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Link Piano Company had its roots in the Automatic Musical Company of Binghamton, New York, founded in 1903 by former employees of Roth & Engelhardt Piano Company of St. Johnsville, New York. The Automatic Music Company bought its pianos from Schaff Brothers Piano Company of Huntington, Indiana, managed by George Link.
The coin pianos operated from an endless roll system, very similar to those used in Peerless models (made by Roth & Engelhardt). Perhaps too similar, as Engelhardt won a lawsuit against Automatic in 1909, and a judgment that nearly bankrupt the company in 1913. George Link’s son Edwin, took over the company and by 1916 had incorporated the Link Piano Company.
The company went on to make several models of coin pianos and orchestrions into the late 1920’s, all using endless music rolls throughout production, despite all of its competitors abandoning endless rolls for the far easier to change rolls of conventional rewind systems.
This model was built about 1926 and was in the basement of a Cleveland flower shop when purchased by the current owner.
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The restoration was started by the current owner and another rebuilder, Don Dunifon. Unfortunately, Don passed away before the project was finished. The project has been sitting, nearly complete, ever since. The piano has been rebuilt, including new strings, dampers and hammers. The cabinet has been refinished to a Mission Oak finish. The pneumatic system was restored except for the pump, just waiting for a new owner to complete the project.
It is interesting to note that Edwin’s son, Ed Jr., an aviation enthusiast, used spare pneumatic components to build the first flight simulator in 1929, after sales of the coin pianos and organs ended. This led to the famed Link Trainer and the sophisticated flight simulators of today.