Automatic Musical Company
and Link Piano Company Survey Form

Automatic Musical / Link Piano Company Study Project

Introductory Style Notes:

An Invitation to Send Accompanying Photographs

Pictures of the exterior of an instrument often allows us to identify case styles, control knobs, coin slots, art glass details, and other characteristics oftentimes not easily described through text alone. Moreover, snapshots of the interior mechanisms and any nameplates they may bear usually helps us greatly to identify mechanical characteristics that shed light on the mechanical evolution of an instrument, which helps us when developing dating guides. It is no stretch to say that photographs are an invaluable aid in detailing and understanding any instrument for which information has been submitted, and so please do consider sending photographs, albeit separately from the on-line form, but nonetheless augmenting the survey information.

Invitation to e-mail photographs corresponding to a survey submittal.
Please send photographs to:

Automatic Musical / Link Piano Company Survey Form

All survey submissions to the Mechanical Music Press are given with the provision that the Mechanical Music Press and/or its authors have non-exclusive use of the information, images, or other material submitted for use with this project or in any other part of this web site, and do so without limitation. All contributors of significant, previously unused information will be listed as contributors under general credits in the Registry section. Submission does not guarantee the acceptance of or the use of the whole or any part or segment of any information submitted. Please do not submit information if you cannot abide by the aforementioned stipulations.

Contact Information
  Show owner name in reports.
Piano Basic Information

Schaff Piano Numbers: On Schaff Bros. pianos the 5-digit serial number is always die-stamped into the pin block and is visible within an oval hole in the plate casting located between the bass and tenor tuning pin sections.

Brewer-Pryor Piano Numbers: The serial number is stamped into the pin block and is visible within an oval hole near the top of the plate casting and situated between the bass and tenor tuning pin sections, similarly to many other upright piano manufacturers.

Haddorff Piano Numbers: On cabinet pianos the 5-digit Haddorff serial number is always die-stamped on the backside of the piano, and is centered topside on the heavy wood structural beam immediately below the sounding board. On keyboard pianos the serial number could be hidden anywhere. Later keyboard pianos had an open pinblock with the 4-digit Link number rubber stamped on it, but the 5-digit Haddorff number might be found on the backside of the pinblock, under a key cheek block, on cabinet doors, or somewhere else, and always die stamped into wood.

Automatic Musical Company.  Marcola.  Link Piano Company

Marcola brand: John A. Marquette, of Detroit, Michigan, conducted business under the name of Marquette Musical Company, also known as the Automatic Orchestra Company, and sometimes used the trademark name of "Marcola." The company produced at least two cabinet style orchestrions, made by taking an intact Automatic Musical Company (forerunner of the Link Piano Company) keyboardless piano with pipes, stripping off the doors and top, and then fitting the instrument inside a much larger case enhanced with colorful art glass panels. The identity of the true manufacturer was concealed by fastening a cast iron plate over the Automatic Musical Company name cast into the piano plate, with a covering plate showing the Automatic Orchestra Company, Detroit, Michigan as the builder. John A. Marquette and his various companies were not associated with the Marquette Piano Company or its Cremona brand name.

Automatic Musical Co.: Style M, Reliable, Mandolin Piano, Self Playing Xylophone, etc.

Link Piano Co.: A, AX, B, C, D, E, R, 2B, 2E, 2EX, MP Jr., etc.

Link serial numbers: Link branded coin pianos are unusual in that they have two separate serial numbers, a primary number provided by the piano manufacturer, and a secondary number affixed by the Link Piano Company. Where the Link number is located varies, but primarily it is always a 4-digit rubber-stamped number about 5/8" high positioned on the piano plate somewhere between the bass and tenor sections on the pinblock. On very late pianos it is on a wood backed brass plate that is attached to the inside of the case. On Link rebuilds of earlier Automatic Musical Company instruments the Link serial number was stamped on a piece of paper that was then glued under the Schaff number. Unfortunately, many of these pasted on Link numbers have been lost due to one reason or another. If the 4-digit Link number cannot be found on the piano plate or elsewhere, look for the number die-stamped into the pneumatic stack, which will be the Link serial number (assuming that the stack if original to the piano). The 4-digit stack number should be on the front right-hand side of the stack.

Mandolin attachment.

Oak, Golden oak, Mission oak, Mahogany, Walnut, Two-tone walnut, etc.

Piano Manufacturer
Schaff Brothers Piano, Huntington, Indiana.

All observed Schaff Bros. piano plates used by the Automatic Musical Company or the Link Piano Company are painted green, and to the right of the treble piano tuning pins is the large and easily seen cast number “20 B.” At the top right side of the plate (above the treble tuning pins) is the cast inscription “Automatic Musical Co; Binghamton NY.” The 5-digit serial number is stamped onto the pin block and visible through an oval hole in the plate that is located between the bass and tenor tuning pin sections.

Brewer-Pryor Piano Company, Binghamton, New York.

Only one Automatic Musical Company branded keyboard style coin-operated piano is known to exist with a piano and case that is suspected of having been manufactured by the Brewer-Pryor Piano Company. It has a maroon colored piano plate that is tastefully decorated with pen-striping and with gilded highlights on the raised Automatic Musical Company name that is cast integrally as part of the plate, but that remains to be positively identified as to manufacturer.

Haddorff Piano, Rockford, Illinois.

Cabinet Style Pianos: The compact cabinet style pianos have a one-piece plate with the Automatic Musical Company or Link Piano Company name cast into the top front area, until the late 1920s when the plates were left blank or nameless. These cast iron plates were typically painted gold, and there was a raised rectangular area cast midway between the bass and tenor tuning pin sections where the 4-digit Link serial number is usually rubber stamped. The 5-digit Haddorff serial number is die-stamped on the backside of the piano, centered on the top side of the heavy wood structural beam immediately below the sounding board.

Keyboard Style Pianos: On keyboard style pianos, the uppermost part of the plate is painted gold, while the lower portion from the piano action downward is painted black. On earlier pianos, the 5-digit Haddorff serial number was die-stamped on the backside of the pin block (on the exterior of the piano) toward the bass end, but for later pianos the number might be found elsewhere. Confusing the issue, Haddorff used full plates (as typically found in most upright pianos), two-piece plates, and partial plates with the top edge below the tuning pins, leaving the pinblock mostly exposed. Two-piece plates were basically a partial plate with an upper decorative plate that wrapped round the tuning pin sections. Very early (circa 1913) Haddorff pianos used by Link were supplied with an upper gold plate with Automatic Musical Co. Binghamton NY cast into it. By 1914 the upper plate had the Link Piano Co. Binghamton NY name cast into it. Then, later on, Haddorff simply discontinued using the upper decorative plate.

Pipework
Open wooden flute pipes.
Open metal flute pipes.
Wooden violin pipes.
Metal violin pipes.
Reed Box (Aftermarket Kahlmen reed box).

If some of the above descriptions do not exactly correspond to what is being reported please describe the component in the comments field at the bottom of this form.

Striking and/or Percussive Instrumentation
Xylophone (marimbaphone).
Snare drum.  Tambourine/Tom-Tom.  Triangle.  Wood block.

If some of the above descriptions do not exactly correspond to what is being reported please describe the component in the comments field at the bottom of this form.

Loud-Soft Expression Control
Hammer rail lift only.
Early balance beam on top of pump (with coil spring balanced spill valve).
Double control pneumatics on the top left side of pump (with accent bypass pneumatic on top).

If none of the above descriptions exactly correspond to what is being reported please describe the component in the comments field at the bottom of this form.

Register Control Type
Slider valves.
Mechanical latches on pneumatics.

If none of the above descriptions exactly correspond to what is being reported please describe the component in the comments field at the bottom of this form.

Pneumatic Stack S/N and Type

The serial number for Link built stacks will tend to be on the right-hand side, die stamped into the front side of the vertical end structure. The stack number in a Link is the Link serial number, and so if the number on the pinblock has been painted over it is usually still possible to ascertain the Link serial number by finding the stack number. However, during the late 1920s it seems that Link stopped putting the serial number on the pneumatic stack.

Early 2-tier stack.
Early 3-tier (standard) stack
Late 3-tier with bleeds in unit valves.
Late 3-tier with unit valves and a ganged bleed block.

If none of the above descriptions exactly correspond to what is being reported please describe the component in the comments field at the bottom of this form.

Pipe Chest Type
Main chest has offset bass range chest.
One continuous chest.

If none of the above descriptions exactly correspond to what is being reported please describe the component in the comments field at the bottom of this form.

Roll Mechanism
Under keyboard with vertical storage bin.
Top of piano, horizontal music bin with chain drive fingers.
Top of piano, slanted horizontal music bin.
Above pump, 2-level horizontal music bin, chain drive fingers.
Above pump, slanted horizontal music bin, single sliding finger.
Above pump, slanted horizontal music bin.

If none of the above descriptions exactly correspond to what is being reported please describe the component in the comments field at the bottom of this form.

Pump Type Circular 3-lobe, vacuum.
Circular 3-lobe, vacuum and pressure.
Horizontal round belt, vacuum.
Horizontal round belt, vacuum and pressure.
Horizontal flat belt, vacuum.
Horizontal flat belt, vacuum and pressure.

If none of the above descriptions exactly correspond to what is being reported please describe the component in the comments field at the bottom of this form.

Motor Information (only if original motor)  Motor Model:  Motor S/N:  Motor RPM:
Coin Switch / Coin Accumulator Magazine
Coin tripped knife switch, no accumulator (very early).
Coin drops onto and makes electrical contact.
Coin hits lever that trips spring-loaded ratchet wheel accumulator.

If none of the above descriptions exactly correspond to what is being reported please describe the component in the comments field at the bottom of this form.

Art Glass or Wooden Facade Description
Date and Notations Written on Case or Mechanisms

Oftentimes dates and notations are written on the case and/or on various player components. For Link instruments the assembly date is often penciled on the bottom of the piano under the pump, or on the bottom of the pump.

Comments, History, and Explanations

Please include any additional information about the piano that might be pertinent, such as its history, i.e., various locations and owners. If you find a date (or style number), such as on a paper sticker inside or on the backside of the case, or on a pneumatic component, notice an early tuning date written by hand on the piano plate, find an original sales invoice, etc., please describe any such items.

* Required form fields: Contact information will be kept private, with the exception of owner name if, and only if the "Show owner name on reports" box is checked.