This instrument has original orchestral parts brought in from America and put into a stripped English pianola. Worked by electricity, these were popular in America and there were various types. Ours is a pianola with seven extra instruments inside.
The lovely leadlight both top and bottom allows you to see some of what is happening. In the top you can see a woodblock, a triangle, a cymbal and a glockenspiel. Below there are two different types of drum and a tambourine. The large roll contains about 12 songs – we have six large rolls for this instrument.
The instrument works on a pneumatic system using a vacuum created by an electric motor. The paper roll runs over a tracker bar (a metal strip with holes for each note). When a hole in the piano roll passes over the corresponding hole in the tracker bar, the vacuum is broken and air rushes down the pneumatic tube and opens the valve activating the notes.
Financed by a grant from Waiheke Community Board.