #164,627, made in 1927.)

Close-up of the late reiterating xylophone slide valve connecting straps.

(Photograph courtesy of Art Reblitz)

Close-up of the slide valve connecting straps. The metal pieces on the lower front of the pneumatics are adjustable return springs for the pneumatics, in place of the earlier style rigid metal brackets. The late style action also has 22 little pneumatics on the back, but they play their respective xylophone notes by opening a small hole instead of closing it, as in the earlier system.