Steck Player Piano with rolls
DESCRIPTION This is an unusual model George Steck Duo-Art Reproducing Player Piano. The Duo-Art Reproducing Piano was a specialized type of player piano that played with expression like a real person. Most player pianos rely on the person sitting at the piano to control the speed and dynamics, while a reproducing player piano has a lot of extra perforations in the music roll that control all dynamics from within, hence reproducing a live performance.
What makes it a bit unusual is the fact that the instrument is foot pumped manually rather than electric. Most reproducing player pianos were very advanced and generally they were equipped with early electric motors to create the vacuum. Ordinary home player pianos were generally equipped with the manual foot-pumping mechanisms. Foot-pumped reproducing pianos are scarce today, indicating that few of them were actually built.
George Steck, of Cassel, Germany, established George Steck & Co. in 1857 at 12th Street and Third Avenue in New York, NY. The firm had the early reputation of manufacturing high quality pianos. George Steck died in 1897 and the firm incorporated by 1904, at which time the company became one of the many manufacturers acquired by the Aeolian Piano Co. of New York, later becoming the Aeolian-American Co. by 1932. With the Aeolian company’s backing, George Steck was able to produce a large quantity of pianos and player pianos during the next several decades, until Aeolian went out of business in about 1985. The pianos built during this time were of average quality. They then became part of the Mason & Hamlin Corp. until production ceased in 1994. In 1996 the Burgett brothers of Sacramento, California, owners of PianoDisc,purchased the name along with Mason & Hamlin and began manufacturing George Steck pianos with PianoDisc player systems installed. These pianos were made in China by Pearl River. In 2002, the George Steck line was discontinued. In 2004 the name was licensed from PianoDisc/Mason & Hamlin to Chinese manufacturer, Sejung. By 2012, the Sejung factory was acquired by Chinese firm, Parsons Music, and by 2013, George Steck pianos were being manufactured by the Nanjing Moutrie Piano Co. in Nanjing, China and distributed by Welkin Sound Inc., of Ontario, California.....By 2015, the George Steck name was no longer used.