In 1914, Bush & Lane Piano Co. entered the player action business by acquiring all rights to the Cecilian name from the Farrand Co. Both factories were located in Holland, Michigan. Farrand Co. was a pioneer in the player business, making push-ups in 1887,-as the Farrand & Votey Co. The name was changed to Farrand Co. in 1897. Although the famous name of Cecilian, which was used on their first player actions was sold to Bush & Lane in 1914, the care of the name went to Walter Lane, who reconstructed the faultering Cecilian player operation with renewed enthusiasm and design change. The Farrand Company continued to make pianos, sharing the same vice president with the Bush & Lane Co., so there must have been a close working relationship between the two, although they remained separate companies.
In fact, players were continued to be sold by Farrand, using the Cecilian trade mark name, even after selling it to Bush & Lane. Most probably, Farrand did not make their own player action after 1914, but relied upon the Bush & Lane player action. The player action pictured below went out of production in 1914. The piano itself, made by both Bush & Lane and Farrand were very high quality instruments with a beautiful resounding tone. Likewise the tradition of quality was carried on with the player action, even though it was never a big seller, since the Bush & Lane was more concentrated on prestige and quality than the mass market of making cheap pianos and player actions. However, they survived to produce one of the most revolutionary and compact of all player actions.
Bush & Lane ended up with a single row of valve units and small pneumatics which reversed the pouch and valve action from the traditional way. There are very few examples of this last effort to survive, but it does contrast greatly with the first and more plentiful Bush & Lane action, which was so heavy it took two persons to even lift it out of the piano: The dead weight was caused by the die cast (pot metal) valve unit block. comprised of rectangle 1-1/2" by 1-3/4" sections screwed together with cork gasket to house pouch and valve. These valve blocks screwed directly onto the pneumatic, and then together were clamped on a hollow square pipe.
Bush & Lane also made an all-wooden version that is virtually identical to the metal version. It also uses zephyr skin pouches. To view a couple of pictures - click here. (Photos and information supplied by Dan Harrett.)
There is more information at Player-Care concerning the Bush & Lane players which has been contributed by a few different individuals. The links below are self-explanatory. As usual, John A Tuttle assumes no liability for the accuracy or validity of the statements and/or opinions expressed within the pages of the Player-Care Domain.
To view some other images of the early Bush & Lane action - click here.
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