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Four Major Types of Player Actions

HI All, 

In a personal letter, Robbie Rhodes asks:

How can one distinguish between the Standard, the Amphion,  
the Pratt-Read and the Simplex player actions?

  The Standard action uses a four hole (or double-hole) tracker 
service and the bellows on the tracker device are horizontally 
oriented. It also has an "S" monogram on the pump pedal mats.

  Amphion made two types of actions. Prior to 1913 the two 
wooden sections of the three valve chests were glued 
together with a cardboard divider, which included the 
valve seat as a clinched grommet, dividing the upper and 
lower chamber containing the rubber cloth pouches. The 
later type had the 'clamp-on' unit valves; first the 
upside-down type, which is most common, and later with 
the valve facing up. Amphion is also recognizable because 
the exhauster bellows are mounted on the front of the 
wind trunk which open at the top.

  The most positive identification of the Pratt-Read 
action is probably the valve, which looks something like 
a very small wooden yo-yo with a hole on the side with 
the leather and a wooden tip protruding outward on the 
side without any leather. To examine the valve, remove 
the cover plate on the atmosphere side of the valve.
  The Pratt-Read actions were of the two tier type. The 
early models used a primary valve. In either case, the 
secondary valves were oriented horizontally. The 
style A had pneumatics that face forward with linkage 
to lever underneath the player stack. The primary valve 
was to the rear, under the row of pneumatics. The style 
B had a double row of primary valves on top of the action. 
But it took more of a form of models to follow in the 
single valve type, with the valve over the pneumatic. The 
later single valve actions had a dowel through a guide rail 
connected by wire linkage to the pneumatic finger, and 
another style (32) had the front of the pneumatics slightly 
elevated and with an extended finger on the bottom, to 
meet directly with a regulating button on the abstract of 
the piano action.

  Another popular action is the Simplex. The Simplex uses 
a patented tracker bar with 'trapazoid' looking holes. It 
also has detachable unit block valve/pneumatic units and 
the three tier stack was designed to be 'universal' in 
adapting to various piano scales.

  The vast majority of the information above came directly 
from the Player Piano Co. parts and pubs catalog (1983-1985).

Hope this helps,

John A. Tuttle


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This page was last revised October 8, 2016 by John A. Tuttle, who Assumes No Liability
For The Accuracy or Validity of the Statements and/or Opinions
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