The Melville Clark Story
"Everyone one has an old piano in their basement you can have if you move it."
Piano Home Otto Grau Melville Clark Questions Spare Parts Slide Show
Melville Clark Apollo Player Piano
These are the before pictures (A Diamond in the Rough)
1905?? Melville Clark Piano with Apollo Player.

I know very little about this piano at this time, but I do know if my other piano is a piece of junk then this one should be kindling.

While shopping at Lowes (our local big box building supply store) for stripper and staining supplies for the other piano, I ran into the owner of the barn where my wife boards her horses. After discussing the piano refinishing project for several minutes, he tells me there is a player piano in the hay loft of his barn if I am interested. The piano was placed there by the former owners of the farm and has been there for over 20 years, the previous owners of the farm were antique collectors and dealers. After going to the barn and checking it out I decided to take it off his hands. We moved it out of the barn in Nivember 2009 and this is were the story really begins.

1-2-2010 - Really starting to get excited about tearing into this one, I've been reading about players and it looks like it could be very interesting.

Restoration has begun, I began to dismantle the piano and begin to evaluate what parts will be repaired and what I need to replace .

I have found out all kinds of things about my piano, The serial number is 9266 which makes it an early model by the maker Melville Clark who was an innovator in the player piano manufacturing business. The piano has a spring motor that turns the roll and rewinds, the tracker bar has 2 rows of holes and will play rolls that are 9 holes to the inch as well as standard 6 hole to the inch rolls it will also allow for varying width rolls to accommidate the different width rolls.

The plate was manufactured by the O S Kelly Company in Springfield OH, and this company is still in business today. They are the only remaining piano plate manufatcurer in the United States, they are now a subsidiary of the Steinway Company. Upon discovering this I contacted the plant manager to see if they had any information about my piano plate, they didn't but I did make arrangements to have my plate refinished by them a 105 years after they originally made it. They also took my father and I on an hour long tour of the plant and showed us how the plates were made much of which is the same as when my plate was originally cast. Kind of an interesting tid bit.

Loaded on the trailer for the 10 mile journey to my garage,
its new home for the forseeable future

Cobwebs no additional charge

Home in the driveway, an hour or so with the shopvac and it is
clean enough to go into the garage.

I think I have all the peices, now all I have to do is make it all look
like new and then get it to work again.
Tuesday, November 30, 2010
Comments and Questions can be emailed to Ed Waite
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