It is an Ibach Pianola-Piano. And old player piano with the player machines ripped out years ago. The serial number is 66487.
Hopefully someone can help me out here!!
Thanks in advance!
I just bought an Ibach player piano with Higel player mechanism - upright. Serial #94430. It needs restoration but it's beautiful. It was probably sold new long ago in London through the Civil Service Association.
This piano was probably built 1929/30.
It seems Ibach used deferent player's mechanism on it's piano.
Can anybody provide more information about the history of Ibach's player pianos?
Somebody suggested me to have the mechanism removed and just restore the piano. I believe it's a pity...thoughts?
Clifton Park, NY
- Colin Nicholson
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I have a small "early 1900s look" advertisement from the Reblitz "Player Piano Servicing and Rebuilding" book that briefly mentions the Higel (Otto) Player unit and a profile of it.... but its not good news! (see below)
Many became obsolete even before and during production, and suffered all sorts of problems with warping & cracking of cast parts. There is no mention of Ibach though - so I would imagine they had a private contract (you could never find info on that!). Your piano serial number corresponds with the late twenties. Even these days, many Player Units are now scrapped (from a perfectly good working piano!) - and customers are charged "on top" for the removal & relocation of the player unit prior to tuning..... just so "it is there"! A recent customer of mine decided to just leave the Player unit out and store it in a room.... may end up on the skip?.... but the piano works fine.
Working on these Player units requires years of expertise and specialist knowledge. In those days they had equipment to test for air leaks & suction tests for pneumatics and valves. These days, if a cylinder head cracks on a car, it usually ends up at the scrap yard! .... depending on its age.... however there is always a fascination about automated items from the 1920s.... yes, I would probably agree.... have the main piano mechanism restored instead - involves less "welding" !
Hope thats useful....
I had the player mechanism inspected by a specialized piano tech who found it in very good general conditions. It needs replacing a metal support for the upper roll which has to be built, pedal pin and clean up (total amount $1000 or less).
The problem are the strings. It's way below pitch and the concern is to break strings while tuning. Some of the springs need to be replaced as well.
Cabinet, ivory key tops and ebony sharps are in spectacular conditions (cabinet needs minimal attention).
This week I will have a second inspection done to the piano mechanics and then I will decide if move further or not. Any idea about value of restored pianos of this kind?