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Lauter-Humana Rebuild Project

Hi Earl,

The serial number indicates that the piano was made around 1919. There is quite a controversy concerning Lauter serial numbers. Perhaps the most accurate way of determining the age is the number that's embossed on the cast iron plate (what some people call the harp). When plates were cast, a casting date was also cast into the plate. And since most smaller piano companies, like Lauter, only had 1000 or less plates cast at a single time, the dates are a good indicator of approximately when the piano was manufactured. Unfortunately, the reference books state that Lauter was in business from 1903-1918. However, it has been proven that they were in business through 1926. Having owned eight Lauter-Humana players (one of which is still in my living room and shown on the main page at Player-Care.com), I've spent quite a bit of time gathering information about the company.

The lower section (or exhauster assembly) in your unit is what I call the '5-bellows type with one very large reservoir'. In the majority of Lauter players, the two reservoir bellows are slightly larger than the pumper (or exhauster) bellows. In your model, both of the reservoirs are significantly larger than the exhausters. The smaller 'secondary' bellows on the front of the left reservoir, along with the very small bellows on the bottom of the left reservoir, comprise an 'accent' feature that Lauter worked on for a number of years. The feature allowed the user to put sharp accents into the music by pumping either pedal very quickly just a moment before the point of the desired accent. (Really quite ingenious.)

As Lauter discovered, the larger reservoirs made it possible to keep the volume of the music more even regardless of the number of notes being played at a particular moment. On the other hand, it also made it more difficult to create accents though changes in pedal technique (changing the speed and force of the pumping to create crescendos and diminuendos). Ergo, they developed the accent feature.

As for parts, almost everything I sell is listed at: https://www.player-care.com/resale.html

However, I recommend that you make some changes to the original Lauter design in the area of the gaskets. Lauter used blotter paper gaskets and sealed them with burnt shellac. While this provided a rigid air-tight seal, it also makes it necessary to destroy the gaskets if the unit has to be dismantled for any reason, i.e., repair and/or adjustment. For that reason, I recommend that you use the closed cell neoprene that I offer. The glue will only be applied to one side of the gasket, and the pressure applied by the screws will provide the 100% air-tight seal. Also, even though it's not listed at the website yet, I also have the leather needed for the access panels.

On 1/1/2015 3:51 PM, dnause wrote: > JT, Happy new year. I appreciate you help. attached are pictures of the > system. I have more pictures. the ruler doesn't show clearly. Please note a > model number 37705, and a number found on the pump assembly is 6017. Please > forgive any incorrect terminology I may use.

> viewed from front (as viewed when playing) I'm more comfortable with > decimals, but will use fractions. Left side bellows 17 1/4 high, 9 1/8 > wide, 2" at top, 5 3/4 fully open @ bottom Right side bellows 17 1/4 > high, 7 1/4 wide, 1 3/4 at top, 5 3/8 fully open at bottom.

> I'll be starting from scratch. Do you have a parts list? And costs? You > mention gaskets I'll guess they need to be fabricated. Regards, Earl

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This page was last revised September 27, 2019 by John A. Tuttle, who Assumes No Liability
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