1919 Operator Mortuary Player Piano/Organ

This rare instrument came to us painted black, with melting surgical tubing that had been installed previously. Designed to be used in funeral homes, it was referred to as a "mortuary" piano/organ.

If the organist did not show up, the piano could be used or the player unit would be used to play either piano, organ, or both.

It was also used in the smaller silent movie theaters of the time.

The silver pipes are quintendena rank, while the wooden pipes are the diapason voice of the pipe organ.

Originally, there was an octave of diapason pipes on a chest attached to the rear frame of the piano, but unfortunately these were discarded years ago.

The large pnuematic, covered with purple motor cloth, actuates the swell shutters that are installed in the bottom board when the roll calls for it. The pedal on the far right will actuate the shutters manually.

This view shows the player stack. From the bass end, there is the governor, tracking pneumatic, spool box and wind motor.

The player was completely restored, including new pouches, valves, pneumatics, gaskets and rubber tubing.

Even at extremely slow tempos, the wind motor ran smoothly - a nicely-designed unit.

This view from the treble quadrant shows the mahogany veneer to good advantage.

Under the piano keyboard is a good view of the swell shutters for the organ. The finished box at the bass end contains a suction unit for the player and a pump for the pipe organ.

These were fabricated to take the place of the original pump/suction unit which was a combination of both. Unfortunately, the pump unit ended up in the same place as the missing diapason pipes and chest.

This frontal view shows the stop tabs for the organ, mandolin and player units.

The player can be set to play piano, mandolin, organ or any combination. The mandolin is a particularly sweet-sounding variation, while the diapason pipes provide a mellow pipe sound.

For more theatrical effects, the quintendena will add a strong set of reeds to the mix. An interesting piece, it would have been great to have the original units, so it goes!

© Ward and Probst, Inc-1998-2014