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PianoLodeon's Lost Potential
By Mike Knudsen 

I have to agree with Doug Henderson and his associates back then,
that with just a little more money put into the machine (and a slightly
higher price charged), the Piano Lodeon could have been a much better
instrument.  The vane pneumatic action is actually a fine idea.  My
candidates for big gain at low cost would include:

(1) Higher vacuum, using faster or two-stage blower.  Couldn't be
any noisier than the actual blower!

(2) Get rid of the lost motion in the actuators -- with the decent
vacuum, no more need to swing at the key like a baseball bat!

(3) Buy the tone rod assemblies from Jaymar's supplier, getting
a *good* toy piano sound.

(4) Improve the action to get better repetition  Again, the higher
vacuum should help.  I can play trills on some toy pianos by hand,
so it must be feasible.

(5) Extend the tracker bar scale from 23 to 30 notes, covering the
whole 2.33-octave keyboard.

Then maybe J. Lawrence Cook wouldn't have been so coy about admitting
his roll role.

There are so many other instances of designs that could have been made
so much better with just a little more effort and expense.

And many thanks to Jack Conway for publishing the Rollography!  And to
Doug for his fascinating inside story.  Looking forward to June when
his museum is open.


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