Exceedingly Rare Chinese Chippendale Style Marionette Mini-Grand Player Piano
In about 1928 the illustrious M. Schulz Piano Company introduced a limited number of tiny Child Size baby grand pianos under the Marionette label. Measuring only 46 inches wide and 44 inches long, these little pianos were real pianos with the tone quality of an ordinary baby grand piano, but their diminutive size made them ideal for wealthy childrens play rooms, dance clubs, boudoirs, etc. Because piano technology had reached its peak in the 1920s, these tiny pianos were thoroughly modern in design and the science and craftsmanship behind them resulted in a piano that sounded like a much larger instrument.
The tiny Marionette baby grand was available in two basic models; a conventional baby grand piano and an expressive "reproducing" player piano. The player pianos were equipped with the Schulz patented "Aria Divina" expressive reproducing player mechanism which played the piano with real human dynamics.
M. Schulz had great plans to build these little pianos in large numbers. They were advertised as being offered in elaborately carved cabinets and elaborate finishes, including hand painted Oriental style finishes. When the Great Depression hit in 1929, M. Schulz was forced to drop their grandiose plans for the Marionette line and only a few were ever actually built.
This piano is an example of the Expressive Reproducing Player Piano offered on the Marionette. This instrument is especially rare because it is made in the hand painted Chinese Chippendale style with Asian scenery painted in great detail. This piano was sold under the "Lyric Piano Company" label, one of several companies that Schulz built pianos for. This piano is being restored to like new condition inside and out, and the tone and touch is really quite good for a piano this size. The tone of this piano is comparable to a traditional baby grand, and those who hear it and play it are amazed!
A matching bench is included.