Steinway Duo-Art Reproducing Grand Pianos were the most technologically advanced player pianos built during the early 20th Century.
The Reproducing Player Grand Piano was the most technologically advanced form of home entertainment during the early 20thCentury. Designed to reproduce a live performance, these instruments could mimic every nuance of a real pianist, giving the illusion of a true live performance in real time! Although these instruments are designed to play by themselves, they can be played manually by hand as well. There is no difference playing a Reproducing Player Grand Piano by hand.
This beautiful instrument is a Steinway Model “XR” (Expression Reproducer) in beautiful walnut wood. The perforated music roll is located behind the keyboard cover and the operating controls including off/on switch, rewind/play, speed/tempo, etc. are located below the keyboard cleverly concealed behind a pivoting key-slip panel. Although the piano does have an original electric motor, the motor simply drives a vacuum system which operates the entire instrument.
These instruments would have cost as much as $3,500+ new in the 1920s, the cost of a small house! Luckily, these Duo-Art piano rolls are still being produced with a good variety of music still available.
The ultimate home entertainment system of the Gatsby age, these rare pianos were only afforded by the very wealthy and were built in small numbers. They are quite rare today.