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Extra information about the PianoLodeon

I have a "PianoLodeon No. 909 - Fully Automatic Player Piano Also Can Be Played Manually - Electrically Operated Authentic Replica of Full Size Model - Made in USA - J. Chein & Co. Burlington, NJ"

I have a J. Chein Toy PianoLodeon player piano that I received as a Christmas gift in 1962 as a child. It has six player rolls in their original box; the titles are No. P-6 "Sweet Sue (Just You)", No. P-3 "Frosty the Snow Man", No. D-3 "The Old Piano Roll Blues", No. P-1 "Alexander's Ragtime Band", No. P-2 "In The Good Old Summertime" and No. P-7 "Sweet Georgia Brown". The piano still works and the rolls are in very good condition.

What is this worth today? Is there anyone out there that collects these or is interested? Very curious about this. Thanks.

Available Rolls


Source of Rolls & Parts for J. Chein PianoLodeon By Ed Schmidt

In the 1/28/05 MMD, R. Jackson requested information about the Chein PianoLodeon. Parts for the machine can be obtained from:

James Williams
799 Maple Street
South Ogden, Utah 84403-1921
tel.: 1-801-394-7263

Rolls can be obtained from:

Schmidt's Music Rolls
6549 Locust Grove Road
Easton, MD 21601
tel.: 1-410-770-4832

Ed Schmidt
Easton, Maryland

From: Greg Filardo
To: editor-1101@mmdigest.com
Date: Fri, 11 Feb 2011 07:32:17 -0800 (PST)

Subject: Piano-Lodeons

We had just purchased a rebuilt player piano for me to take piano lessons on in 1957. I remember going to the F. W. Woolworth dime store and seeing the ultimate kid's toy, the Piano-Lodeon, priced at $29.95, complete with a boxed 6-pack of rolls. They were available in maroon or beige plastic.

The year was 1959. At that young age of ten, I wondered why anyone would spend so much for something that did not sound very good, when we bought a wonderful old rebuilt (in 1945) player piano, that sounded so much better, and it was only $250!

I eventually found and bought several of these Piano-Lodeons, including some that were still in their original box. I am a music instructor and remember my students' amazement when I said I brought a piano with me, pulled it out of the box, plugged it in, and it played by itself.

Greg Filardo

realname: Nathan

comments: Greetings John, Long time since we have talked. Here are a few observations that I can offer about the Piano-Lodeon. You are correct in thinking that the valve vane is in fact a primary valve and that the hole you described is in fact a "bleed". All of the parts are interchangeable and the whole thing just "snaps" together. The main problem that I have discovered is warping of the area where the valve vane seats and also warpage of the valve vane itself. I used 220 grit paper, wet with a block to true up both surfaces and then polished the surfaces with 400 grit. I did a lot of experimenting with the one I serviced and found out that the only way it works is to give the striker vane a long throw so that it is flung into the tone rod like someone playing chimes. Originally there was a cheap long rubber band that held the striker vanes in their rest position. Mine was missing so I fabricated a felted wooden "rest rail" to hold the strikers in their non-playing position. This seemed to work well. By examination of how the rolls are cut,one can readily see that no repetition is called for in this device, and in my opinion, it would not be possible with this mechanism. Also, these pianos never played very loud as the little blower assembly was just not capable of generating much pressure differential. They have a sound all their own and if you put your ear right up against the back of the piano, they sound half-way decent. Warmest regards, Nathan


Hi Nathan,

I guess I got really lucky with this unit, because after I cleaned out the debris from in and around the vanes, everything seated fine. Thanks for the tip about how to flatten the vanes if they start having problems.

The comment about the 'long rubber band' is interesting. I can see that having a 'rest rail' might help prevent the striker vanes from bending under their own weight over the years. So, I put a piece of action felt under the vanes.....

Here are links to all the information I've collected
about the Piano-Lodeon Toy Player Piano:
Page 1 - Rebuilding Chein PianoLodeon By Mike Kitner
Page 2 - Piano-Lodeon Rollography Update By Jack M. Conway
Page 3 - Piano-Lodeon's Lost Potential By Mike Knudsen
Page 4 - Piano-Lodeon Rolls & Imperial Ind. Co. By Douglas Henderson
Page 5 - Extra information about the PianoLodeon
Page 6 - Piano-Lodeon: Repair Information by John A Tuttle
Page 7 - Piano-Lodeon: Colors and Years by Dale F Rowe
Page 8 - Repairing the Pianolodeon by Arnold Landvoigt
Page 9 - Rebuilding Chein PianoLodeon By Jim Quashnock
Page 10 - Replacing Tubing and Drive Belt

This page was last revised on March 24, 2017 by John A Tuttle.

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