Modern player piano made in the 1950's in Santa Ana, California. Controls are located in the spoolbox. Does have foot pedals and mandolin attachment. The following photos were supplied to Player-Care by the owner of a Schafer & Sons player. Clicking on a picture will reveal the full sized image. Having viewed these images at length, there are a few things that I can say about the action. It has what I believe are the smallest note bellows ever used in a player piano. How they were able to activate the notes remains a mystery, but my feeling is that the system used a relatively high vacuum level -over 20 inches. The belt drive used to turn the spool is reminiscent of the modern Universal player, and one has to wonder of the designer was involved with that company in later years. I say that because the Universal was also made in Southern California, and arrangement of the controls, the design of the exhauster assembly, the cut-out valve, and the type of electric vacuum pump are extremely similar to the components in the Universal. Also, the unit has a transposing trackerbar. I have yet to determine if the unit has automatic tracking.
Based on these similarities, one can almost conjecture that the stack is probably made out of aluminum, and that it utilizes preformed polyurethane pouches and neoprene valve facings. It has been discovered that the striker pneumatics attack the wippens directly, lifting them up to make each note play. It has also been found that there is a bleed under the keybed for adjusting the volume of the music.
After speaking to Vern Schafer, Bob Furst, Dave Gatt, John Meadows, and Barry Casper, I now know that the system was designed by Dick Carty. The piano was made by Aeolian/American, and the player mechanism was manufactured years before it was installed in the piano. Further, the system was custom designed for Schafer & Sons. It is not found in any other make of piano.
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