The era of the self-playing or automatic piano embraced the first three decades of the 20th century. Piano-playing cabinets were followed by the pneumatic player-piano, soon to be known the world over by the name of the leading American make - Pianola. There were many other makes, of course, with names like Kastonome, Triumph, Pistonola, Claviola, Autoplayer and Apollo. Invented almost simultaneously in Germany and America, player pianos became the most sought-after addition to the family home and the huge industry that built them and made their perforated paper music rolls became both important and wealthy. This book, written by a world-renowned authority on mechanical music and its instruments, relates the development of the automatic piano from the spring-powered dulcimer-playing musical clocks of the 16th century through the once-popular barrel-playing pianos and street pianos to the great era of the Reproducing Piano that could bring a famous artist's interpretation of a musical classic into your own drawing-room. The inventors, their perpetual quest for perfection, and their successes and failures are related in this new and fully-illustrated history. Just how the automatic piano works is described in both words and the author's own clear line-drawings, together with 603 b/w and 43 full colour photos. Also, a guide to servicing, maintaining, and playing player pianos and the magnificent Aeolian Orchestrelle roll-playing reed organ is included. Illustrated appendices include a list of makers, brand-names, and a modern-day valuation guide.